Tennesseetransitions


Zero Waste Week Fail
December 7, 2014, 4:48 PM
Filed under: Eliminating Waste, Reduce Reuse Recycle Repair, Reducing Waste | Tags:

I wrote last Sunday about how I would attempt to go through the week without creating any waste. You can read about it here. I honestly thought I could go just seven days without putting anything in the bottom of my trash can. Not only did I end up with a whole bunch of crap in it, there was more than usual. The woman that writes the blog “Zero Waste Home” , and inspired me to take this challenge, must be a big fat liar. She’s a model, and lives in Paris, so I already hated her. Now  that I know she’s a liar too… well! I’ll unsubscribe from her blog for sure.

Rather than take a picture of my now-garbage, I’ll just list it here:

  • A used razor blade-what does the lady do with HERS? I converted to a double edge razor years ago to reduce the environmental impact of disposable razors, but all I can say is that lady and her family must be super hairy. (Remember, she’s a model.) Just sayin’…
  • Empty toothpaste and dental floss containers…I used up both this week. It figures…
  • Used dental floss. And toothbrushes. Maybe the zero waste lady doesn’t brush or floss. I plan to go back to buying Preserve brand toothbrushes that have handles made from recycled yogurt cups. They used to be quite pricey but have come down since I last checked. When you buy them online, they send you a return mailer to return them in. Check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Preserve-Medium-Toothbrush-Mailer-Assorted/dp/B0041576DO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1417985147&sr=8-6&keywords=toothbrush+preserve
  • Empty medicine bottles. My city’s recycling will not take #5 plastics. I save any food grade #5 containers for sending home leftovers with family and friends, but pill bottles? Maybe the lady never gets a headache? She gives me one.
  • Flea med tubes. The first day of this challenge was December 1st, the day I needed to apply the meds to my pets. Damn! Why didn’t I start this on December 2nd? Maybe the lady doesn’t have pets.
  • Hard plastic lids from stuff like soymilk, ketchup and vinegar. I bet that bitch doesn’t cook either!
  • Tear Strips. I bet she doesn’t eat either.
  • Rubberbands from the newspaper. Gah! I’ve saved 25 or so and don’t need or want to save anymore. What can I do with them? We prepaid for a year’s subscription to the paper, so when that runs out in June, I’ll just get the e-edition. Until then, let me know if you need some. I already know Zero Waste Woman wouldn’t DREAM of taking the newspaper.
  • Used tissues. I used to be good about using handkerchiefs, and slowly have gotten out of the habit. Time to sew up another batch. (and no doubt, the zero zealot has made color-coded stacks of them for all her family members)
  • Restaurant napkins or straws. We went out to eat Monday night and before I could even think about it, much less protest, our server had set our glasses of water on napkins and laid 2 straws down on the table. Health regulations won’t let them ‘take them back’, so the damp napkins were thrown away at the end of the meal, but I brought the straws home, still in their original paper wrapping. I plan to tear one end off of them when I meet HER and blow them in her face. pffftttt!
  • A phone charger that mysteriously quit working on Tuesday. Just effin’ QUIT. Oh wait, I guess that zero blowhard doesn’t have cell phones in her house either. No wait, I bet they have one of those emergency crank type of chargers. Surely even THOSE break once in a while though. I (briefly) considered offering this useless piece of shit to one of my enemies just to keep it out of MY trash can but was afraid they might strangle me with it when they found out it didn’t work.
  • A bent nail. I hung a Christmas wreath this week. Of course I bent the damn nail. I got it out of the trash can and straightened it out as best I could. Maybe I can use it in drywall to hang my feather duster on.
  • A Christmas light string that freaking wouldn’t work, even though it did last year! The string was 30 years old but still-THIS WEEK? That Scrooge doesn’t decorate for Christmas, I’m certain of it. Merry Christmas lady.
  • A bubble mailer. I have several of each size stored away for my own (re)uses, and yet, THIS WEEK, a book I’d ordered (Title: 100 Ways To Reuse Bubble Mailers) arrived. Sigh. I’m trying to find that lady blogger’s home address so I can mail her some straws and nails in it.
  • Aluminum foil. Like my grandmother and mother before me, I save this stuff, wash it, smooth it out and reuse it until it falls apart in the oven or something. Yeah, this week I was ‘foiled again’ by one of my carefully saved pieces. The good news is, I buy Reynolds brand RECYCLED foil, so sue me.

foilSo, I failed to meet the Zero Waste Challenge this week. The good news is that the experience really did manage to make me hyper-aware of just how much stuff really is going into the landfill because of me each week. My city doesn’t recycle metal cans either, and though I’ve almost stopped buying food in metal, I still have to occasionally. This week there was not one, but two cans. I’m going to wash them, punch holes and make luminaries out of them. Merry Christmas!

diy-Christmas-craft-Luminaries-made-from-recycled-tin-cans

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17 Comments so far
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That was a hilarious post!!

Comment by Sonia Millan

Ha, it’s been a while since a blog had me laughing out loud, but yours did. Your frustration sure shows, but as you said, at least it made you more aware, and trying to reduce. I’m happy that our boro just started an arrangement with a company that takes more recycle stuff: plastic 1-7, no more bundling cardboard, and all paper, not just newspaper. And the other day I emptied the toilet paper roll and my hand was headed for the waste can…….but no, that’s a paper product, light weight cardboard, into the recycling! It feels good to be able to recycle as much as you can, and less in the landfill. But some stuff is still just trash.

Comment by sarasinart

“Ha, it’s been a while since a blog had me laughing out loud, but yours did.”

Good. My work is done here.

Comment by simpleintn

Oh I looked at her site and her house looks like nobody lives there. She mentioned using a straight razor, and taking a pillow case to the store for bread, and jars for meat. I stopped reading after I came to the words….menstrual cup………..

Comment by sarasinart

Well, she IS French after all 😉

Comment by simpleintn

YOU are definitely on a roll!

Comment by sarasinart

How wonderfully inspiring! I’m in the midst of a house remodel so I’ve pretty much given up on paying attention to what goes in the trash, because there’s just so darn much. I do draw the line when I see that my workers (who really do know better!) put recyclables in the can! I pull them out and make sure the guys know where the recyclables go, but beyond that I really don’t want to become the jobsite from hell, so I shut up about it.

Here are some ideas that came to mind as I read your list:

Toothpaste: I want to make my own tooth powder, but the recipes I’ve seen are all mostly baking soda-based, and apparently that stuff is not so good for your tooth enamel. I use my homemade powder once in a while but am afraid to use it daily — does anyone have a homemade toothpaste/powder recipe that you can use daily?

Tissues and paper napkins — do you have a woodstove or fireplace? This stuff becomes my kindling.

Straws: how about these, for those who use straws: https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/16232// — of course that doesn’t stop the restaurant from putting the plastic ones out automatically, argh.

Bent nail: I wonder if one could have a bucket for scrap metal to accumulate — most recycling centers take scrap metal by the pound, I think.

Bubble mailer — inquire at your local library — the interlibrary loan department uses lots of those, and can often take used ones to reuse.

Thanks, Sam, for the inspiration! I think your “technical fail” was actually a great success!

Comment by Sue on the Western Edge of the Great Basin

I made a comment but included a link — does that send the comment to spam? Here’s my comment again without the link:

How wonderfully inspiring! I’m in the midst of a house remodel so I’ve pretty much given up on paying attention to what goes in the trash, because there’s just so darn much. I do draw the line when I see that my workers (who really do know better!) put recyclables in the can! I pull them out and make sure the guys know where the recyclables go, but beyond that I really don’t want to become the jobsite from hell, so I shut up about it.

Here are some ideas that came to mind as I read your list:

Toothpaste: I want to make my own tooth powder, but the recipes I’ve seen are all mostly baking soda-based, and apparently that stuff is not so good for your tooth enamel. I use my homemade powder once in a while but am afraid to use it daily — does anyone have a homemade toothpaste/powder recipe that you can use daily?

Tissues and paper napkins — do you have a woodstove or fireplace? This stuff becomes my kindling.

Straws: how about these, for those who use straws: [removed link, but they are stainless steel straws, can find them on azure standard’s website] — of course that doesn’t stop the restaurant from putting the plastic ones out automatically, argh.

Bent nail: I wonder if one could have a bucket for scrap metal to accumulate — most recycling centers take scrap metal by the pound, I think.

Bubble mailer — inquire at your local library — the interlibrary loan department uses lots of those, and can often take used ones to reuse.

Thanks, Sam, for the inspiration! I think your “technical fail” was actually a great success!

Comment by Sue on the Western Edge of the Great Basin

You hit a new high on this one 🙂

I have managed to re-use on cans by using one as a biscuit cutter. Punch holes in the bottom to let the air out when you cut the dough with it and you get a perfect size biscuit. Limited market however. How many biscuit/cookie cutters do you really need?

Jerry

Comment by Jerry Nagel

um, just one Jerry. Most people I know don’t even make their own biscuits anymore anyway. And even if they did, they would make their own. One. What can be done with all the other cans? Thanks for writing. Good to hear from you. I’ll be ’round for some biscuits and gravy soon.

Comment by simpleintn

Love the challenge you took on, Sam. You are already a consciencious consumer and do more than most of us. Yes, not meeting your personal goal is frustrating, but can you imagine how many of us you have challenged!

At our home we heat with wood. I save TP and paper towel tubes to stuff small twigs in to help with starting fires. Perhaps little twigs aren’t as plentiful in the city as they are here in the woods, am thinking you can also stuff them with paper for denser fire starters. I especially love the luminary idea, too, and how well it speaks to how you brighten your own little corner. And remind us to be mindful always. Good week, by my standards.

Comment by Eleanor Hjemmet

Ellie, I can recycle my TP tubes right along with cardboard boxes so they’re not a problem for me. I save dryer lint and stuff TP rolls with it, along with leaves and tiny twigs, for firestarters for when we go camping. I’ve got a large bagful made though, so don’t need anymore for now. I’m glad I can recycle them, it’s those metal cans that are stumping me. How many luminaries and biscuit cutters does one need? haha Thanks for your kind comments. Some of us write. Others sing. That’s you! Thanks, Sam

Comment by simpleintn

I was envisioning a row of them (w/punched designs like that lovely photo) all down your retaining wall… but that would also necessitate buying a bunch of little votive candles, so not exactly aiming in the right direction ❤
.
I'll try checking at my laundromat for lint, since I don't have a washer nor drier. Good idea for fire starter!

We so enjoyed having you and Michael at the CD Release Party last night!

Comment by Eleanor Hjemmet

Kingsport takes plastics #1-7 so ask one of the Kingsport people at church to take yours maybe once a month. Used tissues can be composted can’t they? UPS stores or places which will mail pkgs take bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts,

Comment by Deanna

Deanna, does KP take metal cans? How many luminaries can I use? haha Yes, I do compost tissues, but I had a sinus thingy and was using a LOT and was noticing how they were piling up, during the very time of year that I don’t have grass clippings and garden waste to offset their carbon in the compost pile. I used to use hankies and will again so that’s a moot point now anyway. I know the shipping places will take bubble wrap and peanuts, but I didn’t think they’d take my USED mailers. Do you think they will take ’em used?? Thanks for your reply. It’s nice to know folks are reading.

Comment by simpleintn

I usually put all of my waste metal in a bin and recycle at one of the metal dealers. There is one in Elizabethton that accepts tin cans and whatever. If you drive down the main street and turn left at McDonald’s, it will shortly be on your right. They normally pay you per pound, or you can just donate.

Comment by lscarb@embarqmail.com

This is so funny, Sam. Love it.

Comment by jjanus




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