Trash Update: Cost of Convenience

Due to the recent Climate Talks in Paris, I thought I should go through my trash. I've recently been terrified by the red smog alert in China. I can't imagine living in a world like that, can you? 

Nine months of trash from zero waste blogger

It got me thinking about the cost of convenience. It's very convenient to ship everything to your door and throw away all of the packaging. It's very convenient to buy individually wrapped snacks for your kids lunch that they throw away at the end of it. It's convenient to buy a plastic water bottle and toss it at the end of your day. But, what's the cost of convenience? 

Zero waste isn't just about fighting to keep this stuff out of landfills. And, it definitely isn't about recycling. It's fighting to reduce our need and dependence for these types of "conveniences." Did you know 10% of the worlds oil is used to make single use plastic? (According to Ed Humes author of Garbology.)

That broccoli tag. Who designed that!? Terrible.  

That broccoli tag. Who designed that!? Terrible.  

Single use plastic is cheap plastic that's meant to last for one use i.e. takeout containers, to go cups, plastic cutlery, what's wrapped around your groceries, etc. It boggles my mind that people think it's more convenient to drill the earth for oil, ship it to a refinery, refine the oil, make it into plastic, shape the plastic, assemble it, ship it to a distributor, then stock it for you to buy on a shelf. 

And, while I can prattle facts off to you all day, the fact is you need to see it. This is what we've done. This is only something we can fix. 

We as consumers have to make the choice to support clean energy, to support sustainable practices, to refuse single-use plastics. Vote with your dollars - that's where they'll hear you. The earth cannot keep up with our current demands. We can't replenish our resources fast enough. We used all that we could safely replenish a year - at the beginning of August. That's five months we're borrowing from next year. Which begs the question - how long until it's gone? 

What you do matters. You can't just throw it away - there is no away.

If you're looking to reduce your waste please check out my posts on food, the workplace, college, and the home. Or check out some more trashy facts


My Trash

So, I know this is what you've all been waiting for - the big reveal. How much trash have I made since starting this journey? 6 months of trash

There are lots of stickers stuck together that I could not pull apart. I hope I can upcycle the twist ties. This does not include anything I've had before going zero waste. This is only what I've purchased since starting this lifestyle that can't be recycled or composted. 6 months of trash

I have been fortunate with ample bulk stores in my area and excellent farmers markets. We used to make day trips to Berkeley or Napa for bulk foods, but recently we found one only five minutes from our house! 

Occasionally, I'd run out of food and run to the grocery store to pick up some tagged produce. 

My thrift store recently went from grease pens to stickers which is really unfortunate. I will be writing them a letter.

I do have several rubber bands, but I use those at work and have been bringing them.

I still buy burritos wrapped in paper, but I can compost that and pizza boxes, (vegan pizzas have no grease, so they're recyclable as well!)

I collect wine corks for my Christmas tree. I've managed to cut most plastic out of my life.

My recyclables are typically paper from work, a wine bottle or two a month, and pesky junk mail. I will end junk mail at this house.... it will happen. I've been trying so hard, but to no avail. 6 months of trash. Here's a sneak peak of the kitchen.

I have roommates, so there is still plenty of trash around. One day, I hope to experience not taking out the trash, but the chore wheel shows no favoritism. The entire house throws out approximately 6 gallons a week for four people, so I'm pretty proud of them. 

Here's another sneak peek at my kitchen. 6 months of trash. Here's a sneak peak of the kitchen.

I'm re-growing green onions and romaine!

I have refillable olive oil and balsamic bottles, an empty butter dish, some bulk cinnamon, my milk jug for nut milks, and a flip-top lemonade.

I'm hoping to collect several of these bottles. Several times throughout the year the wine country will host re-filling events. Bottles have to be 750ml. I'm starting a collection. I would love to fill up some wine!