01 April 2016

Zero waste First (whole) month-March

Ive been doing zero waste for March and I wanted to let you know how its going.When I feel like I have successfully switched my mindset and our family habits to this and it has become second nature, I write goal obtained.

Goal #1-Switch every family member over to using reusable bags

Goal Obtained. I made reusable bags for DH and I already had one but I made myself another one too. I have also made a few reusable bags for some friends. I am trying to spread the zero waste lifestyle to others, without being preachy about it (as my DH says I can get sometimes.) I am trying to take this a step further now by eliminating all plastic bag use from the house. Plastic bags are still in the house but only for cleaning the cat litter. Once those are gone I need to think of a new plan. (I welcome suggestions)

I have stopped using the plastic bags in small garbage cans around the house. I've taken most of the cans away as well. DH still wants the one in the bathroom. I need to address this soon. He is also  addicted to cotton swabs and I don't know what to do with them. Are they compostable? Should they be? I rarely use these at all and since I buy them in the 500 count package and he uses 2 each time he showers that's 30 days X2 used each time=60 a month X 12 months= 240 a year. So a box should last him almost 2 years. Should I worry about this at all? The packaging is recyclable in my area and the paper insert is compostable. Yet, I feel bad for sending all those little swabs to the landfill.

Goal #2- Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section.

Goal Obtained. Every time I have been shopping I have remembered to bring my produce and my reusable bag(s) in with me. Leaving it in the truck or a place I can remember to grab it in the house has helped me a lot with this one. 

DH went to the store once and brought one home and his response was "But its only one." Ugh, I still have to deal with it somehow.  (I took it back to the store and recycled it.) We now have 4 bags in the house. (All brought in by DH...) He says he is reusing them and that's better than recycling them. I told him its better not to use them at all and I was trying to change our habits. He's grumbling about it, so this is obtained by me, but not yet by him. He doesn't shop often so I still call it obtained.

Goal #3 Stop junk from coming into the house

This one has been hard to fix.  I already blogged about what I did to remove myself and DH from lists. It has lessened a bit, but it is hard to tell after only 2 months. Some times it takes awhile to see the difference when you unsubscribe from lists like this. 
I did hear about an app called paperkarma that is supposed to help with everything except "current resident" mailers. I have started using that and I will report back on how well that works. I also called the local insurance company to request that I be removed from their mailings. 
Unfortunately, junk mail is still coming into the house. This is an ongoing battle though. I fear I will be fighting it for a long time. I wonder what the mail man would do if I took up the mail box? Is it a law that we have to have one? I don't want that stuff!! 

Goal #4 Compost all paper that does come into the house.

I feel like Im half way there with this one. 

I was hoping that this would be less than it was, but there is still a lot of paper coming into this house.(see above.) The shredder is backlogged right now, so I have a pile on top of the cat cabinet to shred as soon as I can take the full bin out to the compost. I need to go do that, but the snow that came down  this month has hampered my efforts on this front a little bit. (Also, gearing up for spring...chicks I'm looking at you!)

Getting DH to do this one is a bit cumbersome. He puts receipts in the trash still and I have to fish them out. (which since there is no food waste there isn't that big of a deal now.) I try to remind him about it and tell him to just set it on the cat cabinet since I can just shred when I have some extra time to sit there. I figured that since a compost pile needs a lot of 'brown' that the paper will fill that void for me really well. We will see next year if the compost is better for the garden. But, either way I'm saving this paper from the landfill. 

Goal #5 Shop at the Co-op in town for bulk items

Goal Obtained. I have been shopping at the co-op. I made bulk bags to use there. I love it they have bulk bins for most everything they also sell bulk castile soap, laundry soap, honey, peanut butter and some oils I havent tried yet. 
They have produce as well. Im looking for somewhere with an olive bar now. So many places have them in other cities, but I'm still looking here. Maybe I could find one further away that would be OK too, because I only need them every few months since I'm the only one who eats them.

This is a picture of what I got the first trip to the co-op. I had everything in my small bags, but when I got home I put it in these jars. I bought a bit more than would fit, but I think that is just going to take some time on my part. DH absolutely loved the granola that I bought us. I ate it with milk a few times. He liked it in the yogurt best.  I tried that and it was really good. I'm going to try a different flavor next and see if he likes it too, or if we should just stick to this one.

I buy potatoes in a 50b sack. This is all of them. They last a good long while. I bought this so I can see them all better and they hopefully won't go bad as fast. The bag on the left of the potatoes is what they came in, and it is just a paper. So I could compost it or recycle it. I recycled it this time. 

I also am doing a bit of shopping at the regular grocery store for produce in my mesh bags. The little stickers on the fruit irk me though. And there are still some things we use that come in bottles or glass jars. Yeast is a big one, but we buy the large glass jar instead of the little paper packets. There is always a way to lessen the waste if you bulk buy things you use a lot. I thought the yeast would go bad before we used it all up, but it doesn't. We had it for a year at least in the fridge. 

Goal #6 Switch to "ReUsies" instead of plastic storage bags. 

Goal Obtained. I bought 2 small zippered and one large zippered reusable snack bags. In addition to the 2 small and one large velcro ones I already have I think I can say that I'm covered for those now. I have not yet them used too much yet, but DH needs them for grapes and snack type things. Although I'm not buying as much of those things anymore. Either way, I'm prepared. I have been zipping up the cheese block in it. Its staying fresher than it would just out. It's actually working pretty well. I might buy a few more of these when we have kids. I could see using a lot more of them then. 

Goal #7 Stop using disposable head razors.

This is still up in the air. All the things are there for DH to use, but he hasn't done it yet. He wants to know why it's such a big deal. I think that when everything else is running like a well oiled machine I might be able to get him to switch. Until then, he is using the 15 heads he has still. They last him 4-6 months each so it might be awhile. I'm OK with that. I don't want to rush him if he isn't ready. I haven't said anything else about it. He knows my thoughts and wishes on the subject.
I use my epilator for my hair. I thought if I was willing to use a diva cup and/or reusable pads that he could try this.

Goal #8 Get more serious about composting.

I bought a new and larger compost pail that I now keep under the sink in the kitchen. We are composting more than ever before. I mentioned in goal #4 about the paper composting. It does not go into the same pail, but it ends up in the same place. The compost pail lin stainless steel and has a carbon filter on top to minimize smells. I used to take the compost out to the chickens and pick up what they would not eat. Now I try to only give the chickens what I know they will eat and put the rest in the composter. It's hard some days to remember to separate it. But if I don't it all goes to the composter and I throw them some sunflower seeds and some meal worms which they love anyways.
I'm also composting the dog/cat hair that gets clipped or brushed out. The hair and dust from the vacuum gets tossed out the back door, or if I'm headed out after I vacuum then I take it with me.DH even asked me if nail clippings were allowed in the compost bin. I told him yes and he avoided a bit more going into the waste stream. He's catching on fast!

Now I just need to remember to turn it more often. *sigh*

 Goal #9 Switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissue.

I must admit I still haven't started this one. I can't very well give DH a hard time about the razor blades if I can't even deal with my nose right? I am in much the same boat. We have 7 6 boxes of tissue to go through. So, as soon as that is finished I'm starting this one. I am even carrying my hankie in my purse now though. I did use it once while I was out and about. An older gentleman smiled at me and showed me his hankie. 

Goal #10 Stop my trash service.

While I did talk to DH about this, we are nowhere near the point we can do this. We are still making about a 13 gallon bag of trash a month. It hopefully will lessen as we go through the things that we have already bought and are using up. I am hoping to get down to a half a bag of trash next month and then to a 1/4th and an 1/8th and so on until we are just putting a couple small things in a jar.

The trash company took my recycling as trash and made me so mad. So, I called them and they had nothing to say about it. NOTHING!! They didn't even care. I really have a bee in my bonnet about the trash service and I am looking for a way to recycle another way. 

Since I did accomplish 3 out of 10 goals in the first month I was thinking about adding a new one to the list. We will just keep on with the numbers. 

Goal #11 Make our own bread from scratch. 

DH is a wonderful bread maker and we already make our own pizza dough. I'm wondering if we can make the bread dough and freeze it in batches so that I can thaw it out and bake it when we need it. Or I could just get him to make it and we could freeze the finished loaves while we eat one fresh one. When he makes the honey bread he makes 3 loaves at a time. It usually takes us a week to make it through a loaf of bread. Maybe I could stretch 3 loaves to cover a whole month. 

He did make some orange rolls for us and we took them over to a friend's house to have a gathering with 2 other families. We brought back about 4 out of 20. They did not last us long, and I have still not bought bread from the store. I haven't missed it. DH hasn't mentioned it so I guess he hasn't either. 

Some other things that I did this month that were not on the goal list, but I thought needed to be addressed. And a few things I've been thinking about for my March zero waste. 

I bought a bamboo utensil set for DH to take to work and one for me to have in the truck. I also got a that compost bucket for inside that I mentioned, so I can recycle these plastic yogurt containers Ive been using.  I used the utensil set for the first time at one of my quilt meetings. Some ladies looked at me a bit funny, but they know I'm odd so they didn't say anything about it. I asked DH how his was going and he said it was a bit harder since he has to go clean it right after he eats and apparently the sink is down a few flights of stairs. He's still doing it, so maybe he's thinking about the extra exercise he's getting. 
I also ordered some foaming soap dispensers for the bathroom. I put castile soap in them and fill the rest up with water. The bottle for the castile soap is also recyclable in my area and it takes so long to go through it. I also have found that my co-op sells castile soap, in many different smells, in the bulk section. I need to get a bottle for that. Should I use glass or plastic for that?
We've been using the castile soap in the peppermint flavor and DH commented on how much he liked it so I think I will stick to that for us. I might play with the smells in the kitchen one later.

I also wonder if I put a shampoo dispenser in the shower if I could fill it with castile soap and have my DH use it. He is still using the head and shoulders shampoo. He doesn't have nor has he ever had dandruff, but he thinks he needs to use it. I did buy some organic shampoo made with tee tree oil for him (I thought maybe he just likes that tingle.) and he hasn't complained about it yet, but he hasn't told me that he likes it either.

So this is where I am so far on my zero waste journey. I hope that you will join me in my endeavors. It takes a bit of effort at first just to change your habits. I've read that it takes 21 days to change a habit. I'm taking baby steps for the health of our bodies, our family, our home, and our planet.

For the while month of Feburary and up to March 13th we filled one bag of trash. And 2 grocery bags full of cat poop. (I feel like this is pretty good. But I want to see if we can do better.)

After March 13th, we filled another 1/2 a trash bag. I have been trying to use up the things that come in bottles that I've found a zero waste alternative for so I'm thinking that this will go down in April. It's probably going to go out this weekend because I had to put some chicken bones in there and I don't want it to stink up my house.
And yes, before you ask  I made stock with the bones and leftover meat and let the dogs eat some of the bones after they were used to make stock. Some things just have to go sometimes. All in all I am feeling pretty pleased with my progress. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment