Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Post 3

So there's only a few days left for us. We'll be camping tomorrow in Yosemite, should be cool. My friend Nicole who's meeting us is buying most of the food so I suppose they'll have most of the trash. I created a big peice last night when I finished my raspberry fig bars off, well, relatively.
Most of the plastic we've gathered that can't be recycled we intend to reuse. I avoid getting shopping bags when I can, bring my own for food shopping, but when we do get one it is saved and eventually becomes small trash can liners.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

2 Weeks/No Trash Days 9-14

Well, here it is! The total contents of my trash contains...
1. Fruit and vegetable stickers
2. An empty coffee package
3. A panera wrapper
4. An empty deodorant cartridge
5. 2 fudgesicle wrappers
6. 1 Ben and Jerry's miniture chocolate fudge brownie ice cream
7. 1 chocolate foil wrapper (one gourmet candybar usually lasts about 2 weeks, but we had dinner guest help me to finish it)
8. 1 empty miniture bag of lowfat microwave popcorn (I gave in on day 11!)
9. a Wurthers candy wrapper (day 14 at my husband's parents house)
10. 1 package of gum, containing all of it's chewed contents- ooh gross! (Day 13 on a 9 hour road trip to San Francisco!)
11. 3 cumbersome deflated and busted bicycle tubes

Some interesting happenings... Day 10- grocery shopping... I am already in the swing of quickly choosing my recycled packaged food and remembered to bring my tupperware for the meat dept. The guy behind the counter made me feel totally normal and even quite good for asking him to place my meat in tupperware. He simply wrapped it in a plastic clear vegetable baggie, placed the pricing sticker on this and handed it to me with a huge smile! I of course placed it in my tupperware for safe travel. I haven't used up the meat yet, thus there is no pricing sticker in my trash :)
Day 12- my husband started to complain about my "speal" when we went out for sushi. I believe this started b/c the waitress was looking at me funny like "what is wrong with you girl!" Anyway, it made me feel uncomfortable and less motivated. But, these moments are important in life to help you to remember to stick with what you value and hold more true- to those who judge with sarcasm- too bad- you could be having a lot more fun by not waisting energy on judging and negativity...

Cheats and Confessions- I know there were probably three or four dining out experiences where I may have forgotten something small- the waitress served my tea with a doily and took it away before I could grab the doily etc. I did try cleaning out my ears with just a wash cloth, but by day 4 I decided that q-tips were a part of my bathroom routine. I flushed them down the toilet. Sometimes, I forgot to carry my bag with me :(. I bike to work 3 times a week and on weekends. I did not take my trash with me on these occassions, although I did take my accumulated trash and recycables home with me in a backpack. I decided that if trash had been accumulated before the 2 weeks started or by my husband, dog or anyone else that is not me :), that this was not included as part of my trash burden. Thus, these trash items became eligible to be disposed of when cleaning my house and classroom :). I left the dryer sheets in the bottom of the laundry basket :)

Lessons to Carry with me- I can refill a coffee/tea cup, bottle. Carrying a cloth napkin or towel with me can drastically reduce waste. I can take things home to be composted. It is important to consider packaging before purchasing something. And, most importantly, it is OK to make mistakes and accumulate REAL trash every now and again. Self-forgiveness is a wonderful thing. However, being aware of how your actions to minimize waste is affecting the earth and influencing those around you only results in you feeling really good about being a human being on this lovely planet. I intend to keep up the practice :)

Now... good luck to Eric and Kristina!!! My brother and his lovely girlfriend shared a meal with me as I completed my last day and they began theirs :) And to Max, thank you for passing this exercise on to me! I loved the opportunity! Now, how about that Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser... no more t-shirt posing!

See the torch passed to Eric: Eric's Blog.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Days 7 & 8- 2 Weeks/No Trash

I had a pretty normal day on Friday (day 7). I have definetly gotten better about carrying my little pink beach/trash bag around with me. Friday night we went to sushi and movie. Must say, I cheated with the sushi. Basically, I refused to order any of it. Thus, everything I ate, I considered shared food amongst the three of us dining. I didn't consume anything at the movie. So, day well accomplished. Although, I did leave behind something at the sushi place that I needed to take home and recycle (can't remember exactly what. I did recycle the chopstick wrapper :).
Saturday was a different experience! We had lunch with friends, and I took home my leftover flour tortilla shell and salad to compost. The server at the mexican restaurant was very good about giving everyone else straws, lime wedges, napkins etc (as have most servers been throughout my experience- except for Panera!). Later that day, three of us went out for wine tasting. I ate 2 olives and left buzzed, forgetting to take my olive pits home. Then, we went out for pizza, where I got to use my plastic plate- instead of the paper being offered!!! So excited! Unfortunately, I left one plastic fork, again forgetting to take it home and recycle. Afterwards, I got the late night drunk muchies (my apologies to any relatives reading this who may disapprove of the fact that I had some drinks!). I totally lost consciousness of this exercise. So, now I am carrying around 2 fudgescicle wrappers and a 1/2 cup container of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream- yum! So, I accumulated some trash that was totally mindless and within my control. Ah well, at least the treats were delicious- although honestly probably not worth it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 5 & 6- 2 Weeks/No Trash

So far, so good. Only a few more fruit stickers added... I am on a roll! I did run out of deodorant this morning- So I will probably be carrying the empty dispenser around with me for the next 8 days :) Can I recycle deodorant???

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 4- 2 Weeks/No Trash

OK. So, I am pissed at Panera... my favorite chain sandwich place. I admittedly left my bag of goodies in the car. James and I thought that we would run into one store and then get back in the car to drive to dinner. I neglected to take my bag in the store with me. Immediately after leaving, we decided to just walk over to Panera and get dinner. About 1/2 way there, I realized that I didn't have my bag. Admittedly, I was dizzy with hunger and wanted food as soon as possible. Walking back to the car, seemed ardorous! So, I decided I could survive the meal as I have done with restaurants and simply explain how to serve my food. After having this converstaion with our cashier, I watched him walk back to the kitchen and explain it to the food prep. We sat down, and I enjoyed some water, knowing that I would have to take the recycable cup home with me. The kitchen guy comes out with toothpicks, napkins, the wax paper under my food and all! Man, I am going to look back at this incident 10 days from now with bitterness. At the rate I am going, I am pretty sure that I will only have fruit and vegetable stickers and maybe a milk carton or another empty coffee package. Then, I will have this stupid piece of wax paper. It does really make you more aware of how much wasted extra stuff goes into any dining out experience. 2 lessons learned from today- never forget my bag of goodies (towel, plastic plate, bowl, utensil, drinking and coffee cups, and tupperware) and after this whole thing is done, continue to ask servers to minimize the amount of extra stuff they put on my plate. I can easily keep a pretty cloth napkin on me, refrain from using a straw and ask that no garnish be put on my plate. I actually like using the tupperware to put things in that I can take home and compost or to put my leftovers in so that I don't have to take home a styrofoam container. But, who knows, I may be getting carried away...:)

Day 3- 2 Weeks/No Trash

Well, I used the last of my coffee grinds. So, I am carrying its packaging around with me. James and I went out to eat and a baseball game. I explained my story to our waitress, who expressed a kind interest in it. She did deliver my plate with a plastic container full of ketchup- into the tupperware it went to be brought home, washed out and recycled! I also paid for dinner, so I had to recycle the receipt, as well, when I got home. I also went to a coffee shop to buy a chocolate chip cookie. As I was explaining it to the guy behind the counter, he was putting my cookie in a little baggie. I asked him to take it out and reuse it. He agreed to this. So, I came away trash free! At the game, I drank wine and James surprised me with a chocolate milkshake. Both came in clear plastic cups, so I simply carried them home and recycled. So far, I only have a couple of fruit stickers and an empty coffee bag in my trash :)

On a side note, it is really great having a partner who is not doing the project. We had to buy some stuff for our dog that did not come in recycable packaging (well it did at another store- but I confess that I am no angel- not about to drive around searching for recycled packaging). James decided that this would be his purchase. Also, when we eat out, he decides on appetizers. I can nibble at them without having to finish the whole plate!

Day 2- 2 Weeks/No Trash

Sunday, I needed to go grocery shopping! This was actually a really cool experience. It took me a long time to examine all of the various packaged items, searching for that recycle symbol. I did by milk, so if/when I finish the carton, I will be carrying it around. But, I did opt out of buying- well nothing! Everything I eat comes in a recycable option- except microwave popcorn, which I have quit eating during the project. I also had to quit chewing gum. And, after looking up ways to recycle gum and instead reading about all of the nasty things it does to your insides- I happily quit! I also had to buy spinach in bulk instead of the prewashed stuff. The packaging had the three arrows, but said "recycle other". That sounded to complicated to me! I also forgot my tupperware. I planned to ask the meat dept. person to put my meat in there, instead of wrapping it. So, I opted for canned meat- gross, but it's only for this week. At the end of the day, I ended up with stickers from an apple and a tomato lining the inside of my trash bag :) Another good day!

Day 1

So, I work up this morning, slightly hungover from a dinner with friends the night before. As I routinely went to prepare my coffee, I breathed in a quick sigh of panic when I realized that I had just opened up the trash can lid and threw the coffee grounds from the day before in the trash! How could I do such a horrible thing? Ah well, it was then that I realized my two weeks were in session. I quickly forgave myself. If anymore coffee grinds wind up in the trash- I will fetch them out and carry them with me for the remainder of my sentence!
Unlike Max, I decided that I wasn't going to change too much of my daily personal care and eating routines. I think it would be better to learn how to minimize the waste that I regularly create on a day to day basis. Given that I eat mostly fruits, vegetables, yogurt/frozen yogurt, bread and meat; I figured that I could really succeed at minimizing my trash consumption. So, started a compost and decided that I wouldn't eat anything unless it came in a recycable package. James and I had lunch out, and I explained the speal to our server. Miraculously, I only walked away with a tupperware full of one lemon wedge, that came with my water before I had a chance to explain my speal, and and some unfinished salad. I composted all of it when I returned home. That night, we went to a BBQ. I explained my little adventure to the host and hostess. The host provided me with a real plate and silverware, offerred me a bite of her cherry so that I wouldn't have to carry the pit around with me and even expressed interest in trying the project. Her husband on the otherhand, found another person to join in harrassing me. Together, they attempted to get me to consume cherries, corn on the cob, open the sausage packaging, eat of a paper plate etc. Successfully, I came him with a corn on the cob to compost, which I consciously chose to consume! A day well done!

The project originated here: