Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #9–A Stumble, It Happens

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

takeoutcontainerOver the last two months we have made great strides to reduce our trash or garbage output.  But, this week had a few set-backs.  I pinched a nerve in my back and was down for three days.  Lots of ice, medication and no moving.  Getting much help from the husband.  One evening when I was still immobile we decided to get take-out from the local Chinese restaurant (Hubby ran downtown, I did not).  I figured we would get the cute little paper containers.  No, it seems all the take out places have switched to the oversized, clam-shell style styrofoam.  Ugh. 

Enjoyed the fried rice, chow mien and chicken.  (Truly, thanks for everything, Mike.) The extra trash, not so much.  So, what to do in the future?  There are often days when we are too tired to make a dinner from scratch and we do not feel like eating a meal out.  Until these restaurant come to their senses and start providing eco-friendly containers, it is time to start planning and freezing handy meals for this type of occasion.  Lesson learned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #8–Refillable Products (BYOB)

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

BYOB Green conceptA new trend for small grocers is to provide refillable products.  Our town’s little local organic farm and grocery, Nash’s Produce, not only sells brilliantly colored vegetables fresh out of the nearby field; they also sell bulk products like liquid laundry soap—you bring your container for filling.  (The container is weighed prior to filling to get the “tare” and the amount is deducted from the final weight at the register.)  They also sell refillable personal care products like shampoo and conditioner.  I noticed lots of other large containers which will be investigated at a later date.  (Hoping they sell vegetable oil and olive oil in bulk…)

I purchased shampoo and conditioner last week bringing in my own containers (empty shampoo/conditioner bottles with the labels removed).  Since the store IS promoting organic the liquid is free of chemicals.

A great little system.  Again cheaper and no trash.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Still Painting

Climbing that learning curve and having fun with it.  Two new paintings—the pheasant in oil (first time/be kind) and elk in watercolor.  Watercolor is my favorite medium (so far).


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #7–Dejunk Your Mail

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

junk_mailFor a while this process was two steps forward, then one step back.  Dejunking mail.  This involves extra work on your part, but eventually you can get the incoming mail down to a trickle.  When we lived full-time in the RV this was a necessity (it costs to have mail forwarded from the mail service provider and the more mail the more expensive).  Not only was the amount of trash from mail eliminated, but the time and effort spent dealing with each piece of mail was avoided.

There are a number of websites that will attempt to globally reduce your junk mail, but the best approach for me, so far,  is to call the number listed on the mail item and ask to be taken off their list.  Then, take the offensive, by doing the following:

  • Sign up with all your creditors and investment company for eStatements only.  Receive your bill reminders and statements through e-mail.
  • Stop all those catalogs.  I swear Pottery Barn sends out 3-4 a month.  Call the number on the back of the catalog and ask them to take your name off the mailing list.  
  • If you must receive magazines, why not try digital magazines sent on your computer or netbook.
  • Get tough with solicitors marketing their credit cards.   The global opt-out program seems to work in this area. 

Rather than list all the websites offering to help you with this project, just search on the words “dejunk mail” or “opt out” and you can find one that is right for you. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #6–Recycling

Reference:  2013 Resolution posted 12/31/2012

cardboardIn one of the earlier “No Waste” posts I mentioned that my garbage reduction resolution was inspired by the blog www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com written by Bea Johnson.  Bea has a system relying heavily on the 5Rs.  Refuse. Reduce. Reuse.  Recycle.  Rot.  And strictly in that order.  I think she has it right. 

However, there are items that cannot be “refused” (by us, anyway) and must be recycled. 

  • Cardboard.  There are still a few food items we purchase in a box (crackers) and large purchases packaged in a box.
  • Glass.  Beer bottles--we can purchase beer in a reusable growler at a local brewery, but it goes flat too fast.  Wine bottles—our local winery does not refill—yet. 
  • Aluminum.  When we still indulged in drinking pop (or soda, for some), we recycled aluminum cans, but we have since given up carbonated beverages.  Too many studies showing bad effects.  Plus, it costs a pretty penny.  Occasionally, there is a need for a mixed drink and the result is a can or two needs recycling.
  • Plastic.  Still looking for a convenient recycling dumpster.  But, we are fast figuring out how to avoid purchasing at all.  Will explain in a future post.

Even in our small town there is an abundance of cardboard recycling stations, a handy aluminum can recycling (collected for charity) and a large glass disposal recycling bin.  (Note:  We drop off our recycling rather than curb side pickup.  Easy to stop and drop off—the stations are located next to the grocery and convenient.  No extra effort required.)

We are down to one medium size bag every two weeks.  Garbage pick up is now twice a month for a small can.  Charge for pickup is down to $13/month, fewer trips to the curb and a good feeling that we are making a difference (albeit a very, very small one).  Our efforts are working! 

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