Well, there you have it, my 365th day of blogging my trash. I have to be honest, it was a little odd doing that for the last time, but having said that, quantifying everything like this is not something i will miss.
For those of you wondering, I was thinking of holding off on the paint cans and sink faucet until tomorrow, when they wouldn't count, but I figured that wasn't really right, so there they are.
As to what happens next, well, this is only the beginning. I'll post up a finale post here tomorrow night (most likely) as I may have a few fun things to mention and show, and I'm completely zonked from programming all day (if you can call it that).
Having said all of that, I want to quickly thank everybody for all your support, kind words, and most of all interest over the last 365 days. Hopefully the new site will continue on in this tradition and we can all continue on the journey together.
There is one person i feel that i should single out on this, my last day though, and that is my lovely wife. There is no way i would have been able to do this without her understanding, patience, and old blender, and i can't thank her enough for that. Not many wives would allow their husbands to undertake something like this and I think I'm safe to say that I don't know how lucky I am to have her.
Thanks sweetie for hanging in there, for your love and support, and for never sending me down to sleep with the worms.
I love you.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Well, there you have it, my 365th day of blogging my trash. I have to be honest, it was a little odd doing that for the last time, but having said that, quantifying everything like this is not something i will miss.
Posted by Dave at 9:28 PM
- 1 candy bar wrapper - garbage
- 1 paper bag with sticker on it - garbage/worms
- 8 cans of old paint and other painting supplies - hazardous waste
- 1 kitchen sink faucet - freecycle for pieces and garbage for broken spout
- 2 heavy plastic box holders - garbage
Posted by Dave at 9:24 PM
I have been quite remiss in posting about Chico State University, a school I have grown quite fond of, but figured it was high time. I'm going to have more on them on the new site which launches tomorrow, but for now, here are a few tidbits.
I have spoken several times up at Chico and it absolutely astounds me what they are doing there on the sustainability front. They have a dorm that is sustainability minded, sharing and growing food, exploring the waste stream they create, and even composting with worms (how could i not love these folks?). They also have an entire student led association that goes through all of the trash and picks out anything usable before it is discarded and then has it free for students to use. Im not talking trash here (pun intended), I;m talking about a wrehouse full of boks, notebooks, stereo systems, you anme it, most of which is free for the taking. It's truly amazing and a testament to what a dedicated few can do.
California State University, Chico
The Zero Waste Challenge is an exercise used to demonstrate the linear way in which we use resources. The idea of the challenge is to carry around a transparent bag for two weeks, and into that bag goes everything that is not compostable, recyclable, or reusable. Essentially, anything headed to the landfill was placed in this bag—which had to be five feet or less from our bodies the entire two weeks. And whichever participant has the lease amount of trash generated by the end, is proclaimed the Zero Waste Champion.
This Challenge is important for not only just myself to do, but anyone and everyone. It is valuable because it is a quantified visual statement that says, “This is my waste and I take responsibility for it.” As a species, we deal with non-reusable waste in such a nonchalant manner. A piece of trash is simply tossed into the waste stream and forgotten about. Gone. Somebody else’s problem. ‘Away’. BUT this challenge is not only of value for the participants, but also in generating meaningful conversation with non-participants, and getting them involved through word of mouth. And, also, to get them thinking about their own waste patterns.
Things that come as a surprise not only to me but in general as to how few things that are plastic are not recyclable, despite the presence of the chasing arrows. Things such as Styrofoam, any type of single-use plastic container including coffee cups and red cups aren’t recyclable! As for the participants as a whole, it was great to hear the conversation of what actually goes in the bags: is this compostable? Is that recyclable? Can I reuse this? Not only was it a great visual for all of us, but many people enhanced their knowledge of the waste stream.
Two concepts really struck me during this challenge. One was the idea of ‘away’. In our vernacular, we simply say that something has gone away when we toss it into the trash can. Away is an adverb, not a place. Nothing can truly go away; it must go somewhere. For the purposes of this exercise, things go ‘away’ to the landfill. There is no such thing as ‘away’ in the physical sense. I have been to the landfill and it is eye-opening. The landfill in our county of Butte is 30 stories tall, the tallest person-made structure in the county. This ties into the second concept that sticks out to me: matter cannot be created nor destroyed. That is the First Law of Thermodynamics, which demonstrates that we live on a finite planet with limited resources. If we keep sending things to the landfills and not back into the natural capital of the earth, all living things will be at a disadvantage.
Everybody should at least examine their contribution to the waste stream. If the idea of living a life that feeds the system that feeds you appeals to you, then taking a look at waste habits is a good place to start. I have learned through the Zero Waste Challenge to Reduce, Reuse, and Compost. Recycling (downcycling) is ok too, but it is an energy intensive process. I encourage anyone to participate in their own personal challenge, or to get a group of people together and challenge each other.
Peace and love
Senior, Environmental Justice Major
Posted by Dave at 6:41 AM
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Over 20 people from New Zealand, to Denmark, to here in the US of A have signed up and I'm hoping that more will join in. I'll send out a questionaire tomorrow to everyone who has emailed me that they are in and we'll see what happens. My original idea was to do this the first week of January, but in reality, feel free to fit it in in the first two weeks, or whenver works for you. The idea is to consume like you usually do, and see what you've got.
Contact me at the link up top if you're game, and if you haven't received the questionaire yet, please let me know via email and I will send it.
Monday, December 29, 2008
- 1 coffee cup - garbage
- 1 coffee cup sleeve - worms
- 1 entry wrist band - turned into coffee shop for drink
- 1 fedex box - repurpose
- 1 catalog - worms
- 2 staples from catalog - garbage
- 2 wick holders from candles - garbage
- 1 small plastic bag - recycle
- 1 cardboard box potato pancakes - recycle
- 1 plastic bag from potato pancakes - recycle
- 1 video cassette wrapper - recycle
Posted by Dave at 9:25 PM
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As the year is nearing an end and the final days of my 365 are upon me, I had a thought. Well, actually, my good friend Zan had the thought, but she passed it on to me, and I'm keeping it.
I'll be done with my little experiment in just under two weeks and while that will hardly be the end of all of this, I was wondering (or more accurately Zan was) if anyone out there would like to step into my shoes for a week. How cool would it be if everyone on this list (its up around 1000 now and growing) were to keep all of their garbage and recycling for a week in order to see what you learn and how you change. If you can't keep it all, no sweat, keep a list of everything as you get rid of it. The list alone will be a real eye-opener and I'm certain it will have an effect.
I was thinking of asking folks to take a week between Jan 1 and Jan 15 and take the challeng, and ask if you'd write up a little paragraph or two about what you found out and how it affected your habits. If you'd email it to me, I can post them all up on a board on the new site and who knows, maybe others will want to join in. On second thought, if you let me know you are doing it, I'll just send out a questionaire and post those.
So how about it? Any takers? If so, you can email me at the contact link up top.
Posted by Dave at 7:31 PM
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Over the past week, i have received a ton of emails, comments, and all sorts of other contact due to the yahoo piece that ran. It's been fairly overwhelming and I have not been able to respond to everyone the way I'd like to, so here are some responses to a few things that i have been asked (and just a few things that I wanted to throw out there).
Posted by Dave at 10:15 AM
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
- 1 movie popcorn bag - garbage
- 1 soda can - recycle
- 3 plastic straws - garbage
- 1 small bag of cookies - garbage
- 1 plastic take out top - recycle
- 1 tin takeout bottom - repurpose
- 1 cardboard bread box mix - recycle
- 1 plastic bag from bread mix - recycle
- 1 cardboard box frozen fish - recycle
- 1 plastic bag from frozen fish - recycle
Posted by Dave at 8:51 PM
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This has nothing whatsoever to do with wasting less, or anything that this blog has to do with. That said, its really cool and a lot of fun, so I thought I'd pass it along as a little gift to everyone who's been reading and become part of this blog. Thanks for everything.
Check out www.thisissand.com click on your mouse and see what happens ("c" will change colors).
Posted by Dave at 5:59 PM
I know, that's an odd tip, but it's Christmas eve and things are pretty much where they'll be this holiday season. That said, I like the idea of stepping out side of your environment for a bit to get a taste of what's going on around you. As i've mentioned before, if you are reading this right now, chances are you are better off than most. It's easy for us (myself included here) to forget this from time to time. So head out for a neighborhood walk tonight. Who knows what you'll find. You'll get some fresh air, clear your head, maybe even meet a new neighbor. Whatever happens, it will put you in touch with your surroundings, where you live, who you live with, and on a certain level, who you are.
I'm rambling because I'm tired, but the idea is in there somewhere.
Happy Holidays to everyone who is celebrating and thanks for tuning in.
Posted by Dave at 5:53 PM
A reader sent me a link to this article about a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who is using liposuctioned fat as biofuel. I can't decide if my favorite line is
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Thanksgiving tips were such a hit that i figured I'd bring them back up to the top of the order. A big meal is a big meal right? Enjoy.
As Thanksgiving here in the good ole US of A is right around the corner, I thought I'd throw out a few simple ideas on how to waste less during the holidays.
- Consider your food miles - I know I just posted about this, but try to get your food locally if you can. Check out farmers markets and CSA's and you'll save some money, save on fuel spent getting those eats to your plate, and help support your local community rather than some big corporation 1000 miles away.
- Bring and Use Live Flowers - A lot of people like to bring flowers as a present, and/or use them as a decoration for their holiday table. While this definitely spruces things up, wouldn't a live plant from a local nursery be better? You can find really nice seasonal plants and rather than ending up in the trash, a year from now your friends can still be enjoying them. If you're sending rather than bringing, at least check out some organic possibilities which are a little lighter on the environment.
- Skip the wrap - If you're planning on bringing a gift with you, skip the wrapping paper and deliver your gift inside another gift. A re-usable bag with a gift inside of it only makes you cooler (woooeeeee, two gifts in one) and you can always go with a nice bottle of wine wrapped up Furoshiki style! And if you can't decide on what to bring them, what's Thanksgiving without a worm bin?
- Don't Forget the Three R's - Refuse, Re-Use, Recycle - I know it's the holidays, and everyone from Bob the guy down the street to your Aunt Fanny and her weird dog are coming over, but just because you've got a houseful of guests, it doesn't mean you need to take a day off from the 3 Rs. In fact, by asking your friends to help you clear the table accordingly, you can teach them a thing or two and pass some things on ("Yes Aunt Fanny, Fifi can have the turkey scraps but the squash you didn't eat should go into the worm bin...what's that? Oh, its that square thingy on the center of the table.")
- Can the cans (and bottles) - A lot of people like to put out bottled water and cans of soda or beer when company comes. Bottled water is horrible for a number of reasons and cans are not much better. If you are going with soft drinks, at least buy larger bottles and have people pour their own, or if you are really industrious, how about making juice or (gulp) serving water out of the tap?
- Skip the paper - You've got company coming over for crying out loud, what are you breaking out the paper plates and paper napkins for? Go for the fine china and if you don't, at least use your regular dishes. It makes no sense to buy a plate, use it once and throw it out. As far as napkins, try and find some cloth napkins. They may cost you a bit more, but think how much you'll save over the long term, both in resources and in cash, not to mention that your sister in law Agnus will think you're the bomb!
- Give your leftovers to someone who really needs it - Most people make a ton of food when company comes and often there are more than enough leftovers to go around. Freeze what you'll eat and save it up for the weeks to come (tupperware rather than plastic or foil please) and if you have more than enough, why not make up a plate or two, put it in an extra re-usable container you may have lying around with some silverware, and give it to someone on the street who may be down on their luck. Sadly, I fear many of us live near those that need some help and if Thanksgiving is really about giving thanks, shouldn't we extend that to helping others?
- Craigslist your oil - Thinking of deep frying that tofu turducken and don't know what to do with the ten gallons of barely used peanut oil? Don't throw it out for heavens sake, pop it onto craigsilist and some oddball greaser like myself will gladly come and take it off your hands.
- Plan Ahead - As you are making your dinner pans and deciding what to cook, think about where your ingredients came from, how they will be used and what will happen to the scraps and leftovers when you are done. If you take a few minutes and consider it, I can promise you you'll keep your holiday waste down to a minimum and feel better when you are done.
Posted by Dave at 10:00 PM
- 1 wrapper from chocolate coin - garbage
- 1 dog chewed plastic bag (ahhh the dog) - garbage
- 2 plastic bags from sink matts - recycle
- 2 paper inserts from sink matts - worms
- 3 shreded sink matts - garbage
- 1 cardbaord from new batteries - recycle
- 1 plastic front from new batteries - recycle
- 1 plastic wrap from toilet paper pack - recycle
- 1 package butternut squash soup - recycle
- 1 bag pasta - recycle
- 1 cardboard fish stick box
Posted by Dave at 8:43 PM
OK, the real answer to the plastic water bottle problem has been with most of us all along. Its coming out of the tap in your house and you can drink from it any time you'd like (right now even). Fill up a steel water bottle and you're good to go. But there are those areas of the world where bottled water is still a necessity and thankfully, a company named Brandimage has the answer.
And if you are redesigning a sustainable water bottle, why stop there right? They've even eliminated the need for packing pallets and plastic wrap by designing the bottles so they can be linked together into their own carrying case.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I've never really understood the whole tinsel thing. You pay money for little strips of mettalic film that then get caught all over everything. That said, I;m obviously in the minority on this one. But who needs t spend good money on new tinsel? Grab some of your old chips bag (I have some in the basement if you want) and cut them up. The inside looks exactly like tinsel.
Posted by Dave at 10:04 PM
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I actually haven't really shown this shelf that much. It's not full but i keep a bunch of tetrapaks and other stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else here.
In honor of the first night of Hannukah I thought I'd throw out a recipe I found for homemade potato pancakes/latkes. Now for those of you reading along carefully at home, the irony of the fact that we just had pre-made potato pancakes a few nights ago is not lost on me. But there, dear reader, lies the rub in all of this. We are none of us perfect, yet striving for perfection, and I'm at the front of that line.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I may get some odd feedback on this one, but let's see what happens. Let's say you're one of those folks in the minority out there who hasn't trimmed the tree yet and you're also one of those folks who just hasn't gotten around to changing out your lightbulbs. Well, instead of running out and buying ornaments, why not go get some CFLs and hang your old Edison bulbs all over the tree? How wild would that be, and what a conversation starter.
Now i have to add that the legal team of Handerson Landers and Flynn has told me that you are trying this at your own risk and should be very careful to secure all bulbs to the tree safely, lest they fall and smash on your train set. If anyone does do this though, please post up a pic cuz I think it'd look cool.
When the 26th comes around, you can donate those bulbs to a charitable organization and help them out while you are at it.
Posted by Dave at 9:09 PM
Friday, December 19, 2008
- 1 glass grape juice bottle w/top - recycle
- 1 plastic cupcake holder - recycle
- 1 glass hard cider bottle - recycle
- 1 plastic gadget bag - recycle
- 1 cardboard backing from gadget packaging - recycle
- 2 staples from gadget packaging - garbage
- 1 plastic ring from butter spread tub - recycle
- 2 tea lamp holders - garbage
- 4 pieces used scotch tape - garbage
Posted by Dave at 8:43 PM
Down and dirty today, here are a few tips on wasting less when someone else is slinging your hash.
Fast Food OK, I know this is an odd place to start but sadly, more food is consumed daily in America at fast food establishments than at any other type of eatery. Now when you think of fast food, you think of a lot of things, but one of the big ones has got to be waste. While there are certain things you are just not going to be getting around (and I’m not even going to get into nutrition here), you do have some options.
A few weeks back I was out with a friend and he asked if I minded if he drove through a certain Scottish/American establishment that he happens to frequent. I told him I was fine as long as I could order. When we came to the window, I asked for what he wanted and then proceeded to ask that they skip the bag, ketchup, straw, and only give us one napkin. A few surprised questions later and wouldn’t ya know it, he was headed out with roughly half the stuff he would have been handed otherwise. It never hurts to ask.
Eating with Kids We have two young kids and this is always a big one for me. It seems that no matter where we go, even the nice places, they tend to bring Styrofoam cups with plastic lids and straws regardless of what’s what. So I’ve gotten into the habit of asking the waitperson if the kids drinks be brought in actual glasses as it makes them feel more grownup and therefore they don’t spill as much. It generally works. As for the straws, we bring our own reusable curly cue straws so the kids have ones that are far better than the restaurant would give out anyway. Finally, if your kids are like mine, they rarely finish their food. So we’ve begun packing in a little plastic food storage bowl so we don’t need those nasty Styrofoam take out containers. It’s not fool proof but you can usually get by. And if they give out crayons, snag em rather than leaving them behind or better yet, bring your own!
Straws Kids aren’t the only ones who get these. I am shocked at how many people get straws in their drinks and then take them out and put them on the table. I was at a lunch meeting last week and ordered an ice tea but asked for no straw. The people I was with were shocked as they had never thought of this before, but after considering it for a second, asked that their drinks not contain straws either. And the dominos tumble.
Chopsticks Sure impressing the boss by using chopsticks is a cool thing, but do you have any idea how much wood is used annually just to make these things? China alone goes through 25 million trees a year. So next time you head out for Asian food, bring a reusable pair from home or at least grab a fork.
Water Don’t want water for the table, ask for it to not be brought. Many places will only bring water if it’s asked for but for those still behind the times, it’s an incredible waste of a precious resource when it’s not going to get used.
Plan Ahead The big piece of advice I can give you on the restaurant front, as with most others is, plan ahead. For starters, choose your eatery wisely. Do they use “disposable” versus reusable plates and utensils. If it’s the former, can you use the stuff in your bag instead of what they give you?
When you sit down, take a good look around and see if anything jumps out. Do all the kids have Styrofoam cups? Are they giving out “disposable” menus (in which case you can share one)? Taking a moment or two to think ahead will most likely save you some trash in the long run and don’t be afraid to ask for something if it’s not unreasonable.
Finally, if you are really the type to prep ahead, check out Eat Well. You’ll be able to find an organic restaurant near you and if it’s a good one, half the battle is won before you even arrive.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Trying to figure out last minute gifts on a budget? Why not pick up an Orikaso bowl for that special someone in your life. They only cost about $3, will help that special person in your life cut down on waste, and most importantly are SUPER COOL! REI carries them as does Sport Chalet and several other sporting good/camping stores.
- 1 candy bar wrapper - garbage
- 1 tea bag cover - worms
- 1 tea bag - worms
- 1 cliff bar wrapper - recycle
- 1 cardboard ice cream sandwich box - recycle
- 1 plastic ice cream sandwich tray - recycle
- 1 plastic bag form ice cream sandwiches - recycle
Posted by Dave at 8:40 PM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
According to the EPA, close to 40% of all gifts given this year will require batteries of some sort. As many of those will be the standard C,D, Multiple A, and 9 volt, why not give them a nice set of rechargeable batteries and a charger to go with it? It'll save them money, save on e-waste recycling (and landfill space as a lot of people throw these things out) and you'll be the super cool gift giver that you always wanted to be.
If you're stumped on what's watt (I sleigh myself) with batts, fear not, the internet is here!
Posted by Dave at 8:25 PM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I've never really understood wrapping paper. You pay through the nose for something that someone is going to rip apart and throw away after one use. It's kind of nuts. Thankfully, the Japanese have had a great alternative for centuries, Furoshiki!
Furoshiki Gift Wrapping - Celebrity bloopers here
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We try to do this with our kids, with a fair amount of success, but it occurs to me it should extend to us adults as well. In preparation for the holiday gift receiving, we try to ask the kids to go though their toys and find some things they don't use as much as they used to. Same goes for clothes and books. We then head to a local thrift store and donate them, or to a religious institution depending on what we have/they need. I think this is a really important part of the holiday season as it sets up the idea that you just can't keep getting, but you have to give as well. Spread it around a little and the stuff won't pile up as much also.
Posted by Dave at 9:26 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I can't believe it took me this long to think of this. DUH! Know any parents with small kids? Give them a homemade certificate for one night of babysitting! Let me tell you, as the father of two small kids, this is huge! We are always struggling to find babysitters and truthfully, if everyone we knew gave us one night of sitting (anyone oistening out there), we'd be psyched. When a sitter and a movie comes to close to $70 and that's without even getting somehting to eat, it means we rarely actually do it. But throw in a free night of babysitting and now you've got some potential.
Babysitting, I can't believe I hadn't thought of that!
Posted by Dave at 6:12 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Most people reading this post are probably fairly blessed. The mere fact that you are reading this most likely means you are educated, have a computer or access to one, have means of some sort in order to have a computer etc. But there are a lot of people less fortunate than us, especially this year when the holidays are in the midst of an economic meltdown. If you are a gift giver by nature, why not give a few less to those you love and instead give something to someone who truly needs it. You can call your local church, synagogue, mosque or any number of other religious institutions and ask if there is a family in need you could send gifts, clothes, and or money to. Sadly, many of these organizations will know people who are hurting and they are always looking for help. Going through a religious institution is a good way to connect because they will have assessed the situation on some level to assure that the family is truly in need. Another option is the Salvation Army or your local Family Services chapter. If you've never done something like this before you'll be surprised at how great it makes you feel and it is a more powerful lesson for children than i can possibly explain. Trust me on this one. When she's twenty, Little Suzie won't recall the Peggy Barfs-A-Lot Doll but she'll remember this.
Posted by Dave at 4:13 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
You want a wreath on your door but your conscience says that wasting all those evergreens and whatnot just doesn't make sense. Well Good Housekeeping has it covered with info on how to make wreaths from just about everything including Dad's old ties (how cool is that?). And if you're not into the whole craft thing, here's a link to an edible wreath made out of a years supply of Rosemary, Thyme, Bay Leaves, and Chili Peppers. Enjoy it during the holidays and then keep on doing so for the whole rest of the year.
This is a really interesting idea. Amazon is starting to offer a few products in what they call Frustration Free Packaging. While their reasoning was to keep customers from getting what they call "wrap rage" the net result is that you get the thingy you bought in a recyclable box with minimal packaging, no clam shell, no plastic bubbles, just a box. It's an interesting concept because if they get the items in bulk and then repackage them this could change the whole packaging issue quite a bit. Imagine if every product offered this? Would most people seriously offer for the intensive frustrating packaging or the simple one?
Want to see the JunkRaft in person, support a good cause, and hit up a great party all in one fell swoop? Then check out this flyer (double clicking will enlarge it). Junkraft will be there on the front lawn and you can see what it was like to travel across the pacific in it first hand.
Posted by Dave at 3:15 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here's an easy waste free gift idea, give them a month on Lynda.com. The site is a massive compendium of video tutorials on all things computer. Learn how to edit video, compress files, or even just get your computer running smoother. If you are like me you're much better at watching a 20 minute video that actually shows as it goes than sitting and reading a pdf file. I should point out that I'm not affiliated with Lynda, get nothing from them, but use them quite a bit. You can check out lot of their videos for free but as they get more serious, they charge $25 a month. So save a little cash, help someone you love master a new skill, and waste virtually (pun intended) nothing!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I teach a seminar called Chasing Sustainability to school kids, primarily 6-12th graders but sometimes younger and more and more recently on up to college, home parties and offices. It's truly the best experience I have as it gives me a real chance to reach kids. As far as I'm concerned, they are the answer to the problems at hand.
Posted by Dave at 8:16 PM
OK, so you're trying to go light on the environment and go light on the ole pocket book. Why not get something used instead of new? The challenge of course is finding what they might want, so don't resort to last minute shopping on this one, you want to start early. Craigslist is a great resource and here's a good link to a used bookstore site that will let you know what's what in your area. And when you give someone their present, let them know why you went used instead of new, it may just change their shopping habits next year.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Can't think of anything for that person who has everything? No problem. Sign them up for a year of Greendimes and help them cut out their junk mail. They plant 5 trees and save your friends time and hassle. Who could ask for more?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
A lot of people are starting to put up holiday lights this weekend and alot of those strings are going to inexplicably not work. Fret not dear friend, help is on the way. No, I have no idea what's wrong with them, but if you finally give up on them all together, don't trash them, send them off to this company. They'll recycle the strings and send you a 15% off coupon good towards some brand spankin' new LEDs. Of course, if you just decide that holiday lights aren't really fitting into your sustainability plans, no need to buy new lights, but you can still give that coupon to a friend as an early gift right?
Thanks to joynodoubt for bringing this to my attention.
Posted by Dave at 6:50 AM
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A reader named Marylin sent this months Site-o-the month in, a site that she runs for kids that teaches them about recycling and art. It's really cool and I highly suggest checking it out. The idea for the site revolves around using found objects to create art. Its got lots of tips on projects to make and has a cool section called the Trash Matcher where kids can find art projects that use things that they may have. It's really cool.
- 1 large ball of tape
- 1 candy bar wrapper
- 1 paper bag with sticker
- parts from kitchen sink
- 2 heavy plastic box holders
- 1 package dog treats
- 1 package veggie dogs
- 1 advil packet
- 1 emergen c packet
- 1 piece tape
- 1 emergen c packet
- 1 movie popcorn bag
- 3 plastic straws
- 1 small bag of cookies
- 2 dog chewed candles
- 1 foil from top of wine bottle
- 1 wrapper from chocolate coin
- 1 dog chewed plastic bag
- 3 shredded sink matts
- 2 parking passes w/stickers
- 1 plastic hanger from new socks
- 1 frozen juice container
- 1 plastic window from pasta box
- 2 staples from gadget packaging
- 2 tea lamp holders
- 4 pieces used scotch tape
- 1 candy bar wrapper
- 1 cookie bag
- 1 movie popcorn bag
- 1 chips bag
- 1 used razor
- 1 sticker from fishmonger
- 1 package of advil
- 1 broken hangar
- 1 foil packet from gum box
- 1 bog of dog treats
- 1 piece chewed gum in wrapper
- 1 plastic cashews bag w/stickers
- 1 large wad of paper towels w/glitter glue
- 1 broken dog treat bowl
- 1 bag cheese puffs
- 1 staple from tea bag
- 1 handful of plaster
- 1 coffee cup
- 1 coffee cup
- 2 staples from catalog
- 2 wick holders from candle
- 13 ozs paper from mail/bills
- 1 small plastic bag
- 1 cardboard box potato pancakes
- 1 plastic bag from potato pancakes
- 1 video cassette wrapper
- 1 plastic cottage cheese tub pp5
- 1 cliff bar wrapper
- 1 plastic ricotta cheese tub pp5
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 1 plastic bag mozarella cheese
- 1 plastic wrap from masking tape
- 1 cardbaord backing from pill crusher
- 1 plastic cover from pill crusher
- 1 plastic ring from wall compound spread
- 1 dvd plastic wrap
- 1 plastic wrap from tea bag
- 1 large cork
- 1 box candies
- 1 glass syrup bottle w/top
- 1 plastic bag basamati rice
- 1 torn plastic bag
- 1 blintzes box
- 1 cardboard saline box
- 1 box dog poop bags
- 1 veggie dogs wrapper
- 1 cereal box
- 1 plastic cereal bag
- 1 can salmon
- 1 cardboard cracker box
- 2 plastic bags from crackers
- 1 gum box
- 1 plastic spaghetti bag
- 1 plastic cup
- 1 aluminum tuna can
- 1 ring from milk jug
- 1 plastic straw
- 2 styrofoam plates
- 1 bottle teriyaki sauce w/top
- 1 glass cider bottle w/top
- 18 ozs paper from bills, mail etc
- 1 plastic pasta bag
- 1 plastic butter spread tub w/top PP5
- 1 tin can
- 1 beer bottle w/top
- 2 cardboard backing from videocassetes
- 1 milk jug ring
- 1 plastic tortilla bag
- 1 cliff bar wrapper
- 1 cardboard ice cream sandwich box
- 1 plastic ice cream sandwich tray
- 1 plastic bag from ice cream sandwiches
- 1 glass grape juice bottle w/top
- 1 plastic cupcake holder
- 1 glass hard cider bottle
- 1 plastic gadget bag
- 1 cardbaord backing from gadget packaging
- 1 plastic ring from butter spread tub
- 1 cardbaord pasta box
- 1 cardboard box potato pancakes
- 1 piece aluminum foil
- 1 styrofoam take out container
- 13 ozs paper from mail, bills, receipts
- 1 aluminum tuna can
- 1 cardboard wrapper from new socks
- 1 plastic ring from milk jug
- 2 cardboard baking soda containers
- 1 cardboard from new battery
- 1 plastic front from new battery
- 1 plastic wrap from toilet paper pack
- 1 package butternut squash soup
- 1 pasta bag
- 2 plastic bags from sink matts
- 1 margarita mix bottle
- 1 cardbaord candle box
- 2 plastic bags from toys
- 1 cereal box
- 1 bag from cereal box
- 1 soda can
- 1 plastic take out top
- 1 cardboard bread box mix
- 1 plastic bag from bread mix
- 1 cardboard box frozen fish
- 1 plastic bag from frozen fish
- 2 aluminum tuna cans
- 12 ozs paper from bills
- 1 cardboard box from fish sticks
- plastic pasta bag
- 1 razor blade
- 3 thin plastic bags from backdrops
- 1 plastic ring from milk
- 1 wine bottle
- 1 cork from wine bottle
- 9 volt battery
- 1 electronic monitor from aline box
- 3 9 volt batteries
- 8 cans old paint
Posted by Dave at 9:39 PM
I've always been a big fan of Pixar pictures and as I wrote this past summer, liked WallE for the reasons you might expect. An animated movie from one of the best studios going, about a trash machine that is cleaning up the planet after humans have trashed it due to unchecked wasteful practices. Sign me up.
So I was quite dismayed when I visited a friend down the street the other day and found what had come in their Los Angeles Times that day. A 10 oz, glossy printed, beautifully bound, 12" x 9 1/2" booklet on the movie. You see here in Los Angeles, Oscar fever is already starting and apparently the folks at Pixar wanted all of the voting members of the Academy to think of WallE. And what better way than to send them to all 815,723 subscribers (I'm guessing here but if the neighbors and several other non voting, non industry folks got them, I'm assuming a lot more did).
Amazing. Amazing and sad all at the same time. Pixar, I give you an A plus for the message behind the movie, but a D (I'm being generous) on not recognizing that the message should apply to us all.
This holiday season, instead of going out and buying stuff, why not give a lesson or two. Music lessons, art lessons, gardening lessons, pottery lessons, you name it. If you surf your local craiglist, paper or even ask at the library, you can find knowledgeable folks who can teach just about anything. Find out what your loved one has always wanted to do, and give them the gift of knowledge! No packaging, no standing in line, and your pumping money back into your local economy. Sure i want a turnip twadler, but compared to learning how to play the bagpipes (honey, are you reading this?) does it compare? I think not.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I'm the first to say that the holidays shouldn't be defined by gift giving, but there is a reality that can't be avoided. Many of us enjoy getting and receiving gifts this time of year, partly for nostalgic reasons and partly because it's fun to see what someone got you. The big problem isn't really in the receiving a gift column, but moreso in the receiving 20 gifts column. So how about changing things up a bit.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Technically speaking oil menorahs are supposed to use pure olive oil, but it seems like in today's world, why not re-use something you've already got. It works in cars, why not in your menorah? Besides, the turkey smell the oil gives off will make the room smell real nice.
- 2 local papers - worms
- 1 rubber band from local paper - repurpose
- 1 string from local newspaper - worms
- 1 plastic wrap from masking tape - recycle
- 1 cardboard backing from pill crusher - recycle
- 1 plastic cover from pill crusher - recycle
- 3 9 volt batteries - e-waste
- 2 sugar packets - worms
- 1 coffee cup - garbage
- 1 muffin wrap - worms
- 1 napkin - worms
Posted by Dave at 8:34 PM
"I ordered my new years worth of Norton 360 from Office Depot online, and it just arrived! The software is in a box about the size of a small book, yet they shipped it to me in a box measuring 16x12x10 inches. I'm not kidding! I thought they must have made a mistake and sent me the wrong order, but when I opened it, there was the little box of software sitting inside the huge box! Thought you would enjoy the comedy of it all."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A lot of people get Christmas trees this time of year and there is a fair amount of debate about fake, real, live, you name it. Your best bet on the enviro front is to plant one and use it year after year. If that's not an option, how about renting one? Don't believe you can? Check out this piece from Terrapass all about Christmas tree options including rental opportunites in the left coast.
I wrote this up for Care2 and thought some of you may find it of interest.
I’ve been trying to write up the piece I had planned for today and I just can’t do it. It’s tough to talk about a little pink mouse when there is a huge white elephant standing in the room, stepping on your toe. That white elephant of course, is Black Friday.
What exactly is going on people? Are we really killing each other to save $10 on wii? Have things really gotten that out of hand?
For the few of you who may not know what I am talking about, here’s a little update. While the rest of the world spent Thanksgiving day waiting for word on Mumbai, wondering whether the Thai government will step down or not, and watching the latest in the Somali pirating sagas, many US citizens were getting their track shoes out, warming up their already maxed out credit cards, and, in at least one case, loading their weapons.
Why you ask? Because Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is what has come to be known as Black Friday here in the US, an eagerly anticipated event that stores build up to with a fevered pitch, where “stuff” is on sale. As a result, many stores will open at midnight to throngs of shoppers mad to get $10 off on their child’s favorite Christmas toy or a new blender for the holidays. And as a result, people often get hurt, and as in this years case, killed.
In Long Island, NY, a frenzied crowd outside a Walmart stampeded in as the entrance was opened “ripping the doors off their hinges”, injuring 4 people including a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, and trampling and killing a 34-year-old employee. In an effort not to be outdone by the East coast, hours later, two fathers in a Toys R Us in California, shot and killed each other after a dispute between their wives. It remains unclear as to what started the dispute (it may have been gang related), but they were there for the sales, and I’m guessing their kids’ lives will never be the same.
All over the country, crowds surged, people shoved, mothers grabbed, fathers ran, children cried – all in all a really wonderful way to bring in the holiday season don’t you think? Ain’t the US of A great?
OK, if you read my articles, you are probably asking yourself, “where’s the wacky guy, we usually like to hear with the tips and ideas?” Well, I’m still here, I’m just a little upset right now. For starters, shame on the stores for allowing this to happen. Shame on them for lighting the fires of anticipation with their circulars and shame on them for allowing these mad dash events to occur. Remember the WHO concert in Cincinnati where all those people were crushed back in the 70s(http://www.enquirer.com/editions/1999/12/03/loc_concert_industry.html)? That changed things, shouldn’t this?
And shame on the shoppers. I recognize that people like a good deal but there is a point. When we forget about human decency and are able to trample a man rather than stopping and trying to help, we’ve gone too far. There has been talk about a mob mentality, and there is truth to that, but a mob is made up of individuals and each of those individuals has the ability, nay, the responsibility to step out of the mob, no matter how tough it may be. I think my favorite headline from yesterday was a CNN piece that read “Walmart Trampling Death Could Have Been Avoided.” Really? Ya think?
Anyway, enough with the sadness and condemnation. Here are a few things I’d like to see happen next year.
For starters, let’s take a stand and stamp out Black Friday. Adbusters (http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd)(a cool org by the way) has a great site devoted to Buy Nothing Day, their version of Black Friday. As protests go it doesn’t get any simpler than this – do nothing. Next year, instead of rushing to the stores, send the merchants a message and don’t show up at all. Can you imagine how disappointed everyone will be when no one is there to rip the doors off in anticipation of buying the first Hannah Montana Pees A Lot Doll (if that takes off I want my cut by the way).
Secondly, let’s all relax, take a deep breath, and take another look at the Ten Commandments, but with a capitalist twist. I mean no disrespect to anyone here, but this is a list that a large number of us know and it does have a few good pointers. To keep it simple, I’m going with the Wikipedia translation.
1. I am the Lord your God – Recognize that stuff isn’t going to make you happy, but faith in whatever it is you believe in, love, and understanding are what’s important. The iPhone can wait.
2. You Shall Have No Other Gods Before You – That wii may be cool, but making it the focal point of your life isn’t doing anyone any good. Get yourself out into nature for a few minutes. Play with your kids. Read a book.
3. You Shall Not Make Wrongful Use of the Name of Your God – As in “So help me god, I’ll kill you if you don’t let go of that Suzie Barfs A Lot Doll” - that’s just not neighborly.
4. Remember the Sabbath and Keep It Holy – A stretch on this one, but maybe we could all take a day or two off each week from consuming and do some good instead? Just a thought.
5. Honor Your Mother and Father – Ask yourself “Would my parents be proud of how I’m acting?”
6. You Shall Not Murder – Ya see, it doesn’t say, “unless something is 20% below cost,” it just says don’t do it. Simple.
7. You shall not commit adultery – Not touching that one (pun intended).
8. You Shall Not Steal – Let that little girl have the doll she’s holding. Sure you’re bigger and can take it before her mommy sees, but come on.
9. You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor – Allright, this one doesn’t work so much, but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on no?
10. You Shall Not Covet Anything That Belongs To Your Neighbor – Simply put, let the Joneses be the Joneses and let the Smiths be the Smiths. The things that you have that are important can’t be bought and can’t be sold. They are learned and passed along from one generation to the next. Take a look at who you are, and stop worrying about everyone else.
Bottom line is this – we all need to wake up and recognized that we are being played. Somehow we’ve bought into this notion that owning bigger and better stuff makes us bigger and better people. When in fact it makes us shallower and hollower. Last Friday proved that quite well. So here’s to next Back Friday when the stores are empty, the aisles deserted, and everyone is home with their families having made a decision about what is truly important, and acted upon it.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I just finished tallying the numbers for December and things have grown but only slightly. According to my scale, I have added no new weight on the garbage front which holds at 32 pounds. Of course this isn't true as the scale is inaccurate at best (bit hopefully consistently so) and only goes by .5 pound increments. My hope then is that i created less than a half pound of trash last month!
On other fronts, paper held at 55 pounds (go worms!), bottles, boxes and misc recycling were slightly up, and the ewaste was as well.
All in all, not too bad.
I do have to confess though, the fact that I only need to do this one more time does make me happy. I love what i have learned from all of this, but, truth be told, the record keeping is a tad tedious. There, I said it, it's out.
Back to the basement.
As some of you may know I have been a guest on a local radio station here in LA at the beginning of every month since January. To cap it off (yes they are not coming back for one last stop in January) they invited me in studio this AM for some fun. Its a pretty funny interview and make sure to check out the farewell song at the end.
"Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning." - George Carlin
Let's face it, living sustainably is one thing but giving up your christmas lights is something entirely different. Of course the best thing to do is simply not use christmas lights in the first place, but for many, it's just not the same without them. Luckily, LEDs have come a long way and are here to save the day. (You can read a neat explanation here).
Forever Bright, a really cool (pun intended) LED company now sells L.E.D. christmas lights everywhere from Costco to your local hardware store and they are great. They last for 200,000 hours, contain no glass (no broken bulbs anymore), use only 2-4 watts (compared with 43 or so for similar incandescent), and give off almost no heat (compared with the 94% of the energy in the old kind that were given off as heat - christmas morning fire anyone?).
So let's do a quick break down here. Assuming that you are one of those folks who needs to be able to see your house from the moon around this time of year (I kid, some of them are actually quite nice) and you use 20 - 100 bulb strings, let's look at some numbers.
- Cost per string - Relatively the same if you shop around, less if you buy online.
- The incandescents use 850 watts of power while the L.E.D.s use 60 watts of power.
- If burning all bulbs for 6 hours a day the old ones will use 5.1 kWh/day and the L.E.D.s will use .36 kWh a day.
- If you put your strings up right after turkey day and run them every night, that's 153 kWh a month for the old school bulbs and 10.8 kWh a month for the L.E.D.s.
- Finally, using a base of .15 cents/kWh your same ole same ole bulbs are going to cost you $22 in electricity while the cool new ones are going to run you $1.62
Thanks to Pablo for his writeup.