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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 31 - 1/31/08

I had hoped to do an end of month one recap tonight but I'm afraid after last night it's going to have to wait.

Today's Haul:

  • 1 plastic needle protector - garbage
  • 1 pair blue medical gloves - repurpose for worm bin stirring
  • 2 tongue depressers - worms (I can soak em down and they'll brak them down over time)
  • several pieces of gauze and tissues - disposed of for health reasons
  • 2 pieces of paper (I need the rest) - worms
  • 1 rubber toilet flapper with chain (from yesterday) - worms (ahhh kidding - garbage)
  • 1 plastic hospital bracelet - garbage
  • 1 business card - worms
  • 4 pieces of scrap paper - worms
  • 2 used q-tips - disposed of for health reasons
  • 1 paper baking sugar bag - recycle
  • 1 plastic juice bottle HDPE 1 - recycle
  • 1 cardboard tea bag box - worms
  • 1 plastic tofu tray pp 5 - recycle
  • top and bottom of frozen apple juice container - recycle
  • 1 plasticoated cardboard side of frozen apple juice container - garbage

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I sure hope this isn't how the rest of the year is shaping up

As I mentioned I had the flu earlier in the week, but as of last night I was feeling much better. Around 10 o'clock I blew my nose and felt something odd in my right ear. It wasn't pain, but just weird and just barely enough of a feeling to make me aware of it. I didn't really think about it until about 11:30 when I woke up with the most intense pain I've had in a while in my right ear. I tried pretty much everything I could think of to make it stop(which wasn't really much) but it was gaining momentum so at about 12, headed over to the emergency room where I spent the rest of the night.

I'll spare you the details but apparently I had a major ear infection and something was causing pressure to build on my ear drum. They gave me some drops and a shot and about 20 minutes later I felt this quick release and everything was back to normal except for having fluid in my ear. They sent me home and this morning I went to the clinic to learn that my eardrum burst (not as bad as it sounds cuz that's what actually released the pressure and it'll heal itself) and now i have gauze in my ear. Crazy.

Why am I writing this? Well first off because it's totally nuts and i'm dead tired. But secondly, I think my sanity may have plateaued because as I was leaving the house in extreme pain, I actually grabbed a canvas bag to bring with me, which I then thrust towards the nurse at the hospital and (I'm sure somewhat unintelligibly) moaned "Can you please put any non biohazardous waste associated with my visit in here so I can keep it?"

Now moments of the evening come and go in my mind but I clearly remember saying that through gritted teeth, and even more clearly remember the odd silence afterwards and her look that met the question. I feel safe in the knowledge that this is probably the first time she's heard that one.

Hospitals are interesting because they create an incredible amount of waste, much of it necessary I'm sure but much of it unecessary as well. For instance, those little paper covers on the table you sit on. I was fully clothed, pretty much only leaned on it, and yet, when I left they threw it out (that Nurse did not want to play my game that early in the morning so i decided it was best not to explain). Now I don't fault them because they have much more important things to stress out on, but conceptually it bothers me because I am sure this is done just as much for legal purposes as it is for health reasons, at least in my case for sure. Again, i'm not trying to add to any ER workers job, just musing about how we all do things. For the record, everyone there was fantastic and I thank them (you) all for taking care of me.

The sharps box kind of fascinated me as well. I'd have to guess that this stuff gets incinerated. Does anyone know? I don't know what else could be done with them but how sad that all of that plastic ends up being burned.

As far as meds, they prescribed some ear drops, which I picked up on the way home, and then today I was told at the clinic that they were the wrong ones and prescribed others. Wasted time, wasted sleep, wasted money and I have the original unopened in the box with nothing to do with it. No one to blame there, it just shows how things slip by.

Anyway, I was awarded a few waste items that i'll list, but I'm really psyched that the doc gave me his blue rubber gloves cuz i can use them for the worms!

End of the story - I'M NOT USUALLY THIS SICK!!!! Really. Hopefully this is the end and I can move on (in a week or so anyway).

Dave

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 30 - 1/30/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 plastic apple juice bottle PETE 1 - recycle
  • 1 glass jar of marinara sauce w/top - recycle (probably repurpose)
  • 1 flu medicine vial - garbage

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Day 29 - 1/29/08

Today's Haul:

  • 2 tea bags w/wrappers - worms
  • 1 vial of flu medicine - garbage
  • 1 vial holder from flu medicine - garbage

Boy that sounds wrong, but soup from fresh veggies and toast was all I had. Seemed like more but then again, it probably was less.

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Day 28 - 1/28/08

Today's Haul:

  • 3 teabags w/wrappers - worms
  • 1 used q-tip - worms (weird the things you think of when you are sick)
  • 1 oscillococcciunum box and pamphlet - worms
  • 2 plastic vials from box (I'm not typing that again) - garbage (but I'll ask about recycling)
  • 1 vial holder from above crazy named box - garbage

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Thoughts on week 4

You may notice that this posting is coming a few days after the pictures that i posted for week 4 on Sunday night. That's because from the time that I hit the "Publish Post" button it took about 20 minutes for me to be on the floor shaking so violently I couldn't stand, completely overtaken by the flu. I kid you not, 20 minutes. The most sick by far I have been in years and I didn't stop shivering for about 3 hours. I've been completely down for the last 3 days and am finally well enough (but not yet well) to sit and type at the computer. So without further ado, here's some thoughts on the week (as I try to pull them back from the haze).

It was a pretty good if not hectic week. I was able to get fish in my plastic tupperware (although I think the guy behind the counter needs to get used to the idea a bit more), bread from the bakery in my re-used bags - with no problem, and my wife picked up eggs in our re-used egg carton from the farmers market on Sunday. I know that's not a huge deal, or at least doesn't sound like it, but it does mean that I'm actively chipping away at the problem and that makes me happy. And if you ever decide to do something wacky like keeping your trash in your basement, you'll soon realize that every little bit helps.

Still no real smell coming from the basement which makes all of us happy, and the girls are still diggin' (pun intended) the worms quite a bit. My wife is getting a great deal of pleasure from saying things like "So did you hear that Dave's keeping all of his trash in the basement this year" to some of the nbeighbors and watching their reactions. It's quite funny.

As far as amount, I'm sort of shocked by how little there is, but at the same time a bit concerned by how much space it's taking up. I've sort of done a visual *12 times* multiplication in my head, and I fear a lot of the tools and paint are going to need to find new homes. Ahh well, such is life.

I also just found out that in about two weeks I will be accompanying some local school kids to the Puente Hills Landfill, the largest landfill in the country, that's right here in our very own backyard in Southern California. Should be interesting and I promise to take lots of pictures, but leave no trash. It's kind of funny because they are all very excited about the visit and what I've been up to. I guess when you're in the sanitation biz you don't get nearly as many interested fans as one might think. Anyway, they sound really cool and knowledgeable so I'm psyched to riddle them with questions.

Finally, mea cupla again for taking so long on the worms info. I was crazed enough before the flu and that just set me back even more so as soon as I get my head above water on everything (bills, kids, life, blogs, chores, etc) I'll get on it.

On to listing the last 3 days - although due to the flu, they're a bit sparse.

Dave


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 4 Pictures

Almost one month in and on one hand it's more than what i thought it would be and on another it's less.

The bottles are a bit more than i thought they'd be as a bunch are because of the kids, or at least i would have drunk water if they weren't there.

I now have a paper bag, cardboard boxes bag, and plastic bag bag.


The other recyclable stuff which is still fitting in the plastic tub I started with.


I've started putting aside good use recyclables that will most likely be re purposed. That way I don't have to go digging for anything.


This is the most surprising to me. The garbage pile, minus the wallpaper which is still in the blue bin I put it in, is surprisingly low. While recycling isn't a fantastic way to go, it's a heck of a lot better than throwing stuff out. I'm fairly happy that without realizing I've cut down a fair amount over the years just out of my own desire.

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Day 27 - 1/27/08

Today's Haul:

  • 2 tuna cans - recycle
  • 2 small plastic condiment holders PS 6 - recycle
  • 1 small plastic yogurt container PP 5 - recycle
  • 1 napkin - worms
  • 1 receipt - worms

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Blogger Picture Format Help

If any kind soul out there with a good deal of blogger/programming background wants to answer a few questions for me about posting, I'd love to bend your ear. As you can see from that last post, I'm pretty stumped at the whole formatting thing and would love it to look a little better.

Thanks

dave

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Traveling and trash

One of the things that has smacked me in the face quite a bit over the last few weeks was how tough it is to travel with a light impact. Forget the problem of carbon footprints from an airplane for a moment, the simple act of entering an airport means you either need to think ahead, go without, or simply accept that you're going to create a fair amount of waste. Here are a few things that I learned from my little jaunt last week.

    I always carry a water bottle and coffee mug with me in the side pockets of my bag. It's interesting to see when and if they are inspected upon going through the security area, but once on the other side, the can save you a fair amount of waste....most of the time. The water bottle is obvious, drink it down before you hit security, and fill it back up from a water fountain (yes, water fountain water in almost every state is fine to drink contrary to popular belief) on the other side. Same goes for the coffee cup but with the following potential for conflict. I have run into several starbucks in several airports over the years who say that "for security reasons" they cannot fill my mug, but will be glad to fill a cup, I can pour that cup into my mug, and they will dispose of the cup for me. I've asked many times what the security breach involved with them handling my mug is and apparently this is on a need to know basis. That said, in almost every one of those cases, including last weeks, I have found an independent company in the same terminal that has not had a problem with it. Perhaps they are terrorists in disguise waiting for the moment to fling coffee mugs at unsuspecting passersby.


    In the airport, you're pretty much stumped on food unless it's a $5 piece of mealy fruit. Everything else is going to be either packaged or come with plastic eating utensils. Mmmm, doesn't plastic make everything better?




    On the plane you really only have one choice and that's to think ahead. Anything you are going to get to eat is going to be so shockingly packaged that you really have no option but to waste. That said, i have found most flight attendants to be fairly eager to fill my mug or water bottle, but of course the water is coming from a plastic bottle to begin with, so I always try to fly with mine full.



As far as hotel staying, it seems like the big trip up I found was soap and shampoo. I totally forgot to think about these and had to use the little tiny bottles that they had there (coming to a basement near you soon). That said, I used the shampoo for washing myself as well as my hair, so at least I cut down on the soap packaging. Had we been in a metropolitan area I guess I probably would have bought large sizes of each and then brought them home to use normally which would have cut down somewhat. Another thing I've gotten used to is specifically asking them not to give me a straw with drinks. It seems that these come even with water these days and I've forgotten several times but am getting better.

Anyone have any other good travel/waste eradication suggestions?

Dave

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Day 26 - 1/26/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 glass grape juice container w/top - recycle 
  • 1 cardboard pizza box - recycle
  • 1 "plastic table" from pizza box (the thing that keeps the top from caving in) - washed and repurposed for my daughters dolls


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Day 25 - 1/25/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 cardboard bread ingredients box - worms
  • 2 plastic wrappers (can't recall what they are from) - recycle
  • 1 plastic bag/ripped (ditto above) - recycle
  • 7 paper napkins - worms
  • 1 piece scratch paper - worms
  • 1 piece used dental floss (boy I hope my dentist is reading this) - garbage
  • 1 paper pizza tray cover - worms
  • 1 plastic straw - recycle
  • 1 plastic pretzel bag - recycle
  • 1 plastic PETE 1 strawberry holder - recycle
  • 1 plastic veggie hot dog package w sticker - garbage
  • 1 plastic tub earth balance "buttery" (that word scares me) spread - repurposed for snacks
  • 1 "local area specials advertisement" newspaper (hate these and don't know how to stop them) - recycle
  • 1 annoyingly small plastic bag that the ad came in - eventually repurposed but not sure for what
  • 1 cardboard bakery box with paper liner- worms
  • 1 cardboard cereal box - recycle
  • 1 wax cereal bag - garbage (for now)

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Day 24 - 1/24/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 local newspaper - worms/recycle
  • 7 ozs paper from mail etc. - worms
  • 1 odd shaped paper envelope with plastic sticker on it - garbage (this always bums me out because the size is such i will never re-use this for mail and the sticker makes it so I can't recycle or worm feed it) - garbage
  • 2 cardboard mailer inserts - recycle
  • 1 glass beer bottle w/top - recycle
  • 1 office depot polyethylene mailer - garbage (for now possibly recycle)
  • 1 plasticy sticker holder - garbage
  • 1 cardboard cracker box - recycle
  • 1 wax cracker bag - garbage (but possibly recycle)
  • 1 cardboard egg crate - repurposed for next purchase of eggs
  • 1 cardboard frozen fish box - recycle
  • 3 napkins/tissues - worms
  • 1 piece used dental floss - garbage


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Day 23 - 1/23/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 fritos bag - garbage
  • 1 plastic salad bag - recycle (how nuts is it to buy salad in plastic bags?)
  • 2 plastic ring tops (1 from glass milk and one from olive oil container) - recycle
  • 1 plastic bag from cheese slices - recycle
  • 9 paper cheese slice dividers - worms
  • 1 plastic straw - recycle
  • 1 plastic trader joes container PETE 1 - recycle (not sure what was in this, but it was in the pile)
  • 1 cardboard margarine stick box - garbage (it's plasti-coated)
  • 1 waxy margarine stick wrapper - thrown out due to inability to properly clean
  • 1 paper place mat - worms
  • 2 paper fish taco wrappers (they were really good by the way) - worms
  • 1 plastic carton of milk HDPE 2 - recycle
  • 1 used q-tip - worms
  • 4 napkins - worms
  • 2 plastic condiment holders PS 6 - recycle
  • 1 plastic yogurt container PP 5 - recycle
  • 1 cardboard cereal box - recycle
  • 1 wax cereal box bag - garbage (for now, need to check if this can be recycled)


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Day 22 - 1/22/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 plastic apple juice container HDPE 1 - recycle
  • 1 cardboard cake mix box (mmmmm...cake) - recycle
  • 1 tea bag - worms
  • 1 paper tea bag bag - worms
  • 1 glass beer bottle w/top - recycle
  • 1 glass vinegar bottle w/plastic top - recycle
  • 1 cardboard toilet paper tube - worms (for the record, I finished this a week and a half before, but it was sitting on the bathroom shelf....just saying that I'm still using tp)
  • 1 plastic tomato holder PET 1 - recycle
  • 1 glass jar of spaghetti sauce - recycle (but most likely repurpose)
  • 1 string of dental floss - garbage
  • 3 scrap pieces of paper - worms
  • 1 plastic bread bag (possibly the last) - recycle (the bread had gone bad and cleaning it for edible purposes would prove tough)

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Can't Catch a break!!!!

Yikes, insane week and i'm behind again. Apologies. I have a ton of stuff that needs cataloging and picturing and by Sunday i should be up to speed and back at it full time. While most people would say simply tracking their trash is rough, I gotta tell you, it's much better than having it pile up and having to remember what was what and from what day.

dave

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NYC Misses the mark on plastic bags

NYC just passed a plastic bag recycling law that will require stores to have highly visible plastic bag recycling bins in their stores and print a recycling message on the bags themselves.

While I applaud the city for recognizing the problems, I gotta say this is a pretty disappointing response to the problem. By simply asking companies to encourage recycling, they are really accomplishing next to nothing because the people who don't will continue not to and the people who already do will continue to do so. In addition, those few who do start to recycle, will feel as if they have "done their part" when the real way to help is to fore go the bag to begin with. A few years ago, Ireland, finding themselves drowning in bags, imposed a plastic bag tax that eradicated 95% of the bags that were used, and China just outlawed thin bags altogether. Why is it that we in this country find it so hard to ask folks to step up to the plate in a way that will mean something?

Sorry to sound negative about this as I do applaud them for attempting to fix the problem, but if this is the best they can come up with, I fear that it is too little too late. The city of Los Angeles is attempting to deal with the same issue (LA'ers use 5 billion bags a year). Hopefully they'll come up with something a bit more productive.

Dave


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Monday, January 21, 2008

My laptop monitor


While I was away last week, I dropped my trusty Ibook off to the mac store as the monitor had been having some problems. I put a letter in with it explaining what i was up to re;garbage, and asked if they would send me that parts they were going to have to discard. The good news is my mac is back and I have a new monitor (gotta love Applecare) but unfortunately I cam up snake eyes on the parts part.

As anyone who read last months National Geographic article on e-waste knows, we've got a huge problem with all these high tech gizmos that we use that as we speak are already obsolescent simply by the fat that we have already bought them and they are working on the next version that we will all "need". "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 30 to 40 million PCs will be ready for "end-of-life management" in each of the next few years." It's shocking and the article is worth the read.

So i was talking this over with my Dad the other day and he brought up the point that supposedly by 2009, all tv signals will go HD requiring everyone who has a "normal" television to either learn to read (heaven forbid) or pony up some bucks and buy a new HD set. Seeing as there will be no use for the old sets int his country, I can only assume that most will end up in third world countries where kids will melt them down in order to get money for the metals they contain. And what is this all going to be for? So that we can see the acne on teeny bopper actors faces more clearly? I don't mean to rant, but doesn't this strike everyone as a bit nuts? I mean I can see having HD and those who want it getting it, but requiring everyone? Don't we own the airwaves? And wasn't the big thing about cable that we were paying for it so there would be no commercials?

....wait a minute, I was on waste...oh yeah, sorry about that.

Anyway, I was thinking about this and it seems to me that if these companies are going to make these things with planned obsolescence in mind, shouldn't they have to deal with them down the road as well? I mean I was always told "you make your bed you lay in it" right? So here's my thought. Why not add on a $50 charge to each set sold and it can be redeemed at any store that sells that brand when you turn it in. Then it would be up to the companies to deal with these things in a responsible manner. I know I'm naive and there are huge holes in the theory, but if they are going to make them, shouldn't they have to see them through to a proper end?

On a lighter note, my friend Matt who has never owned a TV is all incensed because now he's going to be forced to NOT buy an HD TV which seems like a lot more work than not buying a normal one.

My two cents.

Dave


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Day 21 - 1/21/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 large potato chips bag - garbage
  • 1 small chips bag - garbage
  • 2 glass juice bottles - recycling
  • 1 foam cup PS 6 - recycling
  • 1 large plastic juice bottle - recycling
  • 2 airline peanut bags - garbage
  • 3 receipts - worms
  • 3 paper plates - worms

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Week 3 Pictures


Things are getting a bit tight. I think next week I'm going to need to start re-arranging things a bit. No smell though.


I've started a bottle section. I don't expect this to rise too much though as I drink water mostly and I haul that with in a re-usable container. Ironically a fair amount is from my daughters and generally due to my lack of prepping a trip out.


The recycle bin whihc is getting more specific as you'll see below.


I've started a bag o plastic bags and wrappers and a bag of paper goods for ease of separation.


I've been very happy to see that the actual "garbage" remains low.

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Day 20 - 1/20/08

Today's Haul:

  • 53 ozs of misc mail (ah vacation mail and then some) - worms and some recycling
  • 1 cardboard box dishwashing detergent - recycling
  • 2 glass juice bottles - recycling
  • 1 plastic bear honey bottle - recycling
  • 1 plastic chocolate syrup bottle HDPE 2 - recycling
  • 1 plastic cleaning solution bottle HDPE 2- recycling
  • 1 plastic strawberry holder - need to find out if this can be recycled
  • 3 plastic try me cups from farmers market (ahh the kids) - recycling
  • 1 pizza tray liner - worms (and quickly might I add)
  • 2 napkins - worms
  • 1 plastic drinking straw - recycling (need to check though)
  • 2 receipts - worms
  • 2 tin gum wrappers with chewed gum - garbage
  • 2 paper gume wrappers - worms
  • 1 set of cut fingernails - out in the garden
  • 1 padded mailing envelope - will re-use eventually (I have one that's going on two years between my friend Matt and i for birthdays - although the presents are getting progressively smaller)

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Days 13-19 - 1/13-1/19 2008

The Haul:

  • 1 glass beer bottle - recycle
  • 1 glass wine bottle - recycle
  • 1 glass champagne bottle - recycle
  • 1 plastic container with lid PP 5 - recycle
  • 6 500 ml water bottles - recycle
  • 2 1.5 l water bottles - recycle
  • 4 plastic drinking straws - need to see if these are recycle
  • 2 bottle corks - not sure with now but garbage I guess
  • 2 metalic bags of chips - garbage but they save PP 5 recycle so I have to check
  • 4 metalic bags of crackers - garbage
  • 4 metalic bags of non-dairy creamer - garbage
  • 4 baggage tags - garbage
  • 4 baggage receipt tags - garbage
  • 1 plasticoated ticket envelope - garbage
  • 2 cardboard backs from batteries - worms
  • 2 plastic fronts from batteries - recycling
  • 4 plastic wrappers w/stickers - garbage
  • 7 napkin/tissues - worms
  • 12 paper sugar packets - worms
  • 2 e-tickets w/stickers - garbage
  • 3 tinfoil chewing gum wrappers with chewed gum - garbage
  • 3 paper wrappers from gum - worms
  • 8 pieces scrap paper/receipts - worms
  • 1 foil wrapper from champagne bottle - garbage
  • 1 plastic butter packet with tin foil top - garbage
  • 4 band aid wrappers, plastic tabs and bandaids - garbage

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Week 3 Explained

I hope I'll be forgiven for this, but I told a bit of a well intentioned lie last week. I mentioned that I wasn't going to be blogging due to a professional engagement when the reality was that my wife and I were out of town for 6 days on our first ever vacation away from our kids. I didn't want to just disappear for a week but at the same time, this blog has generated a lot of contact and an extremely small percentage was a bit odd (I truly believe you could blog about cat fur and someone would get angry). With that in mind, I didn't really want to let people know that we wouldn't be home, so I figured that posting that I was busy was the next best thing.

So why am I telling you this? For starters because while I did save everything, I can't swear as to what day it all came from but can promise that I accounted for everything along the way and brought it back from our trip. We were in Mexico and I can pretty much assure you by the look on the TSA lady's face that it was the first time they've seen luggage full of garbage go through the x- ray machine (Que es esto? Es basura. Basura? Si, mi basura).

The second reason is that the place we went, which I will actually be writing up on my other blog and will link to, was an awesome eco-resort that was solar powered, open air, pig composting, and generally incredible. So while I can't account for the waste that went into my meals (it was all inclusive) I can tell you that almost everything was local and fresh and therefore not packaged (I checked). The main thing I ran into was travel stuff (baggage tags, tickets, etc) and bottled water. They had filtered with meals, but otherwise it was bottled. Oh, and as you'll see, I indulged and ate a bunch of chips even though the packaging bit (come on, it was vacation).

Anyhoo, just wanted to explain. Now off to the list.

dave

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Week 2 Pictures


The stuff in the basement. I had to find something earlier in the week and things are all over so at some point I'll need to clean up a bit down there. Smells fine by the way and no bugs (well other than the worms).


The recycling bin is getting filled and i'm thinking of pulling all paper out and putting it somewhere else as I've been rifling through to get to stuff for the worms. Didn't think that one through I guess (yeah like that's the only thing i didn't think through right?).


Here's the wallpaper stuff in an old recycling basket ironically enough.


Garbage box.


I separated out the e-waste as well.

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Day 12 - 1/12/08

Todays Haul:

  • 1 cardboard food box - recycle
  • 1 plastic hummus container w/top PETE 1 - recycle
  • 2 pieces from plastic food container PS 6 - recycle
  • 1 plastic strawberry container PETE 1 - recycle
  • 1 plastic shrink wrap - recycle
  • 1 plastic ring from milk top - recycle
  • 4 paper napkins/tissues - worms
  • 1 tea bag - worms
  • 1 plastic tea bag cover - recycle
  • 4 pieces DVD shrink wrapping - garbage
  • 1 metallic vitamin c drink package - garbage
  • 4 misc pieces of scrap paper - worms


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Day 11 1/11/08

Todays Haul:

  • 3 aluminum cans - recycling pile
  • 1 plastic jar with plastic top PETE 1 - probably repurpose but otherwise recycle
  • 1 (2) liter plastic soda bottle - recycle
  • 1 plastic bag from frozen fish - recycle
  • 1 plastic food container PETE 1 - recycle
  • 1 glass salad dressing bottle - recycle
  • 2 small plastic bags (torn) - recycle
  • 1 glass wine bottle - recycle
  • 1 plastic yogurt tub PP 5 - recycle
  • 1 cardboard box - worms
  • 1 plastic trader joes shrink wrap cover - recycle
  • 1 trader joes compostable cardboard container - worms
  • 6 pieces of scrap paper and 4 receipts - worms
  • 3 napkins - worms
  • 1 kitchen sponge (long story) - garbage

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Catching up

Getting everything listed and posting pics may be a day or so so I'll be back at it as soon as I can.

Thanks

Dave

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

A bit of silence I'm afraid

Due to a previously scheduled professional commitment, I don't think that I will have much (if any) time to post at all in the coming week. However, I will be keeping my usual log of trash and if I can I will post as the week progresses, but if not, will have a fair amount of typing( and picture snapping) to do to catch me up next weekend.

Thanks for your understanding and I'll try to be in touch this week if I can.

Dave

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LA Area Sustainable Living Workshop

A great opportunity to learn sustainable living practices if you live in or near Santa Monica, Ca.

Dave



The first 2 Sustainable Works Green Living Workshops of 2008 start next week-

Wednesday nights 7-8:30pm
starting January 16th
Santa Monica Public Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Thursday nights 7-8:30pm
starting January 17th
REI
402 Santa Monica Blvd.

Classes are filling fast this week- so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like for us to hold a spot for you in one of the 2 workshop nights.


Please feel free to invite any friends or family,
it is always more fun to take the workshop with a "classmate".

Hope to see you at a Green Living Workshop soon,
Barent

**********************
Barent Roth
Sustainable Works
Residential Program Coordinator
www.sustainableworks.org
310 458 8716 x1
1744 Pearl St.
Santa Monica, CA
90405
**********************

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Los Angeles Vegan Feast

Make your reservations now for an exclusive four-course gourmet vegan experience at 2nd Street Jazz in Downtown Los Angeles. Guest Chef Tal Ronnen will bring contemporary vegan cuisine to 2nd Street Jazz on the third Sunday of every month featuring a pre-fix menu that includes optional wine pairings with each course and the best local live Jazz.


Menu for Sunday the 20th

Crispy “Carne” Ravioli with Habanero Mango Hollandaise and Pineapple Salsa

Quinoa, Avocado and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing

Blackened Portobello Fillets, Smoked Black Beans and Slow Cooked Collard Greens

Sweet Corn Cakes

Please make your reservations at http://cart.2ndstjazz.com/

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Naples is drowning in trash

Check out this story from NPR I heard on the radio today. Naples has had no garbage collection since the end of December, less than one month, and they are in serious trouble. While there seem to be politics behind the reasons for why the garbage isn't being picked up, just imagine what would happen in your town if the trucks stopped coming. Seems to me that if there was less packaging, less waste, and more worms, they'd be a lot better off than they are right now.

Dave

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Foxy Frocks Dresses!

A little shameless plug here but for a really great homegrown enterprise that fits in nicely with the general concept of re-purposing, and then does it one better.

My friend Shannon, her sister, and her Mom started a dressmaking business a while back called Foxy Frocks. They hand make (themselves mind you) awesome little one of a kind dresses for little girls. And if that isn't cool enough, they make them out of remnant cloth from the garment district in downtown LA, so they are essentially using stuff that would be discarded anyway. Very cool (and great dresses to boot).

If you check out the site, you may notice that the dresses are slightly more expensive than you can get at a place like the GAP, but I think what you need to ask yourself is are these too expensive, or are those prices too low. I think you'll find the latter as these dresses are worth it and then some, and the fact that they are one of a kind, only adds to their value.

Here's what Shannon has to say about them:

"We see dressmaking as an art form, something that should be done with care and not in a sweatshop! We use a minimal amount of materials in crafting each dress and we buy our fabric in the Garment District here in Los Angeles, the same city where we make our dresses. Whenever possible, we try to purchase the bolt end pieces of fabric...aka the "scraps" - tiny pieces that usually end up in the trash! We make something beautiful from leftovers, what better way to care for the planet! We also use recyclable packing - feel free to request less packaging and we'll be happy to ship your frock in a recycled bubble wrap packet. Every frock is a handmade, one-of-a-kind little treasure. We try to keep our prices low so that our frocks can be available to everyone. Our goal is not to become rich, it's to celebrate the art of dressmaking, and to inspire others to create their own individual works of art."

Foxy Frocks - check it out.

Dave


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 10 - My daughters

You have to love kids. 


Yesterday my older daughter came home from school and ran in to show me a beat up graham cracker box and the waxy sleeve from the inside, holding it aloft like it was an Olympic Gold Medal.

"What's that" I asked her concerned that maybe garbage holding was in her genes.

"I asked my teacher for this before she threw it out since I know you are recycling everything and not throwing it away" she replied, glowing that she had become a helper in my wacky endeavor.  

I didn't have the heart to explain to her that I was only accounting for my waste and not her classes, so I hugged her and we put it in the box for that days haul. It was really cute.

Today, as I picked up my younger daughter, she sat down and opened her lunch box to see what she had missed, a ritual she highly enjoys each day, as do I since sometimes I get good scraps. Turns out today she was on a mission - she pulled out a little tupperware that she had lovingly filled with her odds and ends and sandwich crusts.

"Look" she squealed with delight "for the worms".

We came home and went down to the basement to feed and "play with" the worms, a scene that I highly doubt played out in any other household on our block.

We're a wacky bunch over here, but ya gotta love it right?

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Day 10 1/10/08

Todays Haul:

  • 10 misc pieces of paper/receipts - worms
  • 1 plastic OJ bottle HDPE #2 w/cap - recycle pile
  • 1 plastic milk jug HDPE #2 w/cap - recycle pile
  • 2 band-aid wrappers and 4 little plastic tabs from band-aid - garbage pile
  • 1 ball of blue paper tape from painting - garbage
  • 2 plastic wrappers from freeze dried fish - (possibly) recycling pile
  • 1 glass salad dressing bottle w/cap - recycling pile
  • 1 cardboard food box - recycling
  • 1 waxy box liner - garbage
  • 3 incandescent chandelier bulbs - E recycle pile (oooh a new pile)
  • 1 small sticker off an apple (do we really need these?) - garbage

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Cut Down On Your Bulb Waste and Go CFL

Most people think of CFLs as energy savers, which they are, but they also cut down on waste due to needing to replace them less often. I wrote up a piece on Achieving Sustainability that I thought some might find worthwhile.

Dave

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Composter info update

Just wanted to apologize that i haven't gotten any info up on the composter yet. I was in the process of writing something up and then decided that I wanted to add some video along with it to make it even better, so please bear with me as that is all forthecoming.

dave

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What Are They Waiting For?

I know this doesn't tie directly into the waste issue, but I think it's all interconnected and I assume that anyone interested in this issue is also interested in telling our nations journalists that they MUST ask politicians the tough questions about Global Warming. If I'm wrong than please check it out anyway. This is simply too big of an issue to ignore.

http://chasingsustainability.blogspot.com/2008/01/demand-that-our-journalists-address.html

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Coffee Problem Solved

If you're like me, you can't really do too much without a good cup of Joe in the AM. We make our own coffee here at home and I always use a re-useable travel mug, but what has been bugging me since the beginning of this project (and why you haven't seen so many coffee ground listings in "the haul") are those crazy plasticoated bags they come in that are not recyclable and have limited re-use potential.

So this morning, I headed over to Whole Foods and had a really interesting talk with Richard, the guy who's in charge of the coffee area there (and incidentally it's his first day at that, after being promoted so way to go Richard). I explained to him what I was up to and told him I wanted to figure out a way to be able to come to Whole Foods and buy coffee without wasting a bag each time. I asked him if I could just bring in my own container to fill, but he mentioned that when they weigh it up front, the weight of the bag is already calculated in. While I might not mind paying the extra charge for this I'd have to probably explain everything again each time I bought coffee and don't really want to go that route time and again.

So what we ended on was this. Next time I head there I am going to buy my coffee in one of those sturdy little coffee bags that I hate so much, filling it up from the bulk coffee bins (they have fair trade shade grown so it's pretty good stuff). I'll bring that home, pour it into our coffee bean mason jar, and fold up the bag until next time I need a fill-up. Ironically, the thing that makes these bags such a nuisance, the way they are sturdily built and therefore not recyclable, is going to be an asset because I really don't see why I can't get through the year (and then some) on one bag.

At home we have a little grinder and french press manual coffee maker, so that's all relatively waste free, and the grounds can go in the worm composter, the garden, the lawn, or a number of other places. If anyone has any other thoughts, I'm game.

I'm psyched (and amped on coffee).

Dave




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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 9 - Workman at the house

Today was a kind of cool day as I had a friend of a friend come over to see if he could fix our front door, which is way heavy and has been sagging over time. His name is Fred and he turned out to be a real craftsmen so it was fun seeing what he was doing. Having said that, I was a bit fearful  about all of the trash that might be created during the course of the project. So I took a deep breath and explained what I was up to.

I say I took a deep breath not because I was nervous about telling him what I was doing, but because when you've got a guy helping you out on an hourly rate who you really don't know, the last thing you want to do is strike up a conversation. The cool thing is that Fred kind of dug what I was doing (much to my surprise) and really went out of his way to create as little waste as possible and to save everything. As a result, other than a few bent nails (whoops, need to go back and list those, they are in my pocket and I forgot), and a small bit of packaging, there really wasn't much left over for me. He had a few scraps of wood and the wood that he had to pull off the jam (which was in great shape) and asked me if he could take it all because he always needs odds and ends in his shop. I told him as long as he used it and didn't dispose of it, that was cool, so it was all re-purposed.


Now mind you, this was a teeny job, but still, it was kind of cool to see him come on board and help out with everything.

Dave



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Day 9 1/9/08

Todays Haul:

  • 1 plastic pasta bag - recycling although I will be checking on this for sure
  • 1 catalog addressed to someone who doesn't live here - recycling (too much for the worms)
  • 4 pieces of paper and two receipts - worms
  • 4 toothpicks - worms
  • 1 plastic bag from new door flap - recycling
  • 1 paper insert from door flap instructions - worms
  • 1 hunk of coffee grounds - garden
  • 12 bent nails - garbage pile

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Artist Recognizes The Greater Good

I got a press release sent to me about an artist named Jeffrey Scott Holland who was in the third year of an art installation and realized that what he was doing was causing major harm to the environment. I kind of like his story because it's a great case of someone doing something they are passionate about, but walking away from it for the greater good. So I emailed him and he was kind enough to write back with a quick synopsis of what he was up to and included some pics.

Good on ya and Huzzah!

Project Egg was originally an egg hunt in several U.S. states, with green plastic Easter eggs containing miniature paintings, prints, stickers, etc. and it was so popular that I did it nationwide the next year, with eggs hidden in almost all 50 states. For the 2008 version, my goal had been to hide Easter eggs all over the world, with at least some eggs in every continent, even Antarctica. Then I learned about the stretches of dead ocean filled with rotting plastic that's only biodegrading to the molecular level. When I then consider that most of the eggs don't actually get found, I realized they might be getting washed by storms into the storm drains that go straight to rivers that go straight to the ocean. When the implications sunk in on me, I wanted to vomit. Hopefully, by cancelling this series of public art installations, I'll be able to call attention to the environmental disaster that's going on right now. I'm amazed that this plastic-molecule phenomena has been going on for so long now and I've only just now learned of it.




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Old Hair Bugging You?

Why not collect it up and send it off to Matter of Trust so they can use it to make mats that help naturally clean up oil spills.

Yep, you read that right, your hair can clean up oil spills. Beth at Fake Plastic Fish left this in the comments section and i thought it was worth posting about. Now I know in the grand scheme of things, cut hair is not one of the larger problems out there. On the other hand, if this stuff is a free and abundant resource, and it can be used to do something as good as cleaning up toxic oil spills, why not jump on board? It seems like they are interested in hooking up more with salons than with single individuals which makes sense, and sign up is free, but for $10 they will send them some posters etc to announce what they are doing. Why not pass this info along to your local haircutter and let them know that this is an option? I know if I was cutting hair for a living this would be a no brainer.

Folically Yours

Dave


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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 8 -I've conquered the bread problem! (I think)

I may have mentioned that i make lunches for the girls and we go through a fair amount of bread as a result. Add to that that I can easily sit down and eat a loaf of rye bread by myself and you're talking a lot. So I've started going to the bakery each week which I find to be quite enjoyable and it occurred to me today that they give me a new bag with each loaf. So I leaned across the counter and very nicely inquired if it would be OK for me to bring these same bags back and have them put the next loaves into them. A few awkward moments of silence and some bizarre looks later, they said it'd be fine. So I'm over the bread problem as I can now use the same bags over and over. They are thin so we'll see how long that lasts, but I'm pretty psyched about it nonetheless. It's weird how much joy figuring out that little bit of the puzzle brought me, but it's one step closer to keeping the basement from overwhelming me.


Dave


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Day 8 1/8/08

Todays Haul:

  • 3 paper receipts - worms
  • 1 plasticoated paper wrapper - garbage pile
  • 1 aluminumy looking peel top from large yogurt container - gotta check on this for recycling
  • 1 tea bag and paper tea bag cover - worms (staple in the garbage)
  • 2 small pieces of thrice used note paper (originally junk mail) - worms
  • 1 cardboard egg container - worms
  • 1 detergent plastic tub with scooper HDPE 2 - recycling pile
  • 1 plastic bag from shredded cheese - recycling? need to check
  • 2 beer bottles with caps - recycling pile

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China Outlaws Thin Plastic Bags

Everyone says that China is the big problem. Well it seems like they've trumped us on this one. According to Reuters China has passed a law "banning production of ultra-thin bags and forbidding its supermarkets and shops from handing out free carriers from June 1."

"China uses too many of the bags and fails to dispose of them properly, wasting valuable oil and littering the country, China's cabinet, the State Council, said in a notice posted on the central government Web site (www.gov.cn).

"Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling," it said."

Why can't we follow suit on this? The Chinese people use 3 billion plastic bags a day and the country refines 37 million barrels of crude oil every year for the purpose.

Any of the candidates hearing this? This is the kind of leadership we need. And before anyone starts in on China isn't the greatest government, etc. etc, I'm with ya, but for the seeing the greater good, ya gotta give them credit in this one.

dave


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Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 7 A Few Answers

I have gotten several questions about things that people have emailed me so here are a few things I probably need to expound upon a bit.

I am not insane
I think that one's pretty self explanatory but i thought I'd put it out there. The ironic thing is that now that this is becoming "normal" for me, I'm beginning to realize even more so than before that what I was doing before was insane. By societal standards of what is expected of us all, I am a bit odd, but that said, if you take out the fact that we are used to doing so, the thought of taking your trash, putting it in a bin where some guy you don't know comes and picks it up and takes it to be dumped in some hole in the ground, is pretty insane if you think about it (not to mention that it's a horrid run on sentence).

Why My garbage Totals Don't Seem To Be Evidence of Much Food (yet)
Good one. For starters I eat atrociously and rarely have three meals a day as I forget a lot. That said, I tend to eat stuff that is not pre-made more than often so my guess is over time, we'll see ebbs and flows in this. For instance for dinner tonight the kids and I had bean burritos so at some point when we work our way through them, there will be packaging from the tortillas and cheese (the beans were bulk bought with a bag we re-use) that end up downstairs.

I Don't Have All or even Most of the Answers
My favorite emails that I've received have been from folks who think that I am doing this because I know what i am doing. While I probably spend more time on this than most people do (come on, you all blog about your garbage right?)I'm actually doing this because I don't know a lot about it - or at least as much as I''d like to. So for that reason, I will definitely have moments where I stumble and fall, but hopefully not down the stairs.

On a non-answer note, I had one of those "duh-huh" moments today as I was looking through the fridge trying to figure out what I had used last night for dinner. Now i have a sharpie near the fridge and anytime I take something from ANYTHING my initials go on top so it doesn't get tossed/recycled. I'm sort of shocked I didn't think of this before.

I spent some time in line at the grocery store today and am absolutely shocked at the waste that goes into all the packaging. I know this sounds weird but grab yourself a cup of Joe and head to your local "supermarket" and just spend ten minutes watching what people buy. It's a huge eye opener.

As far as all my mail that I had to recycle, for starters, that's over two weeks worth. Greendimes has severly diminished what I get, and the rest is split between things I need to get (statements etc) and solicitation from charities, which I understand but hate. So what Ive started doing is calling them up and asking for a supervisor. Then I kindly explain that I will no longer accept paper mailing from them and that furthermore, I will not donate to any cause that sens me paper mailing, but will be glad to have them contact me via email, which I give to them. They seem to be responsive so far, but we'll see what becomes of it.

Dave



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Day 7 1/7/08

Light day today albeit with one unexpected addition. Also, I got around to opening mail and paying bills so it spiked today on the paper front.

Today's Haul:
5.5 ozs of mailings that are coated in some form or another - garbage pile

14 ozs of recyclable paper from mail - worms

1 small piece of dental floss (ya know for my dentist) - garbage pile

1 paper towel - worms

Approx 2 lbs of plaster covered wallpaper - garbage pile.

This was the unexpected addition. We have some weird plaster issues in a few parts of the house and try as I might I can't find the problem. I've had several experts in and nothing. Anyway, my wife was cleaning out the hall closet and she pointed out a little bubble near the middle. I poked at it expecting it to crack and ended up pulling this huge piece of wallpaper off that was covered in plaster and covering up some damage in the wall. The funny thing is my first thought was "oh &*%&^, I'm going to need to keep that in the basement" and my second thought was the damage I had done. Such is life.

Dave

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Have something good that needs a new home? Freecycle it.

It's funny how often there are things we do on a regular basis that we just assume others know about. Well, Freecycle fits that bill quite nicely.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, freecycle is an organization that works via email that you join and then can give or get stuff as you need it. I came across it when we had an older queen size mattress to get rid of that was in good condition. Salvation Army et.al wouldn't take it and I heard about freecycle. I joined (it's free) posted it, and immediately got three emails. It was gone by that evening and what's more, it went to a lovely single mom who had been sharing her bed with her son due to a lack of funds. She was so excited about it and we felt great giving it away. Craigslist also has a free section, but I've had better luck with freecycle, I think it attracts a different crowd for some reason. I get the daily digests and more than once have found something that I want/need and gotten it for free.

Check it out.

Dave


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Pictures From Week 1

Here are pictures of what I'm keeping from week 1


Here's the basement in all it's glory. I fear as I move forward my tools and such will have to find new homes in the garage. The clayish red thing at the bottom of the center is the composter. More to come on that.


The recycle bin. This has a plastic cover so it's not going to attract bugs and such. I'll be interested to see how long I can add to this before it's packed.


The trash bin. Not much in here yet as thankfully, much has been recyclable.

This is the "not sure yet" box which has stuff that is dubious as to it's final destination.



And of course, the dreaded dog food bag.

As i move along and check on things if I find something that I believed was recyclable and is not, I will move it to the correct receptacle.

dave


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What Happens To All That Recycling Anyway

I'll eventually be checking out first hand what happens to our recycling here locally, but in the meantime, Beth over at Fake Plastic Fish posted the following shocking video made for a British news service.



It's only about 3 minutes long and well worth the watch. I think the guy who has the recycling plant makes a good point. Each nation should be responsible for dealing with their own waste/recycling, just the same as we as individuals should be responsible for our personal output.

It's ironic because Tesco, one of the company's whose bags they found in China, is one of the few, if not the only, superstores in the world to list carbon output on all their products.

Food for thought.

Dave

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Give Your old Cell Phone New Life

Cindy B sent in a link to ReCellular, a company here in the states that takes old cell phones, refurbishes them and gives a great deal of money to charity all at the same time. I can't vouch for these guys but their mission statement is dead on and they have won a heap of environmental awards from places like the EPA and the National Recycling Coalition. E-waste, specifically from cell phones which have a HUGE turnover rate, is a major problem. It looks like these folks are offering at least a partial solution. The real solution is don't get a new cell phone every year, but if you need to, at least this is a better alternative to chucking it. While I think of it, another thing to do if you have an old cell and car charger you don't need is to keep them in the glove box of your car. Even out of service cells are required to work for 911, so it's a good emergency tool to have in there.

Dave

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Catalog Choice Catalog Reducer

Enci sent in a great link to Catalog Choice a free service that helps reduce unwanted catalogs sponsored by the National Wildlife Foundation and Natural Resources Foundation. Thanks Enci.

Dave

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365daysoftrash.com and pics

If you are passing on this website, 365daysoftrash.com now points here. Just seemed a bit easier than adding all the blogspot stuff.


Also, a bit crazy tonight as I am dealing with a lot of emails. I should have pics up tomorrow. I know how much the KROQ fans are waiting so i'll try to have them up early.

dave


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Day 6 1/6/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 cardboard bakery cookie box - worms
  • 1 25 watt incandescent light bulb - garbage pile
  • 1 plastic food bag - recycle
  • 4 pieces cellophane wrapper - recycle
  • 1 plastic pasta bag - recycle
  • 1 used Q-tip - cutting up for the worms
  • 1 set shaved fingernails (let's not mention this to the wife shall we) - way out back to biodegrade
  • 4 pieces of paper (receipts etc.) - worms
In addition over the course of the weekend but I can't really put a time on them:
  • 1 pear core - worms
  • 1 tea bag w/tea bag wrapper - worms
  • 4 eggshells - worms

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Day 5 - 1/5/08

Today's Haul:

  • 1 package of instant oatmeal - garbage pile as the inside is metallic coated
  • 3 napkins from a dinner out (they kept on replacing them!) - worms
  • 1 mac and cheese cardboard box - recycle as it's got some coating that I don't think the worms will dig (heheh)
  • 1 mac and cheese cheese packet - garbage pile
  • 1 handful of edamame skins - worms
  • 1 incredibly annoying trader joe's plastic pear holder-HATE THESE (but they are compostble or so it says on the bottom) - recycle pile
  • 1 pair wooden chopsticks - cleaned and heading to the basement "will eventually find some use for this" box
  • 1 paper covering from chopsticks -worms

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Day 4 (A few days late)

We were out of town for two days with my parents who are visiting so this post and Day 5/6 posts are a little late. As I get into the groove on this little experiment, I think it's safe to say that Sunday nights I will be playing a bit of catch up. Having said that, the experience of heading out of town was an interesting one considering the parameters of what I am dealing with. We brought most of our own food as we were staying somewhere with a kitchen, but it was still interesting having to look ahead a few days at what my waste footprint would be.

So here was the haul for Day 4

  • 1 massive 50 lb bag of dog food which is made out of some plasticoated substance that fell from space eons ago. This goes into the headscratcher pile until i contact the company and find out more.
  • 2 plastic coated paper wrappers from the fishmonger which I tried to clean but didn't feel that i had done a good enough job, so these went into the trash. I was sort of bummed about that, but like I said, no public health hazards. I'm going to talk to the fish guys to see if I can bring a container from now on.
  • 1 cardboard food box - worms
  • 2 paper bags w/napkin - worms
  • 1 cellophane wrapper from condo soap - recycle but I have to check
  • 1 plastic sticker from wrapped soap - not sure about this one
  • 3 receipts - two saved for taxes one to the worms (in 7 years I'll feed the tax ones to the worms as well)
  • 1 waxy bakery style cookie handler - not sure what this is so it goes in the question pile for now
  • 1 plastic corn tortilla chips bag - recycle pile

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Week One Overview

As I look back on the first week (well it was almost a full week anyway) I'm really kind of shocked at all that has happened.

For starters this whole thing wasn't even more than an idea a week ago tonight and now here I am full on into it, and connected to so many new and interesting voices. It's really quite remarkable and fairly overwhelming all at the same time.

Here are a few things I have learned this week

  • I need to start flossing as I fear that my dentist will read this blog
  • It seems that what's old is new again and we never should have changed in the first place. I wrote about handkerchiefs but I also realized that by buying our bread at the bakery, I can supply my own bag and I support a local business. It's an extra trip, but it's fresher, creates less waste, and is less expensive. As an added bonus, I keep my money in my community.
  • By going to the local fishmonger (I don't actually know if that's what they are called but I like the idea) I can save on packaging, support a local business, and get fresher cheaper fish from someone who knows where it came from. It took a bit to explain why I didn't want the Styrofoam holders, but he seems to have gotten it.
  • I need to remember to bring my own soap and shampoo when I travel so as not to use the plastic covered stuff they offer.
  • I can take myself out of the milk carton cycle and save money at the same time. Whole Foods sells 32 oz of milk in a glass container for .40 more than in a plastic one. When I bring it in I get 1.25 back, so it actually saves me money as well as reduces my waste impact.
I think the biggest thing that I realized is that a great amount of the waste I create is tied into time. For instance, going to the baker, the fishmonger (there's that word again) and the farmers market takes more time (conceivably anyway, I actually don't think it does as there are less people so no line waiting) but allows me to limit my packaging waste. In addition, by planning a weeks worth of meals ahead of time, something I'd like to start doing, I should be able to limit my waste even moreso by making more things from scratch - which again will take more time.

Either way, a great first week and only 51 more to go.

Thanks for your support.

Dave




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KROQ Interview

Kevin and Bean of KROQ did a pretty funny interview with me on Friday AM. It sounds like they may check back in during the year as well. Here's a link.

You can also download it for free from the itunes store.

Dave

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Fake Plastic Fish

No, I'm not selling them. Beth at Fake Plastic Fish has just connected with me and you really should check out her blog. She has been saving and cataloging all of her plastic (which is really the biggest offender in my book) and blogs about what it is and where it needs to go. Fantastic resource and thanks for connecting Beth.

Dave

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Story of Stuff



If you haven't seen this it's a great 20 minute little piece on the larger problem of stuff and why it seems so impossible to break out of the buying cycle.

Dave

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Day 3 : Haircuts and cheating

I went to get my haircut today and my dad, who is visiting and seems to find this whole thing quite interesting if not a bit odd, looked at me with a little smile and said "What are you going to do with your hair?" which I honestly hadn't thought about. So I explained my "situation" to Billy my coiffure connoisseur (who gives great $10 haircuts by the way) and he was so into it that he actually spent about ten extra minutes making sure none of my hair hit the floor. I brought it home in a bag, and spread it out on the lawn to help with birdies nests or biodegrade, whichever comes first.

Over the past two days I have found myself wanting to "cheat" several times, especially when it comes to food...well, junk food really....ok candy bars, just stop brow beating me will ya!

Anyhoo, the funny thing is that as I eye something, I weigh the "costs" of eating it (do I really want that in the basement for a year) and then I think "well maybe just one thrown out won't be such a bad thing" and then I realize that I'm the guy watching me and I'd be cheating on myself. So I sulk away and wonder why my wife keeps looking at me that way.

I fear it may be a long year.

dave

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Day 3

Todays Haul.

  • 3 aluminum coffee cans with cool tops (from something shipped) - Repurposing at my kids school for storage
  • 1 cardboard box with newspaper cushioning - to the basement and eventually to the worms (they are a bit full at the moment)
  • 3 aluminum cans of beans - down to the recycle pile
  • 1 plastic bag of frozen peas LDPE 4 - down to the recycle pile
  • 1 compostable veggie tray - to the worms with it!
  • 1 saran wrap cover - recycle pile
  • 1 cardboard sleeve - worm bin eventually
  • 3 small pieces of paper and 1 paper sandwich wrapper - worm food
  • 1 cardboard food box - work bin
  • 1 cell phone lithium battery - down to the basement, but I'll have to look into what can REALLY eventaully be done with this
  • 3 paper receipts - worms
  • 1 small bag of human hair (that sounds cool doesn't it) - out on the lawn to biodegrade and help the birds with their nests (I think Biscuit shnorted some of it up as well)
  • 1 piece of gum that is drying in the wrapper - sure I could have swallowed it, but Ben Adamson told me in the second grade that it takes 7 years for that to digest, so to the trash pile it goes.

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365 Days of Trash Yahoo Group

So many people have been commenting and emailing me with great ideas and thoughts that I put together a yahoo group for the blog. Basically, you sign up and you can send an email on any pertinent topic to the group. Topics can include plastic, waste, packaging, sustainable living practices, really anything that you think is worthwhile in the fight to minimize waste. The great thing is you "post" simply by sending an email to the site. Then you can choose to receive emails as they come in, a daily digest, a weekly digest, or just check them out on the internet. It's a great way to communicate and while I want everyone to keep on checking in here and commenting with all the great ideas you have to offer, I figured this might be the way to increase the conversation.



Dave

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The Rules

I realized I should have a link to a rules post so here they are, ready to be added to as I go along.

1. If something is waste that I have generated, I’ve got to deal with it. If I buy something for myself, the packaging is mine to deal with. Hopefully this will entail figuring out what it is made of, what would happen to it if it were “thrown away” and what I will be doing with it.

2. Any waste that I generate that can be recycled, will also be saved. Recycling is better than “throwing away” but it still takes energy and creates waste so I think accounting for recycling will be an important factor.

3. Any waste, which for health reasons (dog poop, medical waste from doctors visits, etc.) cannot be saved, will at least be noted and examined regarding the impact of its creation and disposal.

4. Food preparation has been something that I have been struggling with as I have a wife and two daughters who are not undertaking this experiment. Since food will be prepared for the family at times, I’ll have to figure out how to account for this and will be as honest as I can be in my accounting as I go along. In order to make up for any possible discrepancy in this area, I have decided that when out with my daughters, I will be responsible for any waste they generate as well.

5. I know there will be gray areas that I haven’t thought of, and some of this will have to morph as I go along. That said, I think the golden rule is going to be “when in doubt, it’s my responsibility to deal with”.

6. My wife made some soup from a box (I hate these things) for some friends of ours and since there was extra, I had some. Thought about it afterwards and I don't think this will go to the basement as it wasn't made for me (it would have been used had I not been around) and it wasn't a meal I was eating, just something that was there so I had some.

7. Ok, as I progress, I've been trying to figure out what's "mine" and have been struggling with this, mostly as pertains to food. So I think the good rule of thumb is that if it's something for the family, and I ate part of it for my meal, I've got to own the waste from that food. Having said that, if my daughters eat cereal (ughhhh) and I don't, then the boxes, etc aren't my waste. Seems like that's a reasonable way to go.

8. A few people have mentioned that I'm putting too much paper in the worm bins so i thought I'd address that. When i say its' going into the worm bin, I don't mean immediately, I mean eventually as they need it. I figure if at the end of the year I'm left over with a pile of paper fro the worms, I'll keep feeding it to them and eventually it'll be composted. Same end, just a different time frame.

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KROQ Tomorrow

Kevin & Bean will be interviewing me on KROQ tomorrow morning at the painfully early time of 6:20 AM PST. For those of you on the left coast who aren't functioning well that early in the AM, I believe they carry it streaming live, but also replay later in the day so you can hear it after you've had your AM coffee.

Listen to it streaming and later in the day here.

Dave

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Plastic Plastic Everywhere

On January 15th, my friend Anna will begin her trek across the Pacific to study the massive plastic garbage patch that is floating out there. I'll be posting updates as I think this ties directly into what I'm dealing with, packaging. Even if we do the "right thing" and put stuff in the blue bin, it can fall out of the truck, go to the curb, get washed to the sea, and end up floating out there with thousands of it's cousins.


Sad stuff.

Dave


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Day Two: Quick Thought

I went to Toys R Us last night as my daughters birthday is upon us. If you want to talk about packaging, check this place out. The packaging has packaging and then when you are done, they put it all in a nice HUGE plastic bag. Shocking. I made it out of there fairing better than I thought I would, and will add that stuff to the pile after her b-day. I know some of you will find me doing what I'm doing and heading to Toys R Us to be a bit odd, but I'm trying to live my life as I would have last year this time. Which is to say that I struggle with it, but I'm a normal dad who really loves his kids and while I have a serious problem with buying her stuff from the plastic Xanadu that these stores are, all she wanted was a little stroller that was pink for her doll, and this was the only place I could find one. Having said that I bought the better of the two that I could find so that it will hopefully outlast her and can be given to some other child. Will it end in the landfill? Eventually I will assume, so i think I'll have to eat this one for her sake.


Next time you're in a store, Toys R Us, Walmart, or the Supermarket, try and see if you can get out of the store with what you went there for without buying anything that has plastic packaging. And if you can't, which will probably be the case, try to make your purchase choice based on which product has less packaging. My guess is that in many cases there will be slight difference between the products you have to choose from. It's an eye-opener.

Dave


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Thanks for all the feedback

How psyched am I that so many people checked in yesterday. Thank you so much for all your kind words and support. I truly hope that you check in often and add as we go. I'm going to try to tackle a lot of things in this one post that will touch on some of the comments as I don't have enough time to comment back to each comment (although I'd truly like to). But seriously, thank you.

While I am totally thankful to NPR for their coverage (and there will hopefully be more installments throughout the year), for time reasons a lot of things were truncated/cut. To that end, one of the things that I mentioned that got cut was that this is an experiment, not a contest. At the end of the year, I don't win, I'll just be able to look at all the stuff I have accumulated and understand how truly wasteful I've become. This is also about building a community, and hopefully this blog will add to that community. We as a society are faced with HUGE problems and to fix them we in the industrialized world need to create a massive shift in thinking and the way we live our lives. For me, the first step is about reconnecting and figuring out what our part in all of this is. My main goal however is to be able to be an example and for folks to take from it what they will.

Great comments from all over the place. A lot of people seem to be interested in the worm composting system so I will be putting info up on that in the next few days. My friend Augie and I have a sort of East Coast/West Coast worm feud going (I really have no life do I?) and I've asked him to write something up about his composting system that I can include, as he has a very different way of going about it. For the record, the NPR interview cut a bit out about the composting. I am only into a month of the compost system (not an expert yet but learning fats) so it is not up to full speed. That said, when it is a little farther along, it should handle 1-1.5 lbs of food scraps a day.

Someone asked why I'm saving my recycling when it is something that is so readily available and a good alternative to chucking it in a landfill. Good question and at first I was not going to save recycling but then I realized if the whole thing is to figure out what my waste impact is, than that must be accounted for. I know this will fill a fair amount of space, so I'll see what happens as I go. Now as for the hunch of two months, I'll bet you I can if you'll put up not using a single plastic bag for the rest of the year (kidding...unless you'd like to in which case I'm game). Seriously though, a big part of all this is I just don't know how much it'll be. We'll see as I go along.

Sorry about the laptop lunches link, I'm new to blogging so bear with me.

Leap year? I didn't realize that. Yikes. Oh well, in for a penny....

I like the idea of the GE trash compacter. Now if only I could hook that up to my bicycle. Anyone have any ideas on that one.

Finally, I urge everyone to check out the comment posted by Smitter which really sums up what I hope comes from all of this. Smitter lives on a farm (I'm jealous) and so is a bit different than most of us, but the point of the comment that I like is that due to packaging and our need for certain necessities, many of us have little choice but to add to"the big pile". Perhaps if en masse, we all stood up and told the companies that make this stuff that we weren't going to buy their plastic enshrined goodies, they'd change. Smitter doesn't save their stuff like I am, but hauls it out so is cognizant of the amount, something which most of us, myself included, aren't. Thanks for the post Smitter and please keep in touch, yours is a great example to follow.

dave

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Day 2

Wow, huge response from the NPR interview. I got sidetracked last night so here's my total for Day 2. I'll throw some feedback to comments in my next post.

Yesterdays accumulation:

  • 1 plastic bag from a loaf of bread (to the recycle pile)
  • 1 plasticy peanut butter wrapper (need to find out what that is but it's going into the garbage pile for now. I threw the peanut butter jar in the wash and it will be re-purposed for nails/paint in my workshop area)
  • 1 aluminum foil take out tin and cardboard/metalic coated cover (this was from restaurants leftovers from Day 1 as the girls didn't finish their food. I hadn't included it because this wasn't waste I created, but since I ate their leftovers for lunch, into the basement it goes - not sure what pile these will go into...must investigate)
  • 1 cardboard cereal box (worm bin eventually)
  • 1 tea bag paper cover and tea bag (worm bin) (I need to look into loose tea)
  • 1 plastic tofu container HDPE#2 (recycle - gotta figure out how to get tofu that's containerless)
  • 1 tissue (worm bin)
  • 1 receipt (worm bin)
dave

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kids Lunches

My kids had off yesterday for New Years so today was the first day back to school after taking the pledge. We have been fighting the waste issue on the school lunch thing for a while and anyone with little kids knows what I am talking about. For those of you who don't have kids, companies out there basically market EVERYTHING in small easily packable, easily disposable (har de har har) packages. An average kids lunch will have a juice box, bag of chips, granola type bar, and sandwich in a plastic bag(don't even get me started on Lunchables). Generally speaking all of that ends up in the trash either at the end of the lunch or the end of the day.

We re-use all of our plastic sandwich bags by washing and hang drying them so anything like chips (which come from a bulk bag - not so good but better than individual mind you) go into these which come home and get re-used. As for sandwiches, my wife found these Crayola Sandwich containers which really rock. Now I know that they are plastic and note the irony there-in, but these things will get us through many many years of school as they are hefty, and there is a reality to what's going to happen to your kids lunch during the day.

The rest goes into re-usable drink containers which come back home, and Tupperware type containers of which we have accumulated many shapes and sizes over the years. Again plastic, but they last a long time as long as you don't get the cheap wimpy ones. My general test is if you can give it a pretty good squeeze and the top won't come off, it's a goody. They also make "disposable" Tupperware believe it or not. Next time you're at the market, check into this. You'll be shocked at what people think is disposable.

A cool resource in this arena is Laptop Lunchtimes, a newsletter created by two moms who were appalled to learn that the average school kid generates 67 pounds of waste from school lunches every year (that's over 18,000 for the average size elementary school - yikes). You can sign up for it via email and it has some pretty good tips.

dave

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What Makes Up your Trash

I found a pretty cool article online at the Popular Mechanics website of all places that shows the average house and where most of your trash comes from. Interesting that paper is the highest problem they list. I need to read the article more in depth to see where they get their numbers from but I wouldn't be surprised if mail is the biggest problem. I've used Greendimes for a while now and they ahve helped to eliminate our junk mail to next to nothing. Check them out.

dave

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