Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One Month Down, 11 To Go

I had hoped to do this last week but just didn't have the mental or physical energy to deal with it. I figure that each month I'll try and do a wrap up of things that I've come across, what I've noticed, etc. So here goes.

This being the first month I really didn't know what to expect as I kind of jumped feet first into the whole thing and didn't completely think everything through. I'm assuming part of that is self preservation as I may have come to my senses and not gone through with it had I considered things a bit more. Having said that, I'm extremely happy with how things are going at this point (except of course for illnesses, but they too shall pass).

For starters, the general response from all of you has been overwhelming and it really feels great to know that so many folks out there have similar concerns. I have learned from many of you, and from the sounds of it, some of you have picked up a thing or two here as well. Totally rocks!

I've mentioned this before but overall I am fairly shocked by how little waste I have generated, but at the same time, amazed that I generate as much recycling as I do. I think a lot of this has to do with making larger meals which can be eaten over several days/meals, and generally not being too picky about what I eat. Maybe that's a good thing and maybe that's a bad thing, but for purposes of this little experiment it seems to be working well.

I've been very psyched to tackle a few problems so far, mainly bread, fish, juice, and coffee. While things may pop up occasionally that don't fit the mold I set, this has more to do with the fact that I don't always do the shopping and sometimes for convenience, other choices will be made. I realize that these four problems are relatively small, but I am reminded of a great book on writing called "Bird By Bird" that my friend Rocky loaned to me a while back. It's about a kid who is overwhelmed by a report he has to do on birds because there are so many, so his mom tells him to just take them bird by bird, start with one, move to the next, and so on. I think that applies here.

I originally took on this project to save everything to see how much I generate in a year. However, now that I am one month into it, I think the plan is to see how little I can generate in a year. Not by denying myself mind you, but by taking things "bird by bird" and striking one problem off at a time until (hopefully) there's nothing left. Probably not going to get there, but you never know until you try right? At any rate, if I can keep my "garbage" to that one box for a few more months, I'll be really psyched.



Caroline in NH said...

Bread - can you make homemade? Better for you anyway... You would generate a flour bag and a few other small bits, but it can be managed. I buy yeast in a jar, and refill it from a bulk bag. The bulk bag lasts me months, and I re-use old bread bags for my homemade bread.

Fish - could you bring a container to the grocery store or fish market? I know our local store wraps the fish in plastic, then paper, then more plastic! Very wasteful.

Coffee - if you go to a store with a "grind-your-own" station, can you grind into your own container?

Hope some of this is helpful.

Dave said...

Hey Caroline,
Thanks for leaving the comment. I actually have been getting the bread from the baker, re-using the bags, coffee bulk from the store, re-using the bag, and fish from the fishmonger with my tupperware, so we're on the same page. If you look back a bit you'll see the posts, but there are a lot to weed through.
If you have any other waste saving tips I'm game though. I've been a bit slow on the case these last two weeks as I have a bad ear infection, but I intend to start chipping away again as soon as it's gone.

might I add...? said...

I love the "bird by bird" concept! And how your framework for your year has slightly altered, although I assumed this was part of your project from the beginning anyway.

I really appreciate what you're doing to raise consciousness and give us so many more ideas.

Dave said...

I guess it was probably deep down part of the concept but to be honest I didn't fully think it through. If I had, I might not be doing it. thanks for your support though.