Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Waste Lite Holiday Tips For Ya

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.



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.")
  5. 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?
  6. 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!
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.


esther said...

looooooove this post! would you allow me to translate it into french and put it on my blog (saying it's an translation of yours of course?) pleeeaaaaase???

Dave said...

Absolutely and thank you. Vive la French (I speak no french obviously).

Great pic!


cow said...

Hey SD... I want to repost your post to my mailing lists, but I'm not sure they links will hold. Do you have an html version of this? If I post a link to you, would that be http://365daysoftrash.blogspot.com/2008/11/some-waste-lite-holiday-tips-for-ya.html ?

Dave said...

Yeah, Just link to that and it'll work fine.


Brian said...

Hi Dave, I saw you on CNN today. Very inspirational. I look forward to reading your updates.

Roswell, GA

Veronica in Reno NV said...

Dude, you are my hero!!!! Our family of five are trying to improve our garbage as well. Right now, we accumulate one bag per week. And no, we are not using garden size plastic bags, just the regular size ones. Just one question: What do you recommend, soy based plastic bags, or recycled plastic bags? I have read soy based bags needs aeration to decompose, and it's very hard to do so in the landfill. What do you think?

irfanmehmud said...

Finally some one is speaking against convenience and abuse of this earth. I think drastic change in people's brain would be great and I think if you can go out and talk to school children that would great because in that way you are changing whole generational thinking.

Thank you,

Dave said...

Thanks. I've actualy been doing just that for going on three years now.


Anonymous said...

I see you remove any posts other than those made by your little toadies and sycophants. Here's the comment again. Maybe you will have an open mind and leave it. Maybe not.

Dismayed to see you wearing the Bummer shirt. I compost, I use a push mower for my 1500sqft of grass that my kids and dogs play on in a yard that is otherwise desert landscape, and I have been making bio diesel for many years for my Hummer H1. It is not any less fuel efficient than any other like sized vehicle and I use it for everything from work to recreation. There are only about 7 thousand H1s in the entire US. The best part is that I can service virtually anything on that beast myself due to it's design. Most guys I know with Hummers are comparable "green aware" and live that way. There are not enough H2s to outweigh the gas consumption of any other single brand of SUV. A shirt with a suburban would be a more deserving target.

I have seen similar PR messages just like yours over the past few decades, so nothing really new. While you suggest to kill the business of florists and non-local farmers to stimulate your local economy, I can just bet your bio-diesel vehicle is a foreign made (probably German) vehicle which makes you a bit of a hypocrite. My truck is about 96% American made and at retail likely fed at least 5 times the number of American families that your purchase likely did. That is the American way to "spread the wealth". Am I right? Did you help create the trade deficit with your car?

So while I agree with much of your lifestyle, you would do well to not promulgate hate toward those that make choices outside your own. Wearing that shirt on CNN was a conscious effort to do just that. While I agree American auto makers need to make cars more fuel, energy and materials efficient... the backlash of the "green" effort has put us all in a position of spending our ever increasing tax dollars to bail them and their employees out instead of buying a car with the same money. And, just like shortly after the last gas crisis of the '70's, gas prices are once again back down to lower levels than what caused all the "gas guzzler" hate in the first place. People are such puppets of the media hype.

So while you clean out your basement of all that accumulated trash from the past year, think about getting rid of some of the trash locked up in your head from the same period.

Dave said...

If you'd check the comments on the CNN post, where you first posted, your post is there in it's entirety. I have only posted it again here because I don't know how else to reach you seeing as you don't sign in using your name.

For the record, I have only rejected about 2 actul posts (the others are spam whihc is why i have the reject option) and those were for foul language and a truly horrid attitude. I can understand why you'd be miffed if I didn't post your original comment (whihc as i pointed out I did, and repsonded to by the way), but please don't refer to people on here in a negative tone. i don't think it adds much.

If you have trouble finding your post, feel free to contact me above, but otherwise, please check out my response as I felt i owed you one for your observation.

Be well,


Anonymous said...

Actually, I did not make the complaint with the added comment:
"I see you remove any posts other than those made by your little toadies and sycophants. Here's the comment again. Maybe you will have an open mind and leave it. Maybe not."

I posted my response to you on another blog and when my post was not found on your site,due to your not having yet approved it, some clown copied and pasted my text with the added verbage I would not have used. You have my permission to remove the reposted comment and your response to it with my apologies.

I am not a member of any blogs listed and don't care to register for the purpose.

esther said...

hey, where did your video go? Is it because of anonymous comment? too bad though, I really liked it, but have to say that I have absolutly no idea what the story about the teeshirt is, but that must be something from overseas?

Dave said...

Hah, well there ya go. No bigee, it takes all kinds. I don't think i can remove a post once it's been posted, and am not concerned either. It's fine. Just glad you weren't personally put off. Hopefully you saw my response to your first post.

What other blog did you post it on?


Dave said...

The video is still there, justa few posts down. I'm getting a lot of CNN traffic so i put the holiday tips and Dave's bag tips up front since I figured they'd be of more interest than the video they'd already seen.

Don't sweat the t-shirt. Different opinions by two people who share a lot of similar beliefs.


Tom said...

Greetings from Sweden!

Thank you for a nice blogspot, and some new perspectives!

Any photos available on all your trash? That would be yummy for a scientist to analyse in detail (make a "pick analys"), to summarize the different types of fractions, as a future reference. Of course, more data from other trash collectors is needed.

Good luck with your important mission!!


Dave said...

I try to put pics up every week (but owe the ones from last Sunday). Scroll back and you'll see past pics.


OfTroy said...

Re: paper plates.

have you ever done a cost analysis on paper plates Vs dishes?

Even the cheapest paper plates (100 for $0.99 kind) are more expensive than Lenex china!
(can you still get 100 paper plates for $0.99? i haven't bought paper plates in ages!)

but a couple (not a family just a couple) will use up so many paper plates (and cups) in just a year, that it's cheaper to buy a super efficent dishwaher (and every day china/cups/flat ware)

(every day china And Lenex, everyday flatware (and silver ware) and a super efficent dishwasher =2 years (or a family (of 4)) worth of paper plates.

I am always impressed how people say they can't afford nice things --but can afford to use paper plates!

Dave said...

OfTroy (is your name Helen?)
I haven't done a cost analysis but i hear ya. People always complain about how much steel water bottles cost but then buy plastic water bottles. They are paying 1000x the amount for water but can't see the problem with it.

It's all about education.


knutty knitter said...

How about a nice crystal jug with home made lemon squash? I've never done anything else actually. I think I bought a bottle of water once on a trip about 10 years back but could never see the point. Anyhow, they look ugly on a table.

viv in nz

Dave said...

Sorry for missing this post. I don't know about the soy but I expect they are similar to the corn based. The way I look at it, if the manufacturing process is sound, and they sit there, so be it. On the flip side, if they break down, no bigee. If the plastic breaks down...bigeee. So i'd go soy/corn personally. Sounds like you are way ahead of the game though.


Veronica in Reno, NV said...

Thanks Dave! I think you are right, it is corn. My bad. We still can do better. We live in a state that recycling is viewed more as a chore than beneficial. BTW, thanks for all the ideas for the holidays. I will send you a note later with my favorite homemade hand sanitizer. Very useful, but not as harmful as the commercial type.

Dave said...

Cool, looking forward to it.