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.



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.



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.



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


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.


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)


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


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.



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.


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


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


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.