My First Month Counting My Trash

I DID IT! I MADE IT! One month of trash was able to fit into a mason jar. I was nervous that I wasn’t aware of how much trash I was actually making and that my jar would fill up after, hmmm – a week. For anyone who thinks this is impossible, it’s not. If I can do it, you can do it.

jar

everything

Most of my trash was plastic. Obviously. I had a couple large items like the cheese plastic bag, the plastic that the cauliflower was wrapped in and I bought some brussel sprouts that just had to come in a mesh bag. Also that super gross looking tissue at the bottom is the wax paper that came under some fries I ordered. Doesn’t smell good. [see above] Medium items were all the produce wrappers. So dumb. [see below]

produce wrappers

These made me the most mad because – WHY? Why?! Drove me nuts that carrots are wrapped twice and every produce item had a sticker on it. I started only taking fruit that the sticker had fallen off, and then just writing down the SKU number to tell the person at checkout. I am going to try and avoid these stickers and wrappers by shopping at a farmer’s market.

Small items included the plastic seals on kombucha bottles, the wrappers from nyquil and dayquil, a couple straws and random plastic wrappers on things I didn’t even realize I was buying.

NOT INCLUDED IN MY JAR:

One million tissues from when I was sick. I only have a couple cloth napkins at this point and with the amount of yuck I was producing, those towels wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Anything to do with my lady bits. Because I’m not switching over to anything zero waste at this point and also why would I collect that? Gross.
Anything I owned before my zero waste journey. I haven’t counted anything I owned before because purposely using those items to get rid of them so that one day I can be completely waste free. *I’m looking at you, old make up and face wash*

THINGS I CAN’T GIVE UP AT THE MOMENT:

Q-tips: I know everyone says they’re bad for you and you shouldn’t be using them to clean your ears in the first place – but I think visible wax in your ear is disgusting. I’m not down to walk around with that. Sorry landfills.
How I plan to make this zero waste: No idea.

Personal flossers: I would use normal floss that you wrap around your fingers and such, but that never seems to go well.
How I plan to make this zero waste: There is that machine that uses water to floss, rather than actual floss. It’s about $35.00 so it’s definitely affordable – just have to save up for it.

Oxyclean: I know some people use a mixture of dawn and peroxide or any other combination of things – but those definitely dont get out the stains well enough. (I’m looking at you, turmeric…)
How I plan to make this zero waste: If anyone knows of a really good homemade stain remover, let me know. I want to be able to get out everything. EVER-Y-THING.

THINGS I NOTICED:
I was making trash that I didn’t consider trash. For instance, when I’m in a public restroom, I’m not going to take in my linen napkin to wipe my hands. Nasty. So now I swing my hands around like a crazy person and then wipe my hands on my pants, or use the air dryer if they have them. I know a lot of people say those blowers are like a bacteria breeding ground, so I’m hoping I don’t die. Shout-out to the bulk hand sanitizer we have at work.

Trash from eating out is something I kind of ignored until this month. I didn’t count the straws I was served, or the napkins that were brought to me. That’s the restaurant’s trash – not mine, right? How about wrong. The struggle here is I’m brought the napkin and the water before I am even asked. So a lot of times it’s a losing battle. I’m going to make “no straws” one of my top priorities. But I’m already the weird jar lady and I don’t want to add the “picky bitch who says no straws in her whiskey” at the bar to my list of nicknames. :/

Most places are nice, some are – less nice. I usually only encounter problems with newer employees. I do feel like crawling inside my own skin whenever I hand the employee my jar and they say they can’t accept it, or they don’t know and then run and get a manager. I know I’m doing a good thing, but when there is a line of people behind me and they’re now having to wait for this weird hippie to see if her stupid jar is okay to be used – that’s when I want to just take the trash and cut my losses. So embarrassing. So awkward. But like I said, it’s usually only new employees that don’t know me yet.

I did try and order Starbucks for the first time since going zero waste. Although I worked at Starbucks for about 3 years, I still wasn’t on my game enough to make no waste. I started saying my order and held up my jar, but they started writing my order on the cup before I could say I brought a jar. Also, I know a lot of the time Starbucks employees use a cup because they need the lines to measure the drink. So a part of me wants to say it doesn’t have to exact, please don’t use a plastic up. But that’s also super embarrassing and I’d feel like an asshole. The struggle is real.

The impact I’m having on my coworkers seriously makes my day, everyday. One of my managers bought me a huge recycle bin and that made me so cussing happy. Even though I’m the weird jar lady, everyone has been so supportive. Zero waste at work has been a breeze with these awesome coworkers.

Thanks to everyone that has liked or commented on here or instagram. It makes me feel like I’m not doing it alone. And shoutout to my boyfriend for still wanting to be seen with the lady who brings 10 containers to Whole Foods and needs them all separately weighed. You’re cool.

Talk soon,
Audrey

2 thoughts on “My First Month Counting My Trash

  1. I made a resolution to produce less trash and minimize my stuff sustainably and in the process got frustrated with all my lip-gloss containers that I still have from seventh grade and didn’t want to contribute to the landfill…and then I googled how to sustainably throw out makeup and eventually ended up here. Anyways I literally just read your entire blog + a bunch of side-websites on waste management and I’m not sure what the future holds but I am super inspired and excited! Thanks for publishing this and best of luck finding a way to get paid if you didn’t already figure it out 🙂 Ps: do you know how to spell sustainably?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Sorry for the late response. I always appreciate the love. Let me know if you need any other tips and tricks. 🙂 PS: sustainably is correct.

      Like

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