As many of you know, I’ve already reduced the garbage I make by quite a bit. However, I want to take it even further. So I am taking a tally of the garbage I still have left to see what I can do next. I include recycling and compost in this tally, as although they are great alternatives, both expend energy and are therefore still contributing carbon to our atmosphere.
So after a week, here is the garbage left over and my analysis of it. I’m only counting the larger items at this point. Keep in mind that there are only two of us (one and a half, really) and that I’ve already done quite a bit so I’m down to the bare essentials.
Garbage. I was pretty impressed with the garbage. It only amounted to half a grocery bag full this week. Most of the garbage was plastic, and aside from a broken plastic food saver that couldn’t be recycled, it was all food packaging. This included a 10kg bag for rice, 2 cereal bags, wrappers and bags for crackers, a tray for crackers, 2 large chip bags, a bag that had chocolate in it, and plastic wrap from meat purchases. There was a bit of paper, including some wax paper that was used for wrapping prepared meats, and a few napkins and tissues. The other notable items were some tin foil and a broken drinking glass that I am assuming is non-recyclable.
Recycling. Amounted to one banker’s box this week. Most of it was paper. This included a cereal box, a chocolate box, 2 soy milk cartons (flattened), a flour bag, a potato bag, a cardboard sleeve for something I bought, a chocolate wrapper, a flyer, and 10 or more receipts. There were two metal cans. Plastic consisted of five clear bags with holes in them that I couldn’t think of a way to reuse and a plastic meat tray. There were also two styrofoam meat trays.
Compost. Amounted to three produce bags full, which is the most waste of all three categories by weight. I’m ashamed to say, of those three bags, I threw out quite a bit of food that could have been eaten. Of produce, I chucked 1/2 a lemon, a couple limes, and 1 head of broccoli. Of prepared foods, I threw away 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich, 2 servings of oatmeal, 1 serving of sausage and pasta, 2 whole sausages, 5 slices of bread, bread crusts from my daughter’s sandwiches, and 1 serving of stale pretzels. That’s at least a couple of meals’ worth.
In my post, Christmas Leftovers, I resolved to reduce the food I waste. This is going to be a challenge for me. As I watched myself throw away what used to be perfectly good food, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about it and still am not sure. But I think something will come to me.
It is interesting to note that vast majority of the waste/recycling I have left is food-related. I am not sure how I am going to buy cereal, meat, and my favourite snacks – chocolate, chips, and crackers – without generating waste. At least with produce I have been reusing plastic bags, but I’d like a better option. I’ve seen reusable produce bags made of cotton, but that just doesn’t seem to be entirely practical for me.
This is just the first week. I think I’ll track the whole month before making any changes, just to see if there are other trends. Mind you, I won’t post every week specifically about my garbage unless I discover something notable….
I’ll end this post by asking you, “”What is in your garbage can?”