30 Days of Waste
"I thought this would be fun, but it isn't."It only took me a full minute to realize that this little waste audit challenge I was putting myself through was a very bad idea.
Naturally I kept going, mainly, because I had already told a couple people I would, and I was really curious to see what I had thrown away over the month, I clearly forgot several things, like emptying my vacuum cleaner (dust everywhere!) Check out the video on my YouTube page!
Backstory: I didn't take out my trash from November 15th to December 15th. 30 days whole days of not going to the dumpster. No, my trash did not smell, nor over flow. I thankfully have a green waste bin, which cuts down almost all the lovely trash smells, and I do end up recycling or reusing most of the packaged items I purchase. Over the 30 day period I was actually doing a ton of research on how to dispose of different items, I learned that I had thrown away several products that didn't need to go in the bin, and found some ones that I should keep throwing in the trash. Here are the items I found in my trash, and researched:
Mail Packaging: I had three or four of those cushioned bubble wrapped packages from amazon, I read that you cannot put those in household recycling, but what I didn't realize is that my local grocery store (and probably yours too) has a special collection bin for plastic bags where items like Bubble wrap packages can be dropped off. Here is some more information on how other amazon packages can be recycled.
Thin Plastic: Items like plastic film can also be recycled at special collection points like a nearby grocery store. Double check and make sure the item is clean and the collection area does take items other than plastic grocery bags. Here is a picture reel of some items, (like bread bags, and dry cleaning bags) I didn't know that can actually be taken to these special recycling drop off points!
Vacuum waste: This was a controversial topic I found, most sites said that vacuum waste can be composted... as long as there are no synthetic fibers in the makeup of the waste. I'm pretty sure my rental unit has synthetic carpet, so I'm glad I did end up tossing it in the garbage. Although, I will be putting any floor sweepings from the tiled areas of my place into the green bin from now on.
Foil Seals: Those flimsy aluminum foil seals on items like coffee creamer are recyclable! Face palm. You can ball them up and put them in an aluminum container or keep adding to the aluminum ball until there is a small ball created at least 2" in diameter, and place it in the recycling bin.
Plastic Seals: Specifically the ones I always throw away are on my coffee containers, the Folgers Coffee Aroma Seal is actually recyclable! I do want to move towards buying coffee in bulk so I don't have to keep recycling the packaging.
Frozen Food Boxes: The stress of researching this! So, it depends on where you are if you can recycle frozen food boxes. For example even if the box says it is recyclable, Portland does not want these items to be included in their recycling program. On the other hand, OKC will take the frozen food boxes!
Receipts: Trash these, they are not recyclable, and should not be composted as well. i am making more efforts to say no to receipts, some stores are actually giving you the option when you check out to select no receipt.
Ice Cream Cartons: Trash, they are coated in a thin layer of plastic that takes years to breakdown can cannot be easily separated from the paper canon to be recycled. Goal: start making my own dairy free ice cream.
Paper Nut Milk Cartons: Yay, items like Almond Breeze cartons are recyclable! I'm not at a point in my life where I make my own milk, maybe one day! I also found out that Portland does not like it when you include the plastic pull tabs from the milk in the recycling, since the items are so small they get caught in the machinery and in other items where they do not belong.
Chips bags: All trash, especially if they have shiny foil inside. Chips are my junk food weakness.
Frozen food bags: Items like fries, veggies, etc. are trash, they generally have food contamination and are made of plastics that are not easily recyclable.
Make-up: Specific items can be recycled, I did a lot of research into this after I down sized my make-up, of course! Check out my other blog post for more information!
Blister packs: Blister packs contain individual medicine capsules. Their individual components could be recycled if separated, but when they are still connected, they are considered mixed media and therefore not recyclable.
Paper Food Containers: This can get tricky you have to know if the container is lined with a corn (compostable) or plastic based substance (not compostable). Some of these containers have the chasing arrows meaning that the package is recyclable, but if there is still food them (like mine) it is contaminated and therefore not recyclable.
Styrofoam: Never recyclable, never compostable! I am trying to avoid this at all costs and I thankfully only used two different Styrofoam items in the last 30 days.
All in all I am really glad I did this waste audit, I learned so much more information, and set some new challenges for myself! I might even do it again! ;D