Celebrating the Small Waste Free Victories

I work at a preschool & today was a teacher workday – which usually means lunch is provided – to make us feel extra special. With no children around, I already feel special – ha! I love to find even the smallest of victories throughout the day pertaining to no waste, especially since January 1st. January 1st started my “no waste January” & I have been failing big time. I have retained (almost) everything that will end up at the landfill & plastic waste. So far, I have two Tupperware’s full of garbage & a few plastic containers that do not fit within said Tupperwares. I have not kept everything due to smell (I have a roommates) or it was cardboard/aluminum, which are easier to recycle than plastic.

My above picture prove my victory above plastic cups, plastic silverware, & styrofoam plates (vomit emoji). Our planets problem with plastic is as follows:

  • there are many kinds of plastic
  • different kinds of plastic cannot be recycled together
  • plastic containers are sometimes mixed with other plastics or cardboard & therefore cannot be recycled
  • usually the plastic containers are not cleaned out & the remnants of product contaminate the plastic & it can no longer be recycled
  • with single stream recycling, the remnants from other recycling mixes with the plastic, contaminates it, & it is now garbage
  • it is so GD convenient that it is not even thought about as a problem because it is GD everywhere!

Carrying a waste bottle started back in high school when I thought if I didn’t drink enough water, I would die & suck at running. Since running has continued throughout my life, I still carry a water bottle. Yes, my first water bottles were plastic, were refilled & placed back in the fridge, & started to taste funny by the fourth day I reused them. Vomit emoji again. This Contigo water bottle is small, but has an amazing clasp on it so it can clip onto my backpack strap, purse strap, or whatever else to make it the most convenient water bottle I’ve ever owned.

I scoured the kitchen for a washable plate (since styrofoam is the bane of my existence) & succeeded. The utensil I carry on me (almost) at all times, is my handy-dandy splayd (or foon/spork) I got from REI a few years ago. When I have bought something messy from the store & I do not want to wait until I get home to dig in…my splayd has saved the day! Spoon, fork, knife…”you got it” (Home Alone Recorder Style).

I will high five myself for today’s little victory over waste, wash my reusables, & be ready for what tomorrow brings!

Containers – A New Love for Becoming Wastefree

Now, before I start gushing over how much I love my containers…they did cost me some money. It was an investment, but a much needed one. You know the saying, “Look good, feel good.” I firmly believe this quote. When my hair actually looks good & my clothes fit just right, I feel like I’m the best looking one in the room. Cocky?! Perhaps, but my days like this are few and far between. I knew if I had cute containers I would actually use them & be excited to use them. It is also easier to tell the store the Tare (or the weight of an empty object) before they price it (they will ask this at check-out). An alternative to purchasing your own & saving money is repurposing your old spaghetti sauce jar, pickle jar, salsa jar, etc and use those containers. If you choose this route, perfectly fine, good on you……but I wanted cute matching jars.

When selecting your own collection of containers to bring to the store, you’ll figure out what works best for you. I love the quart size, wide mouthed mason jars for easy pouring. I found one giant mason jar (3.5 pints) at a garage sale, fingers crossed on finding more! Mini mason jars for spices & ideally I should have bought glass pyrex for meats, buuuuuttttttt I was feeling cheap at the time.

The plastic containers on the right are for my meats. There is residue from the price sticker, but I’ll take sticker waste over an entire plastic package of waste. Now, using these containers at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market, etc has been about being confident & reassuring. Majority of people behind the counter have NOT YET been asked, “Can I have a pound of salami, & can you place it in this container?” That’s when I flash a big smile & show them my container. It has been received positively so far, but does take some conversation about it. Some are proud of me while others look confused the whole time, but they DO IT!

Look how happy this container is to hold your foods!

Side Bar – the first time I used the meat containers I forgot them in the car. I debated heavily with myself about running out to get them (it was pouring rain) & I had a cart full of food already. I sucked it up, sprinted out to my car, & happily handed my container to the deli man while my hair dripped into my eyes – I felt so legit.

Please let me cheer you on while you use your containers! Post pictures of what your collection looks like or what you are working towards! Just start with one container & see how it goes!

Bountiful Wastefree Harvest: Managing shopping at the store

On Monday, December 31st, 2018, I went shopping! (“Get in loser, we’re going shopping ” – Regina George/Mean Girls). However, this was a particular Monday I had been preparing for, for some time. I was purchasing containers, mesh bags, mason jars, figuring out what foods can be composted, learning wastefree recipes, trying out composting, checking out stores status’s when I asked, “Can I put my salami in this container?”, etc etc etc!!! Being waste free is trial and error my wannabe wastefreers.

DISCLAIMER: I have a tendency to be very proud of myself for the DUMBEST things! I.E. Locking all the doors before work. I.E. Everytime I drive myself to the airport, park, & get myself on the plane. I.E. Putting my produce in mesh bags!

Oh Mesh Bags, how you make me smile. See! See how beautifully my mesh bags are holding the carrots & celery – creating no waste at all! AMAZING! I’ve noticed people eyeballing me as I put my loose brussel sprouts in my mesh bag & probably wondering, “How can I be like that?” I was once at an Indian market, scouting out garlic & cucumbers, holding my mesh bag, when another lady asked me where I got it. I immediately smiled, ready to spill, & she said, “Wait, never mind, I found them,” and grabbed a plastic bag from the hidden roll. I was crushed.

Here is another thing that makes me proud; mason jars…filled from BULK BINS! Dry ingredients of all kinds – rice, almonds, nutritional yeast, raisins, popcorn, chia seeds, etc! As long as it’s in a bulk bin, I’m probably buying it! I am still figuring out a system for labeling, since stickers fall off & sharpie looks “poor.” ha! Some stores have no idea how to compute the cost (which I will get into another day) while others call over somebody with a wise code & all is well in the world.

I suppose this post is to inspire you to obtain some kind of containers, so you too can also be proud of yourself for the smallest of things, such as saving a plastic bag from holding your lettuce. I can get into bringing the mason jars & plastic containers to the store & how to use them in another post.