What my Dog Chews Up Usually Heads to the Landfill…Yuck!

I said, “C’mon now! Not cool bro!” My dog, (Licks my face).

Coming home to something chewed up to pieces is no surprise in my house. With my older dog, it was my flip flops, underwear, shorts, & recycling pieces like boxes. The worst was a brand new kitty litter box she ripped up and drug from one room to the other. With my younger dog, it seems to be ANYTHING!!! There is no rhyme or reason to her chewing, it just seems like, “Oh, there’s something that I need to chew right now,” num num num” (<—thats her chewing noises hahaha.) However, once I started this waste free journey and I realized everything my younger dog has been targeting – once it is chewed, I am reaching for the GARBAGE CAN!!! Ps. The broken hanger was first done by yours truly & later chewed up to bits, not pictured.

Don’t you LOVE the plastic baggie my pens lived inside of?! Landfill!

Could I use the broken colorful bits of my chewed up pens to make something artsy?! Perhaps! Will I?! Of course not! They are already disposed in the trash. The chair that has been in Elle’s entire short life met its match and half of the cushion has been chewed, of course the front part that we sit upon. She keeps nibbling on this cushion by the way! But once again, trash! The pillows she has chewed up I HAVE saved for potential “pillow reconstruction,” but it’s not my top priority as of now.

Yes, the number one rule when starting your waste free life is to use up whatever you have. Easy! But, once you DO use it up, you better be ready with an alternative, or you might end up like me, staring at possible options at the grocery store and online & then bailing, thus putting it off further. Do I need new pens?! No. Will I throw away that chair?! No. No replacement needed in those areas. However, my kitchen scrubber?! ABSOLUTELY!!! How many have I looked at either at the store or in somebodies Instagram, at least 12. Have a purchased one yet?! No! There are so many options and I want to ensure it does not come wrapped in plastic AND it can be composted once it is gross & of no use to me.

I have been making little fixes for a few years now, but I definitely dove in face first back in January 2019. I read about it, talk about it, learn about it, CONSTANTLY! I am making a list now of what I need to further replace & what my options are. There are a lot of things I want to change or buy & it CANNOT happen all at once. It is overwhelming as I’ve said before. I know I will get there one day, but I need to celebrate my small victories along the way.

What little steps are you taking?! Did your dog chew up your favorite pair of leggings too?! I still love them AND they forced me to recognize how unsustainable household items can be. Thanks pups!

January Garbage Haul – “Bring out your Waste!”

YES, I saved my garbage – all of January – excluding cardboard, aluminum, glass, & drippy/gross meat containers . Once I filled up my first medium sized tupperware, I was totally bummed. I filled it up in four days… I was like, “I’m trying to NOT waste, and look at ALL thissssssss (disgusted hiss)!!!!”

The first rule for tonight #1: Use up what you already have! Do not purge – use up while you find a replacement. If it runs out & you cannot find an alternative yet, please do not beat yourself up when you buy the same thing. I’m sure you noticed the amount of DF chocolate chip bags I have…..7 in total…..with more in the freezer (I make a lot of treats OK!!!). You are not going to find replacements with the snap of your fingers; piece your reusables/compostables/washables together over time – if your don’t you’ll just drive yourself insane.

#2: There are things you are going to debate – heavily! I have been the one standing in the store, holding two products in either hand – freaking out over which is worse in terms of waste. I have been the one who has become WAY to overwhelmed with the amount of wrapping on products & LEFT the store. I was like my own mom, “If you make too much of a ruckus, we’re leaving the store.” I have been the one to turn down meat because they wouldn’t use my container. I have been the one who has asked where a product is, an employee brought me all the way across the store, I found out it was wrapped in plastic & rejected it! (Of course I thanked her for out lovely journey – sorry gurl!) Learn from me who denied herself cauliflower all of January to only buy two heads of it come February – the plastic is in my February tupperware presently. Give & Take – do your best without the panic attacks.

#3: Yes, produce will help your waste free lifestyle! Look around for unplasticed (is that a word?!) produce —- possibly without stickers or rubber bands or twist ties. If you look at the photo above, I have a mess of produce stickers next to the massive amount of chocolate chip bags. It does exist at a regular grocery store! Look for loose produce of mushrooms, green beans, carrots, brussel sprouts, snow peas, etc & pull out those produce mesh bags & smile!!! Get ready to CHOP —AAAALLLOOOTTTT!!!!! Those beautiful bags of pre-chopped broccoli & butternut squash I use to buy smirk at me as I rush away.

#4: Sometimes, waste may be the only option at that point in time. Going waste free will force you to research, try things out, take notes, make your own food, follow a million other waste free wannabees on social media, & learn! You will learn so much it is overwhelming, so take it slow. Learn what works for you, and keep going! I am proud to say I am still learning & hope to help you skip my mistakes & make your own.

February garbage tupperware is in full effect as we speak. I am going to compare my loads (ha!) & share the comparisons. I am aspiring to be better so let’s see what happens! Give it a whirl or set a goal to do it come March. See how gross you really are!

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.