Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

Waste Weigh-In

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The big reveal! I feel like Alison Sweeney on the biggest loser “Trash, your current weight is…” (some of you will know what I am talking about).

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A Quick Review

The EPA says the average American creates 4.40 lbs. of trash. We were curious to see where we stood. Our plan, collect all of our trash for one week. Weigh it, divide it by two (two people), divide it by seven (days in a week), and find out our personal trash number.

We collected, we weighed, and now we know!

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1.64 lbs/person/day

Day by Day

After we weighed everything, we went one very stinky step further.

By day, we separated our trash into three categories: Recyclable, Compost Bound, and Landfill Bound. Below you can see what that looks like in pictures (be glad your computer doesn’t yet have a scent feature).

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Categories by Weight:

Recyclable – 16 lbs., 5 oz. – 71%

Compost Bound – 2 lbs., 9.5 oz. – 11%

Landfill Bound – 4 lbs., 1.5 oz. – 18%

Reflection

While this gives us a good snap shot of our trash life, it isn’t a perfect survey. For example, I am sure we make a lot more waste around the holidays. That being said, I am pleased that our number is so low, but we still have a lot of work to do!  You learn an awful lot about yourself by picking through your trash one stinky item at a time. For example, we use a lot of paper towels! This was surprising to me because we have already eliminated our use of paper towels in the kitchen. Most of the towels we used were just to dry our hands at work. How easily all this trash could have been avoided had we just kept a small hand towel at work. In fact, most of our trash was avoidable! Several iced latte cups made their way into the garbage, even though I have a perfectly cute tumbler sitting in my kitchen. You may have noticed more than a few beer bottles, unacceptable when we live just down the street from an amazing tap room that will fill reusable growlers.

In addition to learning about our personal waste, we also found that we need some serious schooling in all things trash. What do those numbers on recyclable items mean anyways? and Can I compost a gently used paper towel?

Our goal is to create as little trash as possible. I have a million reasons why we want to do this (and I will be sure to share a few), but one simple reason is because we can. If you knew your household was creating 23 lbs. of trash a week and there were some simple steps you could take to reduce that number, wouldn’t you? We don’t plan on depriving ourselves, we just believe it’s possible to live a beautiful life while creating less waste.

Next Step

Over the next several days we will reflect on our results and create a plan to help wean us off our waste. Stay tuned!

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Have you ever considered taking a one week or one day trash audit?

♥ ali

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