Week 1: Month Less Plastic

One Week's-worth of Plastic to the Landfill

I never thought I’d be taking pictures of my trash for the public to see. But there it is: one week’s-worth of plastic from our household that will go to the landfill.

Now here are my excuses and explanations: First, we’ve had 5 people living in this household, 1 guest visiting from Nepal and decidedly perplexed by our hoarding of all bits plastic that are going into our dust bin. The other general excuse is that more than half of these items were acquired in our household before our month less plastic began. I’m tracking the plastics that are to go to the landfill this month. So, those are my general excuses. The others are related to each item:

Tin-foil-looking stuff that crackers were wrapped in: no specific excuse. Crackers bought before month less plastic and we finished them this past week. Since then, we’ve found some zero waste crackers (that is, if you count recycling in the zero waste mix.)

Paper stickers attached to our bulk order polyethylene bags: What can I say? They need to be cut off the bags and the bags are then put into polyethylene recycling.

Honey straws: I couldn’t say no to the kids the week before our month less plastic, this is the result one week later — to the landfill.

Tape: Scotch tape and gaffer tape do end up in the landfill unfortunately. Haven’t come up with an alternative so far for specific needs (like film needs with gaffer tape and kids projects with clear tape)

Broken black plastic toy: It broke into several pieces no superglue is going to heal.

Clif Bars: Clif Bar sent them to us as part of their support for our hungry team members taking part in educational projects on zero waste in Nepal. We pack all our plastics out of remote areas and these were leftovers that the kids consume as emergency food. Clif Bar is currently researching better alternatives to the plastics in their packaging. And, they’re supporting projects like ours in Nepal, working to reduce plastics trickling down the world’s highest watersheds. They’re a great company.

Black ball thing: That’s a puffball that was used in a child’s art project and it has a ton of glue on one side. Don’t think it’ll be re-used in this lifetime. Surely it’s made of some petroleum product.

Safety Seals: Visiting acupuncturist family member brought herbs for my appendectomy recovery. The herbs come in bottles that have safety seals on their necks and under the lid. UGGH.

Nursery plant label: This one broke. Others, I’ve been trying to send back to the nurseries that generate them.

Alaska Air Snack Packaging: Guests who knew nothing about our month less plastic.

Specialty light bulb packaging: These sorts of plastics in packaging are probably our biggest challenge in a zero waste home. There are NO alternatives.

Organic Stickers: During the week before month less plastic we purchased some organic bananas (see previous post) and tomatoes. Oddly, if they aren’t organic, the sticker’s made of paper. We love the paradox of purchasing organic veggies packaged in nonorganic materials. Was worthy of a film by our garbage spies, but our favorite local store didn’t like that idea so you’ll have to come see it in person to learn how to shop zero waste.

Final excuse: If you compare our plastic landfill waste for 5 people in a week to the plastic landfill waste generated by one passenger on Korean Air on a 15-hour flight between Seoul and Seattle, we win hands down!

Plastic for 1: Seoul to Seattle

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