Three days of things I threw away

March 2, 2018

This is an honest record of the things I threw away for three days. I tracked everything I disposed of, whether in the recycling, compost, or trash (in Seattle, where I live, we have to sort our waste into those three categories). I didn’t leave anything out to try to make myself look better but I did include significant reusable items I used.

 

Why did I undertake this little project? I wanted to focus on the ‘reduce and reuse’ portion of the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. Yes, I know it’s better to put things in the recycling or in the compost than to put them in the trash but here’s the thing: it still takes energy to process recyclables and compostables and to produce these items in the first place. That’s why it really is better to utilize reusable items than it is to use and recycle single-use products. Saving energy anywhere we can is the name of the game.

 

So here’s my day-by-day account of what I threw away for the past several days. Are these things similar to what you throw away?

 

TUESDAY

 

7:30am

  • Reusable Starbucks cup

  • Wooden coffee stirrer: compost

  • Plastic packet of mocha mix: trash

8:30am

  • Granola bar wrapper: trash

1pm

  • Reusable tupperware container

  • Two seaweed snack wrappers: trash

  • Two seaweed snack containers: recycling

3pm

  • Two tissues: compost

6pm

  • Reusable food storage containers from leftovers

7pm

  • Glass beer bottle: recycling

9pm

  • Individual chocolate wrapper: trash

 

WEDNESDAY

 

8:30am

  • Empty hair product container: recycling

  • Two tissues: compost

9:30am

  • Plastic individual drink mix packet: trash

1pm

  • Plastic packet of mocha mix: trash

5:30pm

  • Popcorn bag: trash

  • Two seaweed snack wrappers: trash

  • Two seaweed snack containers: recycling

8pm

  • Glass wine bottle: recycling

 

THURSDAY

 

7:30am

  • Plastic packet of mocha mix: trash

8:30am

  • Paper coffee cup: recycling

  • Cardboard coffee sleeve: compost

  • Plastic coffee cup lid: recycling

11:30am

  • Paper plate: compost

  • Knife and fork: compost

  • Tissue: compost

1pm

  • Plastic packet of drink mix: trash

5pm

  • Plastic cup and lid: recycling

7pm

  • Plastic salad bag: trash

  • Plastic bag of noodles: trash

 

What are the takeaways from recording my trash output? First, I don’t think I’m doing terribly when it comes to the amount of stuff that I throw away/compost/recycle but I can always be better. As I’ve said before, success in living environmentally is all about planning ahead. When I used and then recycled coffee mugs, I hadn’t planned ahead and had forgotten a reusable mug. Another lesson I learned from this project is about the importance of buying in bulk instead of using individually-packaged foods. Over the last several days, I threw away many drink mix packets and seaweed snack packages. My new goal is to find a way to buy these things in bulk in order to stop throwing individual packages away.

 

I challenge you to keep track of what you throw away, too. It’s pretty enlightening! What can you do to decrease your trash production?

 

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