One-Week Challenge

Sustainable Dave is finishing up his 365 Days of Trash. To mark the occasion he is proposing the challenge of not throwing anything away for one week (a week from Jan 1-Jan 15). I thought some of the readers/bloggers would be interested.

Click here to read about the One-Week Challenge.

Also he just posted a video talking about his Challenge as well.

View the Video here.

I am going to take part in the challenge since the 30 Day challenge proved to be a little too much for me. :) j


xmas non-shopping

It's been a little quiet over here on No Trash and has been awhile since I stopped back in to say "hi". I'm sure December would be a hard time for anyone to do the no trash challenge, with all of the holiday hoopla that goes on ... so I just wanted to remind everyone to buy handmade!!

While yes, you can try to validate your spending at Macy's or Old Navy by saying "I'm stimulating the economy" ... it's the little people who need you more right now!!

Etsy.com is one of my favorite sites where you can find gorgeous, beautifully crafted items while having the luxury of knowing where they came from. And some of the artists really do a lovely job of packaging things. It can take awhile to find that perfect item, but is the mall really any better? Who wouldn't prefer a gorgeous hand made scarf to the same one everyone else has from the Gap? A good place to start is by looking at the "Featured Sellers". The Etsy editors also put together some great themed articles that feature pieces from various sellers, so that can be helpful too. And if all else fails, there are some fool proof gift guides.

And as for cards, why not consider a simple video this year? Save on paper, mailing, transportation costs and impress your friends at the same time. For instance, check out this video I did for my company this year.


Want vs. Need

I find most of my trash comes from consuming. Whether it be the packaging on a new purchase or containers from take out.

Today was the 17th Annual Buy Nothing Day which is an international protest against consumerism.

Earlier this month I tried to buy as little as possible for a whole week. It really makes you think about using items you already have, as well as borrowing or just plain doing without. Well that whole experiment lasted one week. Then I went on a spending frenzy, buying anything and everything I was thinking about while I was on my "diet". So while Buy Nothing Day is not as extreme as what I was trying to do, it still makes a lot of sense just to take a day to reflect on really what we need rather than what we want. And really I am pretty lucky, and do not need as much as the general public would want me to believe.


For the Guys

Men: Do not look at previous post if you do not want to read about periods.

Here is a post for you! (Women welcome)


I compiled some articles from around the internet (feel free to do your own search)
And these are what I found the most interesting.

1. Condom Sense: First Article that comes up on Google. Worth a read, was written in 2006.

2. Gorgeously Green's take on Red Wine & Condoms:
It’s hard to recommend an organic wine, as everyone’s tastes are so different. Best to go to a good wine seller, who buys from organic wineries, and get their advice.
Onto condoms! There aren’t really any eco-friendly condoms per se. Condoms are either made from latex, which is biodegradable, lambskin – also biodegradable or polyurethane, which is not biodegradable. Most condoms you buy are made out of latex, however, it won’t biodegrade in water – so never flush a condom down the toilet (can easily block pipes or end up in rivers and streams). The best thing to do is to wrap it up in a piece of toilet roll and put in your regular trash – its best gravesite is a landfill! Lambskin can be a viable choice, however, it doesn’t protect against any diseases- so only recommended for seriously monogamous relationships! Female condoms are made of polyurethane. So there’s the skinny on condoms.

3. Tree Hugger on Brazilian Amazon Condoms:
Natex condoms are 10% more cost-effective to produce and that native latex is also more resistant for having 50% less minerals than cultivation latex.

Please post your own ideas or links to articles about Environmental Condoms. But please do not reuse!

Back On Track

I have to admit, I haven't been the best blogger this site has seen. But I'm going to try my best to be more on top of it the rest of the month!

I know TrashedOut has mentioned this before, but because it is something us girls need every month, I figured it was worth to talk about again. Its
a change that's as simple as changing to reusable bags from plastic and makes a big impact. *Saves money too!

Diva Cups myths dispelled.
1. They are difficult to use: Yes at the beginning it was a
bit hard, but once you get used to it, you'll be thinking why haven't I done this before?

2. It is messy:
"Almost every woman's initial reaction to The DivaCup is, "Ewww! That's gross!” When tampons were first introduced it took quite a while before the concept caught on. Once you take the time to learn about The DivaCup, and actually try it for yourself, you will be pleasantly surprised about how clean and NOT messy it really is. " ~ DivaCup.com

3. They are uncomfortable: You do not feel it, just like a tampon.

4. They are not sanitary:
They are very easy to clean. Boiling it in water every so often. I find they are more sanitary than tampons since they don't disrupt the natural flow, and don't contain any irritants. " The DivaCup is made from top quality, healthcare grade silicone, which is 100% hypoallergenic, latex-free and odorless." ~DivaCup.com

I got mine just about a year ago. And it took a while to use it regularly. I still have tampons and pads, and usually alternate between all 3. Not this month!

Please go to http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/ to have all your questioned answered. You won't regret it!


New Things

So I have some new things in my life.

My first is a couple of rescue kittens. They are 5 months and 6 months old. So not tiny kittens, but they are still super cute and playful. Leo and Sabrina. I purchased flushable kitty litter, but have high hopes of training them to use the toilet (ala "meet the parents") so to not make trash at all! I gone a little nuts buying kitten toys for them but it's all good.

My second new thing is a bag. Yes a bag. Now I'm not the type who loves shopping and lives for the next biggest trend or has a closet full of shoes. But I did splurge and got this really cool bag made from old ad banners. And the straps are seat belts. I absolutely love it! I'm trying not to product place too much. The company is called Alchemy Goods "Turning Useless into Useful" is their slogan.


Easier Said Then Done!

Okay, I have to admit, I haven't been doing the best job in the 30 day no trash challenge. After re-reading some posts from previous bloggers, I am ready to start anew.

One thing I'm going to do to help reduce my trash is carry around a cloth with me. My mom just gave me this great cloth that is highly durable, and easy to rinse and dries quickly. I forget the name right now, but I'll post it later when I ask her. It's the sheet of cloth, that can be cut down to different sizes and used many ways.


Lunch Time!

Since using sanitary items at work (tissues, etc) are unavoidable, there are other things during the work day I do to limit my trash.

One major thing is Lunch! I use a reusable lunch bag as well as reusable containers.

I got this great sandwich case from tupperware. No more plastic baggies or tin foil!

I don't go anywhere without my reusable bottle as well. People at work call me "tree hugger" because I try to get them not to use Styrofoam by bringing in mugs. This only works when I hand them the mug. And 4 of the mugs I brought in have already gone missing. Any other ideas to encourage co-workers not to be wasteful?


Here We Go!

Thank you Dayva! And thank you all the bloggers from the challenge that came before me. I really enjoyed reading your stories. I'd like to start with my inspiration that made me want to take part in helping promote sustainability.

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard is an excellent look on how we as Americans over consume, and where our stuff comes from and where it goes when we're done with it.

A little about me: I am 25 years old, and live in Philadelphia. I work as a technician in a Doctor's office.

Challenge number 1: Work. Working in a Doctor's office, I use a lot of tissues for cleaning equipment. This is their policy, so there is little I can do except try to conserve as much as I can.

Challenge number 2: Here in the great state of Pennsylvania they only recycle Number 1 & 2 plastics, I save all of my 3-7 plastics to later take to a recycling plant.

Okay, I have to run off to work now, but please check out The Story of Stuff and pass it on to people you know. I will be back soon with another post, promise!



Don't forget to get out and vote for President Obama tomorrow!!!!!!!

November Challenger!!

Unfortunately we were dark all of October, however out of the dark comes the light!
I would like to introduce you to Jessica Sitkoff. I actually don't know that much about her (yet!) but she has been reading the blog and is up for the challenge. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to read how Jessica's month goes.
Good luck Jessica and thanks for joining the challenge!


Are you up for the challenge?

If you are interested in doing the challenge you can email me at dsavio@arn.com
If you are interested in helping to make this blog cooler and more user friendly you can email me too!



It's been 30 days and we don't mess around with trash. We kicked it's A**. I can't wait for my t-shirt that says so!

A few interesting tid-bits to recap the adventure...

30 Days Ago:
  • We made 1-2 large bags of trash per week at our house.
  • We made LOTS of trash during the day at work. Bad trash too. Plastic silverware, Styrofoam trays, paper towels, and many more trash evils.
  • We drank from straws, used paper napkins, and took plastic bags when shopping...the sin of all trash sins.
During the 30 Days:
  • We recycled EVERYTHING possible.
  • We only trashed the dog poo and a few other small items intentionally (See trash confessional post).
  • We gave up things we loved: tissues, gum, napkins, paper towels, q-tips, cotton balls, and more.
What we wont miss:
  • Composting. It is nasty, and it's totally a pain to bring to the dump. Also it gets rotten and stinky. We love you Earth, but we love the garbage disposal too.
The BEST OF The Trash Challenge

The best thing about the trash challenge is that EVERYONE around you notices how much trash they are throwing away. When you tell people you are doing this, they all of sudden realize they should not be such trash sluts.

A few shout outs:

Jamie, Tommy, and JK for not using styrofoam trays anymore at lunch and recycling their plastic pudding cups. Nigel, you only get a half a** shout out because one day you were bitchy and threw your recyclables in the trash.

Becky, because you got reusable containers and cloth napkins for lunch.

Tina, because you started recycling everything, making a difference, and spreading the word.

Linda, for getting your kids to do the trash challenge for two days!

BB, for only sending me a small amount of bubble wrap and great comment.

Kate, for the great recycle everything Real Simple list.

What next?
  • We plan to keep on recycling and making as little trash as possible. The tip that we can recycle chip bags was excellent.
  • We probably will not continue the food compost. We do have compost bins in the yard for yard waste and plan to use these.
  • I'll still keep taking home recyclables from my work. Each week during the challenge I had 2 HUGE IKEA bags filled. One night the cleaning people had the trash from one day in the hall. It was 7 huge garbage bags. We only have 30 people in our office. That is 7 bags a day for 30 people.

Simple things you can do:
  • Recycle. It's easy.
  • Do NOT take plastic bags at stores. Buying new shoes at the mall? Do you really need a plastic bag?
  • Do NOT use plastic bags when getting produce. Just stick it in the cart.
  • Recycle paper and cardboard. Toilet paper rolls, receipts, clothing tags, junk mail. Just throw it in a bin and take it to a recycling center.
  • STOP using paper towels. Seriously, it is totally do-able. Buy numerous washable cloths for the kitchen, use old t-shirts and towels that you can wash for cleaning and spills, use a cloth to dry your hands. Eating out and thinking about using a paper towel to dry your hands? Why? Just shake them dry.

And the part you have all been anxiously waiting for the Q&A Trash Session!

Q. What do you do about toilet paper?
A. We use it. Let's get real people. We don't even want to go there even for mother earth.

Q. What do you do about tampax?
A. See above.

Q. What do you do about KLEENEX?
A. I have been using handkerchiefs. Actually as gross as it sounds it's MUCH better than tissues. You no longer have to have those eye sore tissue boxes around the house. And no more throwing away all those tissues.

Q. How do I know if I can recycle ------ ?
A. http://notrashchallenge.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-to-recycle-anything.html

Q. Why aren't you chewing gum?
A. It is not biodegradable. Why don't you swallow it? Because. That's why.

Q. How can I sign up for the 30 Day No Trash Challenge?
A. It's simple, just email Trashed out at ??? Trashed Out, what is your email??? We need some usability on this blog. A big SIGN UP for the challenge button. :)

Thanks Everyone that tuned in this month.
Goodbye. Adieu. Auf Wiedersehen. Gesundheit. Farewell.
(5 trash points if you know what movie that is from)

xoxoxo Shannon & Erik

P.S. Reuben and Lucy say thanks too. See them in picture 3 above. They figured they should get some blog play since they had so much poo trash.


And in another side note ...

I am moving across the country! And in the spirit of not-trashing I hope any of you who are in the Boston area will take a look at my Flickr album and see if there is anything you'd like to purchase. I will be having an "official" yard sale on the 11th-12th but this is a "preview" sale.

And yes, nice job Eric & Shannon!


Do I hear October calling?

It's almost October! It is hard for me to believe how fast this month has gone by. Erik and Shannon have done such a great job posting all through September. Thanks guys!
Now who will be our challenger for October? We need someone who is committed to not only not making trash but who will also be devoted to looking for alternatives to places in their lives where they do make trash and then telling us al about it it in daily posts. Well ok maybe not daily but as often and you can. And with lots of pictures. we love pictures!
So who's it going to be?
And on a side note...
Great job Shannon and Erik you are an inspiration to us all!


The Trash Confessional

So we have been doing pretty good on the trash. A typical day we make the following trash:
  • two small plastic containers that our allergy pills come in
  • plastic wine cork or bottle caps
  • dog poo
So really we have narrowed our trash down to nothing. A few things that I will confess that I have done and not reported on AKA The Trash Confessional.
  • I trashed away a coffee filter with coffee in the office. I didn't have a container to take it home in for the compost.
  • I have MULTIPLE times trashed my leftover food.
  • I trashed a whole meal full of food and containers at Finagle A Bagel (I feel super guilty about this one).
  • I replaced all my tires on my car and I am hoping they old were recycled but can't say for sure.
  • Finally Pictured above. We are getting our floors sanded and we literally taped the whole house up in PLASTIC and TAPE. Kitchen cabinets, doors, windows, and more. To top it off the Floor men left these 3 HUGE trash bags. I will note that we will only trash the tape. The plastic we will save and reuse for painting or other house projects as they come up. It might possibly be recyclable...but that's not too likely.
Now I'll be saying my Trash Mary's.


What does your recycling say about you?

Today there's a post on apartmenttherapy.com that asks what your recycling says about you.

Mine says that I get endless junk mail and catalogs, and only drink bottled beer.


How to Recycle ANYTHING

I must give a shout out to my sister Kate for bringing this to my attention. This month in Real Simple magazine they have an article about how to recycle anything. Check it out http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/0,21770,1835098,00.html

A few of my favorite things...

The things I am missing most during the no trash challenge:

  • Q-Tips - I like to use these to get the mascara off from under my eyes. And clean my ears. It's hard using a cloth for this.
  • Cotton balls to take my makeup off.
  • GUM - I haven't been chewing it because it is not biodegradable.
Oh and I did have to get new tires :( I hope they recycled my old ones or else I think I broke the record for the most trash during the challenge.

Next week is going to be sooooo hard. We are getting our floors redone. We have to hang PLASTIC throughout the entire house. Sheets might be a possible solution.


Recycle those soft plastics!

As promised here is a few samples of all the soft plastics you can recycle. Any plastic packaging really. Plastic that cheese comes wrapped in, plastic that the frozen pizza is wrapped in after you open the box, any and all plastic wrap, sandwich baggies... You get the idea.

You can't put them in the blue bin but most recycling centers will take them and so will many Whole Food stores.
You will see it cuts down your trash by a lot!


The Recycle Bank will reward you for recycling

A friend of mine who lives north of Boston told me about the Recycle Bank, a curbside pickup service offered by his town. They give you a big brown bin, and you fill it with ALL of your recyclables, and they pick it up, sort it, recycle it, track your recycling online, and send you rewards.

Our town does not offer curbside trash pickup, so we can't enroll, but this is a great option for those towns that do.

Day 15, and more TRASH...

Forgot to bring my plate & silverware to the lunchroom again.

I'll bring my napkin & plate home to compost/recycle, and put my fork in the trash shoebox.


It's Dump Day folks. Come rally round for some story time...

Saturday is dump day. I figured I would walk you through what doing to the dump is all about. Enjoy!
Here is our trash from the 13 days so far. I am waiting for trashed out to give me some ideas of how I can recycle all this plastic. Most everything in here are plastic bags of sorts.

You can see the plastic bags better once I open the box. Plastic is so evil.

Here is the trash that we made this week that we cannot save until the end of the challenge. 2 dog poop bags and small paintrollers we used and the bag they came in. Yes, we could wash out the rollers etc. but it takes sooooooo much water to wash them. So we are going out on a limb here and throwing them out. But considering we just primed and painted two rooms and that is all our trash. That's not too bad.

Erik with the trash.

This is the recyclable pile. Everything we used that we will recycle. Pretty good compared to the trash pile.

Thought you might like a close up of the compost. YUM YUM.

We enter the dump. As you can see in the way left hand side of the windshield there is a sticker. You must have this special sticker to enter the dump.

Erik first heads over with some beer bottles to the section where you recycle beer bottles or anything that you can get redeemed for. Usually there are kids working here collecting the cans for some fund raiser.

We played the wii last night and my remote needed new batteries. Here are the old ones.

I'll put them in the Lead Acid Battery section.

Not for the trash. Here are the two poopy bags and brush rollers. Where will I throw them?

Here is the bin for trash . Needham residents are required to buy special yellow bags to put our garbage in. If you do not use a yellow bag then you have to pay $5 per bag you throw away. Yellow bags are not cheap though . They are about $1.50 each. You can buy like 10 glad bags for that price.

I take the risk and throw my poop and paint rollers in the pile. I really don't think I should use a whole big yellow bad just to throw those away.

The co-mingle pile. This is where almost everything else goes. Bottled water, milk jugs, plastic containers, cans, and much more. They all live here and co-mingle together.

Next I am on to heavy cardboard. Your cardboard has to fit between the slots in this bin. So for example, if it were a box you would have to break it down and lay it flat to fit.

I am recycling 2 pizza boxes from lunch the other day. My friend I ate with said in his town you can't recycle pizza boxes because they have had food in them. Is this true? Has anyone ever heard of this?

This is the paper and light cardboard bin. It's getting full.

Here are our recyclables that I will put in the bin.

You can see that bin in the back ground now. It's being lifted up by a truck to go empty it. Then they bring back a new one.

Here is the truck driving away with all the recyclables light card board and paper on it.

There is even a whole place just for good will items.

A place to donate books.

A place for metal only. Here you see random stuff. Like old bed frames and other strange things.

Sadly this area was empty today. It's one of the most itneresting to see. It's for TV's, computers, glass, gas containers , and other odd stuff. I'll see if we can't get a better pict next weekend.

Here is where garbage only goes. So when they take the yellow bags they bring it here to this building. And dump it inside. Then once they do that a machine comes and mushes it all around sort of compacting it. I am not sure after that what happens. I might try to dig into that for a future post.

If you have logs you need to get rid of.

Here is the yard waste pile. So here you can dump grass, leaves, dirt, christmas trees, and compost.

I will now dump our two containers of compost.


Nice pile of compost. And behind that is the gras that is growing over one big pile of trash.

As we leave the dump there are always people collecting money.

Signs when you leave the dump. I always like to see how many tons Needham recycled each month. Like last month they recycled 404 TONS. This month and it is only the 14th they have recycled 445 tons already (that is just because everyone is back from the Cape).

Well we hope you enjoyed the dump pictures. There is also a yard sale section, wood pile and much more. I'll try to get some more picts of interest over the next few weeks.


Cardinal Sin

I won't name names but somebody brought home a plastic bag from homedepot. And it wasn't me. Shame shame.


Busy busy busy little recycling bees

Well you haven't heard from us for a day because we are mastering the trash challenge. We have been busy busy busy little recycling bees and producing no trash.

Some major trash items we avoided were selling our furniture on craigslist. We sold the following: couch, chair, ottoman, coffee table, and sofa table.

Why did we sell it? We just need to revamp with new and smaller stuff that fits in the petite palace.

With an empty house we decided to eat out at the Dunn and Gaherin's Restaurant. LOVE this place and they love the paper products. We got paper napkins and place mats. Don't worry though we took them home for the recycling.

Oh and Erik did have a complete lunch fail with trash today. He mentioned something about plastic silverware and a disaster. I think he will be reporting on this soon.


Today on the menu: Breakfast Trash and for Lunch no Trash

We are getting new furniture. And in the theme of recycling we are selling our old stuff on craigslist. This morning I met the guy coming over to get the furniture. In an effort to keep our dogs off of him I held the dogs. Worked great for keeping the dogs away but not so great for my outfit. Got dog hairs all over me. And this meant trash. I had to quick use a tape roller to get it off. On the brighter side there was no trash at lunch today.