5.30.2008

The big idea

Last Thursday while riding my bike to work I said to myself, "Hey, I wonder if I could not make any trash for one month?" At first I thought "Yes! definitely!" I already recycle, compost my food scraps, drink my tea out of a re-usable mug and bring my lunch to work in tupperware containers. Making no trash was going to be easy! Not so fast, sister. Not as easy as you think. Once I started to look at all of the small things I use everyday, I realized not making trash was going to be harder than I thought.

First I had to define what "trash" was going to mean. There are so many things that humans leave behind in their environment: wastewater, car exhaust, etc. I know myself pretty well after 32 years. I come up with some huge and exciting ideas that never make it passed the thinking about it and telling everyone about it stage. I knew if I had to change my lifestyle too drastically I wasn't going to make it the whole 30 days. I was going to have to start small and manageable. So I decided to narrow it down to anything that would end up in a landfill. That would be a nice challenge for myself that was kind and gentle to the earth while helping me to be more mindful of the way I live: what I buy, what I eat, what I use and most importantly what I throw away.

The next step was to make a list of all the little unexpected things I use that become trash. I would need to start looking for non-trashy alternatives. The list was short at first but I knew it would be longer before the month was over -- there are so many things I take for granted that become trash. To start out though, it looked like this:


kitty litter -- Not only do I scoop out the litter every day, I also throw away the litter weekly in a plastic bag. Yikes! This would be a hard one to find an alternative for. I have indoor kitties, so they can't just do their business outside.

Floss -- Can I compost this?

Q-tips -- Oh man! I love cleaning my ears after I get out of the shower.








hair that collects in the drain -- I usually throw this in the trash, but I think I can compost it instead.






my "products" and makeup containers -- Better make sure these are all recycleable!


food packaging, like the plastic bags that bread and english muffins come in -- Looks like I better find a bakery that sells individual loaves without a bag. Maybe down the road if I get really adventurous I will bake my own bread, but I did say small and manageable... I really want to succeed at this.


feminine hygiene products -- Now, I know there are some cloth alternatives that until now I couldn't bring myself to use, but hey, I love the earth! So I will give it a try. Maybe I won't mind it so much after all... Stay tuned! More on that later in the month ;)