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.


Day Nine's Trash FAIL

Today I ate lunch at work. I used my plate, bowl, utensils and dishcloth from home. Things were lookin' good.

Unfortunately, I had too many onions in my salad, and I didn't want to stink out my neighbors at work, so I threw them in the trash.

I've also been collecting my paper towels as I use them. Paper towels are nearly impossible to avoid at work. I keep catching myself hesitating as I reach for them to dry my hands, bowl, plate, mug, etc.

For the rest of the week, I'm going to bring my dishtowel in my pocket around the office. This will certainly cut down on my consumption, and is a likely candidate for permanent trash change.

Day 9 trash total

Picture 1
All the trash so far except 2 lost champagne glasses and dog poop. I still think we can recycle some of this stuff. I need some help. Where do I find out what plastic bags are recyclable? I have LOTS of plastic in here.

Also can't I recycle the cheap-o Parmesan cheese cans? Seems like such a drag to have to throw those out.

Picture 2
I stuffed as much as I could of the trash into the shoe box. For now it still fits except the parm containers and bubble wrap.

Maybe I should compile a list this weekend of what is in here and see if you all can help me figure out how to recycle it. Like wine corks? bottle caps? plastic bags? dryer sheets?

Compost ='s PU

Thought you might like an update on our composting status.
  • We are doing it.
  • I dropped one batch off at the dump last Friday and will do the same this week.
  • It stinks. PU.

Plastic, Plastic, and MORE Plastic

Seems like the only trash I make is plastic. It's the devil. Tonights trash includes plastic that our fish was wrapped in and plastic that LUCKY magazine came in. Why in gods name they must wrap a magazine in plastic to mail to me is beyond me.

So tonights trash total: 3

Lesson Learned: Don't forget to order lunch sans silverware

We switched up lunch today and hit up Finagle A Bagle. I brought my own silverware and napkins yay! I forgot to tell the lady not to give me plastic silverware, and she did, boo! Thankfully my friend needed some so it got used.

We recycled everything but the wax paper and plastic silverware. Why on earth is plastic silverware non-recyclable? For the love of god why?