My husband and I started collecting our trash on August 26, 2015. We had just previously received some media attention and were asked if we also had a "garbage jar". We didn't but got curious. What would be in our jar? What are our "problem areas" we still needed to work on?
It's now been three months, and yesterday we emptied our jar to have a closer look at the landfill waste we have generated so far:
|What kind of waste we generated||Will we be able to avoid it in the future?|
|What I cut off my orthopedic arch support 😝||I sure hope this one will last a long time and the next one will be fitted better!|
|Bottle caps (metal)||We definitely need to work harder on saying no to beverages with bottle caps!!|
|Bottle caps (plastic)||We can now buy cooking oil in bulk! So we will be able to eliminate some plastic bottle caps. We have also reduced our soy sauce consumption to one big bottle a year, but that bottle does come with a plastic bottle cap...|
|A coupon card made from plastic||#WTF?? Since when do you have to give out your "20% off" coupons as plastic cards?? Came in the mail and I called them immediately asking them to remove us from their list!|
|The broken handle of a cup||Unfortunately, I'm very clumsy. We are still using the cup for soap, but this month I also managed to break a drinking glass and a jar 😞! Will definitely have learn to be more careful!|
|A razor blade (wrapped in a piece of plastic and tied with an elastic for safety reasons)||Razor blades (the ones you use for double-edge razors) are metal-only and recyclable!
|Fruit stickers (not recyclable due to the glue)||We are proud to say that except for bananas we now buy everything sticker-free! Thanks to our two local health food stores that offer a lot of sticker-free regional fruits and veggies!|
|Tape||We will keep trying to avoid tape!|
|Labels and tape from our label maker||Will use up this roll of tape and then get rid of the label maker, hopefully we will have everything labeled correctly by then 😉.|
|An interdental brush my dentist gave me||Will only use compostable dental floss from now on. I have ordered enough floss (no plastic packaging!) to last me 2 years 😄.|
|Plastic bottle of our vitamin B12 supplement||As vegans, we won't be able to eliminate this one though. However, this is a highly dosed one that we don't have to take daily, so this bottle lasts both of us an entire year.|
|Plastic seal and this little package thingy that is supposed to absorb the moisture||This was from our new bottle of vitamin B12, I'm afraid we won't be able to avoid this one either...|
|Plastic wrap from our bamboo toilet seat and our new (ironically) plastic-free lunch box||I stuffed it into the vitamin B12 bottle, hopefully we won't be collecting more of these since these things are are supposed to last a seriously long time.|
Additionally to the landfill waste in the jar we have also generated other kinds of waste though:
- Glass: 2 glass bottles (1 bottle of oil, and 1 of maple syrup), 1 drinking glass and 1 jar I broke - will go to recycling
- Paper: 875 g of paper waste - a part of it will probably end up in our worm bin for composting, the rest will be recycled
- Organic: Most of our kitchen scraps we compost in our worm bin in the kitchen. What cannot be fed to the worms (2 handfuls every 2 weeks) unfortunately goes into the "normal" bin for landfill waste though, since our landlord didn't agree to have a curb-side compost bin for our house, and it's forbidden by law to put your waste into somebody else's bin in Germany 😢
So that's it! As you can see, we also try to recycle LESS (not more) and like life in general, it's a work in process.
Please do let us know if you have any ideas, tips, better alternatives! We are always on the look out and like to try new things :)!!
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Thanks for posting this I liked reading this. cheers - calum
Thanks for sharing this. I will also try to ask my husband and do a garbage jar. I enjoy reading your article. I am now very curious on what is going to happen with our garbage jar.
This is such an amazing article. My family and I plants a tree every weekend to different places that we can go for a weekend family activity. I love to teach my child to be aware in saving the environment and be one of many who is helping in saving the mother earth.
Joshua Howard says
Thank you for this post! And thank you for helping people to live a more sustainable lifestyle!