Wow, so it has been one entire year already! It has been four months since the last #TrashTalk here on the blog, so it is now about time I let you in on what we have in our trash jar after one year – all the numbers and .
What is it that we collect in our trash jar?
In our trash jar we (my husband and I) collect whatever probably cannot be recycled or is difficult to, which just means plastic and general waste go in there. Yes, I am fully aware that PET and other kinds of plastics are recycleable – however, all is not gold that glitters. As soon as it is a mix of materials (e.g. milk cartons, labelled PET bottles, produce bags with stickers on them) it gets very very complicated, because the material needs to be separated. This will depend on the glue used and the properties of the other materials. Cartons like Tetrapak are said to be recycleable. But did you know that only an estimated 10 % of these actually do get recycled worldwide (Source: German Documentary Die Mogelverpackung - Wie öko sind Tetra Pak und Co.?)? Too soiled, too small or attached to something else will lower its chances of being recycled.
On the other hand, paper, metal, glass and organic waste are usually and rather easily recycled ♻️. Of course we also collect these kinds of waste, and we also do our best to reduce our recycleable waste to as little as possible.
It turned out our trash jar was not a quart jar as we assumed! My mom took a look at it and went: "Nah, that's definitely too small to be a quart jar." She took another exact same one, filled it with water and measured the water – 3 cups. So now you have it, our jar only has a capacity of 750 ml – listen to your moms 😂.
I'd say the jar is pretty full but not maxed out. We probably could have packed it more efficiently too, if we were to take everything out and really stuff it in there. To be honest I just couldn't be bothered. There are some sharper items like a broken cup in there so... naaaah, not worth cutting myself 😜.
So what are the numbers 😉?
- Plastic and general waste: 275 g/0.61 lbs
- Glass waste:
- 4x 1 liter/33.8 oz bottles
- 2x 375 ml/12.7 oz maple syrup bottles
- 1x 2 liter jar
- 1x 750 ml/25.4 oz jar without a lid
- 1x shoe box of smashed glass – did I say that I was clumsy 🙈?
- Paper waste: 2.596 g/5.72 lbs
- Metal waste: 105 g/3.7 oz
- Organic waste: We still compost all of our kitchen scraps in our worm bin. We used to have around 1-2 handful every 2 weeks of organic waste that is not supposed to go into a worm bin (i.e. banana, citrus, onion, or garlic peels). We had to put this waste into our curb-side trash can because our apartment building does not have an organic waste bin and yup, here in Germany it is indeed illegal to throw your waste into somebody else’s bin. Anyway, we were able to reduce the amount of what we had to put into the general waste bin to not even a small fistful every 2 weeks, because our wormies have been so very sexually active to a point where our worm bin is like a spring break party zone, and our worms so out of it they don't even care about what it is we are feeding them. Oh, what a life!
So what's in the jar?
Receipts – tons and tons of receipts 😠
Sighs. A big part of the content in our trash jar consists of receipts. Receipts are BPA-coated and should not be recycled to avoid BPA contamination of the products made from recycled paper and pollution of the ground water. Yack!
We were so successful the first eight months! Then, suddenly, we got straws even though we told them we insisted on not getting a straw and even showed them our stainless steel straw. For some reason this suddenly happened three times in the past four months! And another straw is on me. I was distracted and forgot to tell the waiter. Two out of the four times they even put TWO straws in each drink. Definitely one of the zero waste face palm moments...
We are proud to be able to say that, with the exception of bananas, we now get all of our produce sticker-free 💪. Not always receipt-free (nope, not even at the farmers' market), but at least sticker-free.
Plastic windows from envelopes
Yup, we still get mail, but probably only the bare minimum. Sometimes I do still try to reduce the amount, I even asked when the city sent us our election voting cards 😝. I thought I'd at least have to give it a try 😉.
I didn't count all the windows, but there are probably around 50 in our jar.
Tickets for public transportation
Most of the time we get online tickets, which works well enough here in Germany, even when we went to The Netherlands and England – by train. Sometimes we fail at getting electronic tickets though. Like when we were in Munich for a day and they wanted to check our credit scores for two measly tickets. Or in England where their website asked us for a British bank account. And since most tickets are seemingly printed on thicker thermopaper (= BPA-coated) they also end up in our jar.
- 1 smashed cup
- 2 vitamin B12* plastic pill containers
- 1 plastic seal hiding in a jar, 2 plastic seals from our vitamin B12 supplement
- My old health insurance card
- 2 single-use plastic wrist bands (from a buffet place)
- The plastic wrap from a present I did not manage to refuse
- The plastic wrap from the bamboo toilet seat we bought when our toilet seat suddenly broke
- The small piece of plastic that came with a new SD card I needed for shooting video
- The trimmings of my orthopedic arch support
- Plastic lids (maple syrup, vitamin B12 pill container)
- 2 blisters from my antiallergenic meds
- Small pieces of plastic from tape on envelopes, pieces that broke off my phone cover (which by the way is the old cell phone cover of my publisher!), polyester threads pulled from shirts, labels...
* Supplementing vitamin B12 is very important if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, since vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products. However, nowadays livestock are fed vitamin B12 supplements because of factory farming, so the humans eating them can get their vitamin B12. Personally, we prefer to just skip the animal and to take the supplement directly😉.
Sooo... We have started a new trash jar and are happy the last one actually lasted us one entire year, which we weren't too sure it would. We will not toss its content just yet, but keep the jar as it is and bring it to talks and such. Good thing my mom gave me the another identical jar to fill after she checked the capacity LOL 😉.
Wow, that's crazy impressive!!!
Concerning the receipts I wonder though how you avoid them? I remember you explaining in another post that if the receipt is printed, you take it with you, so I assume that you try to get the cashier not to print it. But how on earth do you do that? Many years ago I worked in a shop, and at least there the printing was kind of automatic - once the customer made a payment and you cashed it into the machine, the receipt came out. It seems to be the same when you pay with a card, the receipt is automatically printed. I've also heard that in restaurants and similar places they are even legally obliged to print the receipt due to taxation.
(Just saw that there already was some discussion on this on your German page, but I thought I'd post my comment anyways 'cause I bet there are many people who'd like to hear more about this specific issue ;-)...)
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