Resolution Update

City Services - Yardwaste 2So, remember that New Year’s Resolution? (I mean mine, not yours. You can stop feeling guilty now.) I resolved to do something about waste: create less and bring less into my house. So I thought I’d update you on how I’m doing.

I took the garbage out last week for the first time this year. That was pretty exciting. Not as good as the folks in Ontario who took a whole year to fill their garbage can but for me this is progress. There’s a few things I’m learning:

City Services - Yardwaste 1The secret is having a ton of separate containers to sort garbage. We have garbage cans in each room, a recycling container in the office for paper and one under the kitchen sink for multi-recyclables. We have a large basket in the living/dining room area for newspapers and other larger paper/cardboard. There’s a small recycling container in our bathroom for toilet paper rolls and the few plastic containers that we use there, like shampoo bottles, for example. I have a compost bucket under my sink for fresh kitchen scraps and one in my freezer for cooked food scraps.

To this I’ve added bags in our bedrooms and office for snotrags so that we can compost these. I’ve also become much more diligent about food containers – we don’t have a lot of fast food type containers coming into our house but when we do, I now compost these. This one simple thing has made an enormous difference in the volume of garbage we throw out.

What I’ve noticed is that most of my garbage is non-recyclable plastic. Which brings me to point #2. City Services - Yardwaste 3

  1. Most of my garbage is non-recyclable plastic or styrofoam. So this speaks to what I bring into the house. Most of that plastic/foam comes from how I buy meat products. I try to buy meat wrapped in butcher paper and then use that to line my food compost bucket. The thing is, I don’t have unlimited income either. So one of my favourite places to buy meat (because they sell non-medicated, grass fed, happy animals meat) still puts most of their stuff on styro trays and wraps it in plastic. There are other places where I can also purchase the same happy meat which comes wrapped in recyclable or compostable packaging but it’s much more expensive. So, I guess I could eat less meat – which is totally a do-able thing – and the only purchase it where I can get it in recyclable or compostable packaging. Or… what? Any other suggestions?
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8 Responses to Resolution Update

  1. kathy J says:

    I applaud your efforts. Wonder if you could have your butcher place the meat you buy on the styrofoam meat trays you have washed to be reused? The meat could then be placed in a freezer bag to keep it free of contaminants. I have been making an effort to wash and reuse my zip lock bags as I use a lot of them. Everything food wise is getting increasingly expensive so I really try to buy only enough for our use and try to avoid throwing out food like I used to in the past.

    • great suggestions! i’ve also started meal planning and buying only what i need. doing a mid-week produce shop also helps reduce waste (although i never feel like i’m wasting food if i throw it in the composter!)

  2. Lisa says:

    What’s a newspaper? 😉

  3. Ann says:

    It’s so great what you’re doing. I often envy the Lower Mainland’s recycling/waste disposal programs, as Winnipeg lags behind in that. Only a few plastics are acceptable in the recycle bin and I feel so crummy throwing the rest out. And with our tiny concrete backyard, we haven’t done the composting thing yet but have no option with the City helping to manage it. In my shopping, it has changed how I purchase – about half the time. I’ll go to pick up a salad package and then think . . . no, I should just buy the loose leaf without the packaging, etc. But then next time I don’t make that same decision because I just want the convenient mixed organics mix.
    When it comes to meat, however, this past year we opted into a cow share – which was expensive. Means we just have beef once/week, I get organic chickens from a farm, which then translates into chicken bi-weekly or so. Perhaps our oldest captured it with a nice monotone yesterday when she came in the door after school and got a whiff of dinner: “Let me guess . . . we’re having beans or lentils.” 🙂 It’s definitely pricier purchasing our meats this way, but I feel a lot better knowing they’ve had some form of ethical care in their short lives and they come wrapped in good, old brown paper packaging. Maybe check out local options on sites like this: http://www.getlocalbc.org/where to see if it might be affordable (with the lessening of how much meat you get to eat). 🙂
    Thanks for encouraging us to live more simply by sharing your ways of working at it.

    • Hi Ann, I’ve often thought about buying half a cow but don’t like the idea of having meat sit in my freezer for such a long time. Maybe something to reconsider. I encourage you to check out Winnipeg blogger Anna-Marie Janzen who has all kinds of great ideas about reducing waste and speaks from your context. https://tobeandnottobuy.wordpress.com/

      • Ann says:

        We just got a quarter of a cow as we just have a small freezer downstairs. It hasn’t been too much to store, thankfully, and it sure was good incentive to use up what was hanging out in my freezer! I follow Anna-Marie’s blogposts and have the privilege of being at church with her. 🙂

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