How we reached
zero-waste, well almost!
Reciting the mantra
of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, we've changed a lot of our habits.
Curious about the Recycle part, we decided to weigh and log all our
"trash". We did so for 7 months, from July 2002 till Jan 2003, with the
intent to recycle all we could. I had even setup a new compost bin!
100lbs/month, our 2-adult family's waste was composed of 28% mixed
paper, 17% recyclable aluminum, glass, metal & plastic containers,
and 2% that we took to a special recycling center in Pottstown. In
addition, there was the 37% of food scraps that we composted. That's
84%. Only the remaining 16% went to the dumpster!
stuff we didn't think of weighing included clean plastic bags that we
took to the supermarket's recycling bin, and reusable clothes &
house wares that we took to local thrift stores. Of course, we try to
carry canvas bags wherever we go, to the grocery store, the pharmacy,
the liquor store, etc so we don't return with yet another plastic bag!
was really proud of our numbers. Recently, however, when I shared these
numbers with a friend, though he was impressed with the 84% diversion,
he inquired what the remaining 16% consisted of. Aargh! I hadn't logged
this! Still, since I maintain the habits from our 7-month waste
analysis, it appears that the large & heavy items are mainly old
shoes & tiles from a bathroom floor that needed a re-do. My friend
said Nike recycles athletic shoes and artists (he's one) will take the
tiles for mosaic projects.
maybe we could have achieved 95% diversion! Sounds almost fantastic;
that a zero-waste lifestyle can be within our reach...now all we need
is a composting toilet, but I'm not certain how to get that past the
on April 29, 2004 by Meenal