Following on from my previous post about the landfill waste that I generated in February , this is a review of the landfill waste that I produced at home for the month of March.
During march I had my birthday and Easter, both of which are events that can generate a lot of waste. Thankfully my friends and family know me well enough to give gifts in reusable gift bags or boxes and to make the gifts as waste-free as possible. I am so grateful to have people around me who support my actions on waste, it really is a blessing.
But before launching into a review of March’s landfill waste, I think it is important that I explain my waste system. I have three ‘categories’ of landfill waste and I deal with them in different ways:
- At HOME my own personal landfill waste = anything that I have personally consumed that I cannot recycle. All of these items go into my waste jar for the month. This includes things like personal care products or food packaging from items that I have purchased and consumed without sharing.
- At HOME my shared landfill waste = anything that we consume as a family or anything consumed by the house that cannot be recycled. This waste is collected in our kitchen landfill bin (which is approx. 15 litres in size) . This waste stream includes items such as the bag from the specialist cat food that we have to give our cat. This also includes all of my boyfriends personal landfill waste (stuff that I haven’t bought or used) because he doesn’t have his own waste jar. The current bag inside this bin has not been emptied into the external wheelie bin since 25th January 2016, that’s one small carrier bag of waste for a quarter of the year!
- At WORK my landfill waste = anything that I personally have consumed or used at work which cannot be recycled. All of these items go into my work waste jar which sits on my desk. I started this jar on the 4th January 2016 and it is not even close to being full, my last work jar took seven months to fill, I am aiming to go the full year this time.
You might think that it is over-kill to separate out the landfill waste into three categories, but it helps me assess the items at the place that I consume them. For instance, if I took all my ‘work waste’ home and then assessed it along with my ‘home waste’ at a later date, then I couldn’t separate out the chocolate bar wrappers that I consumed at work vs the ones that I consumed at home. My behaviour is different when I am in different places and different situations, so if I know that I am eating lots of chocolate in un-recyclable wrappers at work, then I can make location-specific changes to my behaviour and put plans in place to avoid this waste in the future. (FYI: One way of avoiding this would be to buy a few bars of chocolate in recyclable packaging and keep them in my desk drawer for the moments that I am tempted.)
So now lets review the waste for March, this will help me to avoid amend my behaviour to avoid certain non-recyclable items in the future.
The waste from March shows a few things:
- My last ever disposable razor head going into the landfill. I now use (and LOVE) my safety razor which has recyclable blades. I was obviously unhappy to send a razor blade to landfill during march but happy that it was the last one that I will ever send there
- The last sachet of ‘instant’ cous cous that I had left over from February. I no longer buy these due to the un-recyclable nature and the fact that it contains palm oil
- A lot of fruit stickers which is great for my health but unfortunately they cannot be recycled. I try to get the fruit without the stickers but sometimes cannot. The benefits of eating fruit outweigh the minuscule amount of waste produced by the stickers and so this doesn’t concern me too much
- A lot of sticky sheets from a cat-hair roller. If you have cats then you understand my pain, the hairs get everywhere and I cannot go out with clothes covered in cat hair. I have tried a traditional ‘lint brush’, which is great for removing lint but not pet hair. I will keep searching for an alternative to this. If you know of a better waste-free way to remove pet hair from clothes then please let me know!
- The majority of the waste is either sticky items (fruit stickers, mail address labels, bits of sticky tape or pet hair sticky sheets) or multi-material plastic foil (sweetie wrappers, bottle tops or food packaging).
- A piece of dental floss – there are times when it’s the only thing that will work to remove something from between your teeth!
- Two non-recyclable wrappers from stock cubes. These stock cubes are Aldi own brand and we didn’t realised that although the packaging looks like foil, its actually plastic-foil and cannot be recycled. I will be swapping back to OXO stock cubes which are 100% foil wrapped and I can recycle foil at my local supermarket.
All in all I am pretty happy with the waste from March. Could I have done better? Probably, but it could be a lot worse too! It’s really important to acknowledge how far you have come in the race to zero waste, I no longer beat myself up for the occasional slip up.
My tip for you, is to start to your own waste collection, it could be that you have a jar or you might even need a bucket to start with, but it really helps to review your waste regularly and take notes on what you can improve on. I also highly recommend assessing the waste in the place you create it, this way you can make the connection between the waste and the behaviour that is creating the waste. This is the first step towards eliminating the wasteful behaviour.