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Monday, February 18, 2008

Amandajane over at Wisebread posted a 'zero waste' challenge last week, and although there were lots of comments about it, I think I'm the only one who tried it out (Sunday to Sunday---yesterday).

Here was Amandajane's original post at Wisebread:

I propose a challenge! How about we try for zero household waste for a week? The parameters would have to be decided upon but I thought I'd put it out there.

Since one of the ways I lowered my expenses in the past three months was to have my trash pickup just once a month instead of weekly, I've been keeping an eye on the trash bin anyway. This challenge intrigued me---I'm trying to decrease my trash creation anyway and this was a great incentive.

I have to say, being that I was sick almost all last week, I failed miserably at the 'zero waste' challenge. What with the hundreds of times I wiped my nose, the tissues added up fairly quickly. . . .Sorry, Amandajane!

However, I DID have some success:

1. I reached for paper towels more than once, and then stopped and grabbed a washable kitchen towel instead
2. I made sure that my medicines came in as little packaging as possible, and that all of it was eventually recyclable
3. I made my own bread from scratch last week, rather than buying packaged---primarily because I didn't want to leave the house, but in any case, I ended up with less waste.
4. I was very aware of everything that I used---I asked myself if I could compost or recycle it later, and if the answer was no, then I tried to find an alternative.

There are things that occurred to me during the challenge:

1. I need to buy more kitchen towels, and maybe just stop buying paper towels altogether. I reach for them way too often when a washable towel or sponge would do just as well.
2. I need to purchase some 'hankies' to use rather than using a tissue when my nose is running. . . .
3. I'd like to buy some more cloth napkins, as well. I have a small collection, but not enough, especially if I were to have more than six guests over. . . .

A great challenge, and one that I think many others could benefit from. One caveat: I'm not sure zero waste would work in a family with many members, or multiple kids---but I'll bet larger families could learn to decrease their waste substantially, just by being conscious of what they use on a daily basis. . . .

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