Trash Audit.

July 23, 2018

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Hello. I am Rupa, I own Love This, a biz committed to creating positive impacts with our purchases and being more mindful about what we own. I live the values of my biz in my personal life and Sustainably Rupa is my way of merging both my worlds. What you'll see here is me finding my personal style through sustainable fashion and sharing my commitment to living a more sustainable life.

Thanks for following along.

**DISCLAIMER - I WROTE THIS JUST BEFORE I WENT TO SEE A PLASTIC OCEAN.  I DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE MY THOUGHTS BECAUSE THEY REFLECTED HOW I JUST GAVE UP! AFTER WATCHING THE MOVIE, I KNOW I HAVE TO DO BETTER, CAN'T JUST THROW MY HANDS UP AND SAY THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION. SO POST MOVIE IDEAS ARE IN BLUE, JUST LIKE OUR OCEANS (even with micro-plastics floating in them!).***

The best way I've found to understand how much waste we were producing as a family was to look in our trash can  + recycling bin. About maybe a year or two ago, I swapped out our larger trash can that was sitting next to our kitchen counter for a smaller one that I could put under the sink. I did this because I hated the look of the trash can, I just didn’t want to see it.  

Out of that gesture, I became very observant of what I was putting in the trash.  I had to take it out more frequently because it was so small. I found myself looking at the items I was putting in there and not wanting to actually put it in, because it would fill up and I didn’t want to have to take it out...again. This small trash can really made me think about what part of each thing I bought would end up there.

The recycling bin has always been under our sink and it would fill up so quickly and I was used to taking that out frequently and felt really good about myself cause heck yeah I am keeping things out of the trash! Yeah…..but....NO...not really. Recycling is not the answer. (More on this on another post.)

For the audit, I basically laid out some paper and emptied out each bin and separated like items together and evaluated! I asked myself which of these items doesn’t have to be in here?

This was in my Trash Can for 1 week

I separated them into groups so I could “bulk edit”. It wasn’t gross because there were no wet items, we compost so no food waste in there.

  1. Plastic bags
  2. Receipts
  3. Takeout
  4. Mail
  5. Paper towels + napkins
  6. Misc

Which of these items doesn’t have to be in here? Red I can think twice about, Black no option. Blue post watching A Plastic Ocean.

1.  Plastic bags- All from food items.
    • Flour - I could buy it in bulk, but this one is “Indian” flour?? Okay yeah I can try bulk whole wheat flour and not buy this big bag! 
    • Indian snacks - I can't do anything but not buy it, but I love it? I am just not going to get them, plus they are soooo bad for you.
    • Bagel chips - Not gonna make my own and I only get them on sale once in a while? Emailed Terracycle to see how I can start to send them all my non recyclables, cause they take ALOT of them!
    • Ciabatta bread + Pita Bread - There is not a place in town that I can get all my bread items, in my budget and in my own bag. Ciabatta bread just needs to get replaced by something at Idle Hands Bread Company. Pita bread bag I think can be recycled per this. Will check out bag recycling sign at Kroger to be sure. Overall just need to budget our breaded items and see if I can get it locally with reusable bag!
    • Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream sandwiches - Why did I get the individually packed ones? I’ll get the pint size in cardboard container.
    • Cheese - I have to try getting it at the deli counter again in my own container, I failed miserably the first time and paid so much for too much cheese.
      2.  Receipts - There is no solution!? They can’t be recycled and you can’t say no I don’t want it, even if you do they just trash it. (except at a few places where they won’t even print them)

      3.  Takeout - This is all my husband. His work schedule is crazy and he often does fast food:(.  I could pack him at least his lunch?

      4.  Mail - I don’t know what packages are gonna come in when they arrive:(

        5Paper towels + napkins - We usually don’t use either, I keep them around cause my mom and mother in law cannot get on board with cloth. We tend to still reach for them in some cases. I need to purchase the un-paper towels and put them on the paper towel holder. And cut up old clothes into rags for messy oily cleanups.

        6.  Misc - random things that has to go in trash?

        • Plastic rim of the glass milk jar
        • Balloon
        • Metal cap to glass wine bottle
        • Sticky paper that belonged to something

        This was in my Recycle Bin for 1 week

        I separated them into groups so I could “bulk edit” again.

        1. Glass
        2. Aluminum
        3. Paper
        4. Cardboard
        5. Plastic

        Which of these items doesn’t have to be in here? Red I can think twice about, Black no option.  Blue post watching A Plastic Ocean.

        1.  Glass - I love my wine.

        2.  Aluminum - I have significantly reduced my aluminum intake by buying in bulk. These tomato cans though were to make a big batch of pasta sauce, the only pasta sauce my kids will eat. I can use fresh tomatoes!!! I can!! I will take longer to make, but I can make a lot at one time right?

        3.  Paper

        • Tea bags - It took me forever to get to used to tea that didn’t come from the Indian store. But I wanted to buy Fair Trade tea and so here we are with individually wrapped bags, but the tea bag can be composted. I can get loose leaf tea from the same brand, but it never turns out well for me and I’ll have to order it online whereas now I just get it locally. Pros and Cons, gonna stick to this tea, the kids took the tea bag paper for art!
        • Notes - I need to brain dump one day and I used all this paper, it was well worth it to get organized. If not here, I would have scribbled it all on some other pieces of paper.
        4.  Cardboard
          • Waffles  - Gonna make pancakes at home and freeze them 
          • Cereal - what to do?
          • Tag of piece of new clothing  - It was a gift so what to do? Even used clothing has some type of tag with it and the plastic thing holding it to the garment. Speaking of which, where did the plastic piece from this?!

          5.  Plastic

          • Croissants - Again no place in town I can get this quantity, for this price, fresh and in my bag locally. Just gotta work with what I can get locally with in my budget and in my own bag!
          • Blueberries - I should get a farmers market! If I can’t make it to the market, go without blueberries and pick another fruit? 

          I am not going to prevent everything from ending up in the landfill, but I can make better choices, learn from my actions and make changes. It doesn’t hurt to clearly see what you are throwing out right? I am not buying anything in plastic unless I can reuse it or recycle it. I will not send plastic to the landfill!


          Q: Will you do a trash audit?



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