Author Topic: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?  (Read 3537 times)

shelivesthedream

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Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« on: November 06, 2016, 07:32:28 AM »
I know a lot of MMMers are into the Zero Waste movement in some way, or at least in reducing their consumption including packaging, and that there are a lot of ingenious people on here. I wanted to start a thread where we can help each other solve problems relating to waste in our daily lives, particularly packaging waste. I hope people can post their zero waste problems here and others can try to find a solution!

I'll start! We get through a fair amount of ibuprofen in this house, and we can only find it in blister packs in a box with a long explanatory leaflet. I'm in the UK but I wonder if anyone know any way I can buy ibuprofen in a less-packaged format?

marty998

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 01:09:28 PM »
Sorry, I don't have an answer on this particular problem, but I like the thread topic. (I'm guessing blister packs are necessary so the average consumer knows that their medication has not been tampered with).

My little waste problem is that so much at supermarkets is wrapped in plastic... even mini fruit boxes. Maybe the supermarkets could start a scheme where you can return plastic containers when finished with them for recycling?

Choices

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2016, 07:06:04 PM »
In the US, the warehouse stores sell ibuprofen by the ton in one large bottle. Are you able to import it legally via Amazon or a similar service?

The waste is annoying, but blister packs are very effective at cutting down on accidental medication overdoses by children who get into the stash. If you can't avoid the packaging, the reasoning behind it might make you hate it a tiny bit less.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 07:39:17 PM »
Same here in Canada.  You can buy ibuprofen in a bottle that is recyclable. 

We are fortunate to have a very developed recycling system (City of Vancouver) here so most things are recyclable.  I do hate all the soft plastic stuff but I can't seem to get away from it.  I generally buy in bulk (i.e. large bag of oats, large bag of raisins).  This stuff is harder to recycle but if you make a trip to a local depot you can get rid of it.  Same thing with the Styrofoam meat packaging. 

So, I don't have any big problems per-see.  I just like recycling so I want to learn more about ways to reduce as well.

I re-use all my plastic bags that I buy my vegetables in..  I split up large packages of meat into these bags or store bread I bake myself.  I also re-use my egg cartons for the kid's golf ball collection that we sell on Craigslist. 

backyardfeast

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2016, 08:38:57 PM »
Sigh. I have lofty zero-waste goals.  I love the Zero Waste Chef blog, and aspire to a minimalist, organic life.

We do lots of things right: grow lots of food, eggs, refill milk in glass jars, and a local bulk foods store has gone to using mason jars instead of bags. I buy loose tea there, can recycle DH's coffee bags there, refill my metal laundry soap container; so many good things. We compost a lot; chooks get some of the food scraps that are less good in the compost pile; we heat with wood and use scrap paper and newspaper and flyers as fire-starter.  We make our own soap and cleaning products, yogurt, etc and preserve a lot of our staples in re-usable jars. 

The tough one for us is soft plastics.  They are recyclable, but not in our curbside pick-up, which means I just never seem to get to it.  I would also love to cut down our recycling packaging, though.  We buy meat in bulk, but this past summer we had meat trays and aluminum cans for soda...one day we'll get a CO2 tank set up for our own sparkling water...

No tips on the ibuprofen, OP.  We buy at Costco in a big plastic container.  But if blister packs are the only waste you're producing, you're doing awesome! :-)  Thanks for starting this topic; I'm looking forward to learning from everyone.  And for helping me remember that we do pretty well, really.  It's easy to beat myself up for the things I know I could be doing better, but truthfully, we've worked at this for a long time and have made a big dent.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 08:57:03 PM »
I know a lot of MMMers are into the Zero Waste movement in some way, or at least in reducing their consumption including packaging, and that there are a lot of ingenious people on here. I wanted to start a thread where we can help each other solve problems relating to waste in our daily lives, particularly packaging waste. I hope people can post their zero waste problems here and others can try to find a solution!

I'll start! We get through a fair amount of ibuprofen in this house, and we can only find it in blister packs in a box with a long explanatory leaflet. I'm in the UK but I wonder if anyone know any way I can buy ibuprofen in a less-packaged format?

Hmm I've lived in the UK and Australia and I suspect there is a rule in the UK as to how much you can buy at once, so the bottles with 90 caps may no longer be widely available. Maybe ask at a pharmacy at the counter whether they carry bulk options. In Aus, I got 500 generic paracetamol for cheap at a pharmacy, whereas the supermarkets only stock 24 packs because they are limited as to how much they can sell to one customer.

Potential use for blister packs - string them up to scare birds from veggies. And feed the paper to a worm farm/ shred for compost. My supermarket has a bin for all plastic wrapping including that thin film that comes on so many things.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 09:08:49 PM »
Sorry, I don't have an answer on this particular problem, but I like the thread topic. (I'm guessing blister packs are necessary so the average consumer knows that their medication has not been tampered with).

My little waste problem is that so much at supermarkets is wrapped in plastic... even mini fruit boxes. Maybe the supermarkets could start a scheme where you can return plastic containers when finished with them for recycling?

Kinda exists: http://redcycle.net.au/redcycle/ 

Both soft and hard plastic are now recyclable in my local council now too - so things like plastic bread bags can go in my recycling bin (better not to use them in the first place, of course!).
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 09:10:32 PM by HappierAtHome »

FIRE_at_45

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2016, 09:25:32 PM »
Sigh. I have lofty zero-waste goals.  I love the Zero Waste Chef blog, and aspire to a minimalist, organic life.

We do lots of things right: grow lots of food, eggs, refill milk in glass jars, and a local bulk foods store has gone to using mason jars instead of bags. I buy loose tea there, can recycle DH's coffee bags there, refill my metal laundry soap container; so many good things. We compost a lot; chooks get some of the food scraps that are less good in the compost pile; we heat with wood and use scrap paper and newspaper and flyers as fire-starter.  We make our own soap and cleaning products, yogurt, etc and preserve a lot of our staples in re-usable jars. 

The tough one for us is soft plastics.  They are recyclable, but not in our curbside pick-up, which means I just never seem to get to it.  I would also love to cut down our recycling packaging, though.  We buy meat in bulk, but this past summer we had meat trays and aluminum cans for soda...one day we'll get a CO2 tank set up for our own sparkling water...

No tips on the ibuprofen, OP.  We buy at Costco in a big plastic container.  But if blister packs are the only waste you're producing, you're doing awesome! :-)  Thanks for starting this topic; I'm looking forward to learning from everyone.  And for helping me remember that we do pretty well, really.  It's easy to beat myself up for the things I know I could be doing better, but truthfully, we've worked at this for a long time and have made a big dent.

+1 You are badass! 

Half-Borg

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 04:55:39 AM »
Are you able to import it legally via Amazon or a similar service?
Sending something across the ocean to avoid some blisters is hardly eco-friendly.


Quote
I would also love to cut down our recycling packaging, though.
I'm with you in this. I'm pretty sure recycling is bullshit, because plastic is almost impossible to recycle to a same quality product and gets burned up anyway. I still put everything applicable in the bin for recycling just in case though.

Meowmalade

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 08:18:35 AM »
Love this thread and am following!  Unfortunately, I don't think we can aspire to zero waste but we try to reuse/rehome everything that we can.  My funny habit is collecting chip and cereal bags which I use for cat output.  When a bag is filled, I tape it up and throw it in the trash.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2016, 12:15:47 PM »
Gosh, blister packs are REALLY NOT the only waste we produce! But we swapped our bin sizes over a few weeks ago (big is now for recycling, small for rubbish) and as I'm the one who takes the rubbish out I'm working to eliminate the stuff that pisses me off the most. I don't know why, but blister packs inside cardboard boxes really tick me off. Food tins don't annoy me at all - junk mail (which we are STILL GETTING) drives me crazy.

Meowmalade

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2016, 01:40:43 PM »
Do you guys have "do not send" lists for junk mail in the UK?  For those in North America, don't forget that you have to renew this every 5 years: http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/

shelivesthedream

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 02:27:16 PM »
Do you guys have "do not send" lists for junk mail in the UK?  For those in North America, don't forget that you have to renew this every 5 years: http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/

Yes, but they only work for some categories of junk mail. If anyone is interested in the intricacies of junk mail in the UK, this website is very thorough: https://stopjunkmail.org.uk The main crap we get these days is the persistent "To the Occupier" adverts for Sky TV and utilities. Apparently this is very difficult to stop because it technically counts as "addressed mail" which means Royal Mail is obliged to deliver it, even though it obviously isn't actually addressed to any occupant within the house.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Zero Waste Problems - Can You Help?
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2016, 05:02:44 PM »
Do you guys have "do not send" lists for junk mail in the UK?  For those in North America, don't forget that you have to renew this every 5 years: http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/

Thanks for that reminder! Between that and paper karma, I'm hoping our tide of junk slows. Since moving, it's been intense!