Author Topic: Approaching Zero Waste  (Read 18708 times)

Philodendron

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Approaching Zero Waste
« on: May 29, 2015, 04:30:22 PM »

I am happy to report that since April 1st, we have not thrown out a single bag of garbage. we have 1 small grocery store bag that is about 1/2 full - I would say it's about 5 cups worth of garbage in 2 months.

I am now trying to move further away from recycling, since I feel it is a lesser of evils, but still not the best option.

Anyone else out there trying to reduce their overall household waste?

« Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 07:47:06 PM by Philodendron »

Cookie

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 05:02:46 PM »
I am part of a ZW Facebook group that is really helpful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/journeytozerowaste/

We live in a remote area, so do not have access to bulk items. So instead we are focused on picking the better alternatives (paper instead of plastic packaging), reusable produce bags, making our own products, and overall less consumption. I would love to compost, but it does not work for us in our apartment.

Cookie

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 06:10:23 PM »
I choose to buy them loose even if it costs a bit more. We never have food waste when we do that, and I prefer to vote with my money.

forummm

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 07:21:26 PM »
Now that is pretty badass! Since we got recycling in our area (yeah, GA is a little slow) our trash has been really slow to fill up. It's actually kind of irritating at times because some of it will start to smell and we still have a good week or two left before the bag fills up. We don't have any composting here, but I guess we could start our own in the backyard. I don't know if that would be good with attracting animals though.

Indio

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 02:15:10 AM »
Our building got compost service this spring, and with this new change, our household is down to almost no garbage. We had already been composting food scraps for years, but we can now include things like toilet paper, tissues, oily paper, etc... in the compost. We also recycle everything we possibly can, and perhaps most importantly, try not to bring disposable items into our home in the first place. 

I am happy to report that since April 1st, we have not thrown out a single bag of garbage for the 2 of us - we have 1 small grocery store bag that is about 1/2 full - I would say it's about 5 cups worth of garbage in 2 months.... (**not including our cat - see below!) We used to throw out about 1 small grocery store bag every 2-3 weeks.

I am now trying to move further away from recycling, since I feel it is a lesser of evils, but still not the best option. Luckily, there are a lot of refill options where I live (ie: soaps, household products, beer....).

Anyone else out there trying to reduce their overall household waste?


(**sadly, our cat is the most wasteful in our household, as I have yet to find a way to not send her kitty litter to the landfill - not accepted in compost. Any tips on solving the kitty litter issue?)

Potty train the cat. It can be done.

Rollin

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2015, 06:25:27 AM »
Now that is pretty badass! Since we got recycling in our area (yeah, GA is a little slow) our trash has been really slow to fill up. It's actually kind of irritating at times because some of it will start to smell and we still have a good week or two left before the bag fills up. We don't have any composting here, but I guess we could start our own in the backyard. I don't know if that would be good with attracting animals though.

I look at feeding the wildlife as not such a bad thing, as it goes along with the idea of natural composing.  Unless it is a Coyote that wants to feed on one of my little dogs or chickens!  :)

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2015, 06:31:23 AM »
Good for you!!

Something to strive for. My wife and I average one bag per week...well work on it.

The sad part is my neighbors, non mustachian in so many ways, have a ~80 gallon trash can, every single week thy cant even close the lid, often there are 2 or 3 bags on the ground too. How do the two ~60 year olds generate like 10 bags of trash per week?

big_slacker

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2015, 07:45:38 AM »
I read 'The Zero-Waste Lifestyle' and really enjoyed it. Made some of those changes immediately.

The Seattle area is already kinda up on this stuff.  We have curbside composting and you'll get a ticket if you throw too much food in the landfill bucket and get noticed. My main landfill trash is diapers, we're just not willing to commit to cloth and it's gonna be done in a few months anyway. Other than that we only generate a tiny (by US standards) amount of trash weekly. We could probably go 2 months without having a trash pickup.

We're not hardcore, like bringing our own doggie bags to the restaurant, etc. It's mainly just avoiding pre-packaged crap at the store and being mindful about what SHOULD go in the recycle bin, washing stuff out and so on.

I do applaud people that go the hardcore route and truly generate tiny amounts of trash like the OP.


Rollin

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2015, 12:36:43 PM »
We bring our own containers to the restaurant too.  I saw a trash pickup at a hotel once and the 26 foot truck was packed to the top with styrofoam containers.  What a waste, and they don't even keep the food fresh.

My kids bought me a glass container for X-mas and I was quite pleased : )

frugalmamma13

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2015, 06:34:43 PM »
this website is great http://myplasticfreelife.com/
we still have a long way to go but we've been trying to reduce our plastic footprint by buying less things in plastic.  cooking from scratch & buying @ the farmer's market help a lot!

Tenlha

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2015, 07:18:28 PM »
Quote
We live in a remote area, so do not have access to bulk items. So instead we are focused on picking the better alternatives (paper instead of plastic packaging), reusable produce bags, making our own products, and overall less consumption. I would love to compost, but it does not work for us in our apartment.

Have you seen this? I've heard great things. http://smile.amazon.com/SCD-Probiotics-K101-Seasons-Composter/dp/B004X5KB0W/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1433035051&sr=8-11&keywords=bokashi

FrugalShrew

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2015, 01:18:10 PM »
I have been feeling guilty over the kitty litter trash as well. Years ago I tried the recycled newspaper pellets for awhile, since they're supposed to be biodegradable unlike the ubiquitous clay litter, but my cats didn't like it, it was expensive & hard to find, and nothing really decomposes in a landfill anyway (while I do have a small compost bin on my porch, as a city dweller I don't have the capacity to start a "pet compost" pile).

I am definitely interested in hearing others' suggestions on this issue.

Bob W

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2015, 10:17:53 AM »
What about starting a worm compost?   Might work on your porch?   http://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-composting/cat-litter-composting-08-07-09/

I applaud you dedication.  Trash service around here is $20 a month or 240 a year.   If we eliminate that from our fixed costs it would mean 6K less in investments needed.   Plus be a very awesome environmental thing. 

Jack

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2015, 10:32:27 AM »
We bring our own containers to the restaurant too.  I saw a trash pickup at a hotel once and the 26 foot truck was packed to the top with styrofoam containers.  What a waste, and they don't even keep the food fresh.

My kids bought me a glass container for X-mas and I was quite pleased : )

Styrofoam is the bane of my existence. I hate it.

I was really excited when the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials opened recently. I was finally able to get rid of 5 years worth of styrofoam that had been accumulating in my basement because I couldn't find an eco-friendly way to get rid of it!

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2015, 10:41:32 AM »
Styrofoam is the bane of my existence. I hate it.

Oh, c'mon, styrofoam is biodegradable. You're just impatient.

I kid! I kid!

Edit: here's something that might actually be useful. I know composting the cat poop isn't easy, but if you do want to tackle it, my friends at the blog Root Simple did a multi-part series on how they composted their kitty's waste. http://www.rootsimple.com/2013/08/cat-litter-compost-installment-3/
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 10:49:44 AM by Erica/NWEdible »

MicroRN

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2015, 10:57:43 AM »
Granted, we have several acres, but my plan with the kitty litter is to switch back to pine pellets.  I used to use them, bought from livestock supply stores in 40 lb bags.  They break down into sawdust.  Scoop the poop, then compost the sawdust. 

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2015, 01:55:38 PM »
I have this memory of a chef taking those corn-based packing peanuts and turning them into edible noodles. They are just starch, really...I can't find an article about it with a quick Google search, but I'm almost 100% positive my mind isn't playing tricks on me and this really happened. Talk about up-cycling, huh?

FrugalShrew

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2015, 08:41:19 PM »
Edit: here's something that might actually be useful. I know composting the cat poop isn't easy, but if you do want to tackle it, my friends at the blog Root Simple did a multi-part series on how they composted their kitty's waste. http://www.rootsimple.com/2013/08/cat-litter-compost-installment-3/

That was a really interesting read. So many plans and dreams for when I finally have a house someday . . .

EngineerMum

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 06:04:18 PM »
What about starting a worm compost?   Might work on your porch?   http://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-composting/cat-litter-composting-08-07-09/

I applaud you dedication.  Trash service around here is $20 a month or 240 a year.   If we eliminate that from our fixed costs it would mean 6K less in investments needed.   Plus be a very awesome environmental thing.
Just be careful with your worms, don't put the kitty litter in there for a week or so after worming treatment, as it kills garden worms too.

Another suggestion I've heard works for some people - bokashi bins.

Tenlha

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2015, 06:01:15 AM »
I just bought a Bokashi bin. Anyone else have one?

MrsStubble

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2015, 01:46:23 PM »
We are!!   We have to pay for trash pickup where i live ($50/mo) and that just seemed absurd to me so we just never signed up which forced our already recycling hand to be more conservative.    Between recycling and composting you can get rid of pretty much everything that can throw away and making a mental effort to do this will help you consciously try to buy things with less packaging.   

You also get really creative with items.. for instance, my husband disassembles every item he can that's made out of metal. I'd say it's for scrap but really it's just the engineer in him, he loves it. But doing this allows us to recycle more items and also get a bit of money back for the scrap.   We've taken apart bigger things as well, i have upcycled mattress boxframes into all sorts of things (metal and wood plant stakes and garden supports, drop clothes from the lining, etc...)

If we do have some rare garbage that accumulates that we can't do anything with I will throw it out.  For instance, we just got rid of 3 months of garbage at work the other day in 1 of those little plastic bags they give you for groceries.

Cookie

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2015, 03:12:43 PM »
I hate the clamshells! We used to have loose mushrooms at my grocery store, but they've been replaced with like 5 per clamshell. That's hardly enough.

patrat

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2015, 10:13:27 AM »
You can replace the clumping litter with gravel or sand. I made a pea gravel box for my dog when he was a puppy and had unresolved potty issues, and it worked.

Whenever you notice waste or smell, sieve through the box with a cat litter scoop. That gets the solids. Afterwards, wash the gravel or sand with soap and water.

I made my box with two nesting plastic totes. The top one I perforated to be a colander, so it could drain the gravel from pee and from wash water.

Gather the cat solids and choose your best disposal method. Landfill, illegal sewering, incinerator, hole in the countryside, whatever.

FrugalShrew

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2015, 12:38:18 PM »
You can replace the clumping litter with gravel or sand. I made a pea gravel box for my dog when he was a puppy and had unresolved potty issues, and it worked.

Whenever you notice waste or smell, sieve through the box with a cat litter scoop. That gets the solids. Afterwards, wash the gravel or sand with soap and water.

I made my box with two nesting plastic totes. The top one I perforated to be a colander, so it could drain the gravel from pee and from wash water.

Gather the cat solids and choose your best disposal method. Landfill, illegal sewering, incinerator, hole in the countryside, whatever.

This is a cool idea. Do you have any suggestions for how you would wash sand? I can't really picture perforation fine enough that the sand wouldn't leak through.

patrat

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2015, 03:11:25 PM »

This is a cool idea. Do you have any suggestions for how you would wash sand? I can't really picture perforation fine enough that the sand wouldn't leak through.
I did it with pea gravel, which was what my dog was used to when I got him (he had lived in an outdoor pen). That worked well with 1/8" drilled holes.

Use a coarse grit sand will help, as it should be less likely to go into suspension in the water (muddy water effect).
If the cat will tolerate sufficiently coarse sand, you could use a piece of screen cloth on top of the perforated bin.

There is a beer homebrewing technique called brew in a bag, that could maybe be applied, and can be very cheap. The easiest way to visualize would be imagine a giant cotton trash bag, opened over a trash can. Inside is the sand, and also your soapy water. When you want to drain the water, you lift the bag up. Water flows through, the sand does not. Sewing up a bag is optional, you can just fold it to fit.

Maybe try a polyester sheer curtain, sometimes called voille. I got one at a department store (walmart, target, something) for about $10, and its lots of perfectly porous fabric. Polyester is nice in this case because it does not absorb water or rot. When brewing I just attach it to my stockpot with steel spring binder clips. The trick would be figuring out how to keep your cat from shredding it at the edges. Maybe a 3 bin system, where the top bin has the whole bottom cut out and only the sides remain to cover the filtering cloth. Another way would be to only use the cloth when washing the sand.

It is a setup that uses lots of water, to be sure.I cant see washing the sand for less than 10 gallons used, and it would be easy to blow through 40-100 if not careful. Perhaps the fish aquarium folks have some easier more efficient methods.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2015, 08:35:23 AM »
Great thread! It has inspired me to get back into composting. Food scraps (e.g. banana peel, tea leaves, orange rind, etc) are the majority of my waste and we don't have municipal compost/food recycling currently. I'm going with the bury in the ground compost method.

FrugalShrew

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2015, 10:09:20 AM »
Thanks, patrat! I'll have to experiment with this washable litter idea.

Cookie

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2015, 04:45:15 PM »
The washable litter is great! If I owned a house, I would definitely make this into some sort of automatic thing where the cats can access it through a cat door to the outside.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2015, 05:19:45 PM »
I live in an apartment and always ignored the idea of composting, but this thread inspired me to ask my neighbors with a small backyard and tons of plants if they compost. They do! I just dropped in apple scraps and corn cobs. This should help keep our trash can from stinking royally. We're not superheroes when it comes to trash, but it takes a while to fill up a regular kitchen trash bag, and in the meantime any food waste sits and rots.

Elderwood17

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2015, 05:31:31 PM »
Great thread!  We have been composting and recycling hard, letting us get down to about one regular trash bag a week for two of us.  Now I am on a mission to see if we can make it one bag every other week!

secondcor521

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2015, 02:53:07 PM »
Just posting to say that I am very impressed with everyone's minimal waste production!

I thought I was doing well, but I recycle about 4 75 gallon recycling bins worth and throw away about 3 75 gallon trash bins worth of stuff per year.  Waayy better than my neighbors, but waayy worse than y'all!

penguins4everyone!

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2015, 07:59:41 PM »
you all are awesome- very impressed!  A few years ago i turned into the person who would get excited if i remembered my reusable shopping bags when clothes shopping.  That felt like turning a corner for me, sometimes the bag from the retail store is cute but I genuinely don't care, i don't want it, it just feels wasteful.  I love those little Chico bags that stuff into themselves, I try to have one in my purse all the time, even traveling.  I find that traveling is when it is MOST important to bring the water bottle, the thermos, the reusable bag- you're out of your element and may find yourself creating a lot more garbage.

In terms of getting things to not show up in the recycling bin in the first place, do you all use www.optoutprescreen.com?  It's the official do not mail list for credit card and insurance offers.  Cut down junk mail a lot.  Also, I love love love the PaperKarma app to get myself off all those catalog lists.  A lot less mail means a lot less recycling. 

Mrs.LC

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2015, 09:43:12 AM »
Refreshing to read through this post just as the weekly garbage truck is making the rounds in our neighborhood. I can see the huge garbage bins lining our street that are so full the covers don't close. Boggles my mind that people can generate so much waste on a regular basis. 

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2015, 09:54:52 AM »
Refreshing to read through this post just as the weekly garbage truck is making the rounds in our neighborhood. I can see the huge garbage bins lining our street that are so full the covers don't close. Boggles my mind that people can generate so much waste on a regular basis.

Yep! Felt good to skip trash pick-up today (and likely for the next several weeks) since restarting composting.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2015, 05:38:45 AM »
Nicely done! Though am I spotting some pearl beads/cloth items in there?! Guessing they couldn't be donated :)

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2015, 04:03:09 PM »
It would be so nice if manufacturers had to take back the crap they make, or make temporary throw-away things (like those ridiculous pearl beads on a wedding invitation!) biodegradable.

My garbage seems to be mostly plastic food wrappers - a large plastic spinach bag, frozen blueberry bag, hummus cover plastic, mushroom shrink wrap. Don't really see a way to avoid them without totally changing food purchasing habits!

Axecleaver

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2015, 09:43:22 AM »
We're in a rural area, and trash pickup here is a stunning $80 a month. The transfer station costs $125 a ton if you do it yourself, and full recycling with separation - cardboard, plastic, metal, electronics - is all free (You can store up and scrap the metal yourself, if you want). I spend about $5-10 a month to throw out our trash, plus $5 in gas to drive it there.

I make maximal use of composting and generate a little over 2 yards of screened compost a year - which seems like not much, but it's probably 10-20x that in raw material, mostly yard waste. Kitchen scraps are less than 5% of what goes into it. My piles are hot enough to compost meat scraps and oil/fat in moderation. I'm lazy so I don't turn the piles more than once a season. Everything rots, eventually, and I'm patient.

Quote
I guess we could start our own in the backyard. I don't know if that would be good with attracting animals though.
Won't be a problem if done properly. If you err on the side of "too much browns" you'll never have an issue with wildlife in your piles. Piles that smell bad are usually anaerobic from too much greens. Just make sure to put lots of shredded leaves, sawdust, or whatever browns you have available on top and bury the new stuff really well.

Every fall I get an itch to steal the bags of sweet leaf mulch gold off the curbs in town - Mrs Axe has warned of dire consequences if I bring those home. Someday, though, they will be mine!

Here's a link to my favorite Compost Hero of all time. This thread goes back to 2007: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/general-homesteading-forums/homesteading-questions/342651-extreme-composting.html

the_fella

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2015, 11:09:16 PM »
Now that is pretty badass! Since we got recycling in our area (yeah, GA is a little slow) our trash has been really slow to fill up. It's actually kind of irritating at times because some of it will start to smell and we still have a good week or two left before the bag fills up. We don't have any composting here, but I guess we could start our own in the backyard. I don't know if that would be good with attracting animals though.

You can put it in a fenced in enclosure or something similar to keep animals away.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Zero Waste?
« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2015, 05:48:09 AM »
Now that is pretty badass! Since we got recycling in our area (yeah, GA is a little slow) our trash has been really slow to fill up. It's actually kind of irritating at times because some of it will start to smell and we still have a good week or two left before the bag fills up. We don't have any composting here, but I guess we could start our own in the backyard. I don't know if that would be good with attracting animals though.

You can put it in a fenced in enclosure or something similar to keep animals away.

Or bury in the ground directly. That's what I do and no animal issues (including my dog).

Zette

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2015, 06:56:52 AM »
There is an automated litterbox called Cat Genie that flushes cat urine and waste.  You hook it up to the plumbing in either your laundry room or to a toilet.  It has plastic pebbles for the litter, and runs a cycle 10 minutes after your cat does its business.  I had one for awhile, and it does work as advertised.  Unfortunately my cat rejected pooping in the plastic litter so I ended up returning it.

http://www.catfooddispensersreviews.com/catgenie-reviews/

zephyr911

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2015, 08:34:59 AM »
Refreshing to read through this post just as the weekly garbage truck is making the rounds in our neighborhood. I can see the huge garbage bins lining our street that are so full the covers don't close. Boggles my mind that people can generate so much waste on a regular basis.
It makes me sad every time I go out to walk my dogs and see that. So much of it could be recycled. So much comes from crappy fast food and cheap consumer goods that are making people fat and poor.
We're down to an average of half a kitchen bag of trash per week, and we often don't bother to wheel the giant bin to the curb. We only bother when it starts to smell, really.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2015, 05:34:38 AM »
It's been a month since I started composting thanks to this thread, and finally had to put out the trash. Had about 1/2 grocery bag (mostly food packaging), a dog food bag, and my car's old engine air filter. Reducing garbage waste feels great!

Dexterous

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2015, 12:29:11 AM »
I just spent the last hour reading this page, and wow... I have a LOT to learn:  http://www.zerowastehome.com/p/tips.html

Thanks for the inspiration guys.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2015, 08:56:11 AM »
my camping backpack has just ripped beyond fixing...Thoughts on what to do with it? Otherwise, it will have to be trash.

When a backpack of mine ripped (granted it was shoulder straps only), I did duct tape repairs, and it's still going strong. Amazingly, the duct tape looks pretty good and like a design feature, plus it's reflective silver and serves a safety purpose!

If it's beyond salvaging and the zipper seams are no good, I'm stumped for ideas :)

abhe8

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2015, 10:09:07 AM »
We are working on this. We compost, recycle and buy less. For a family of 6, we have about one task kitchen teach bag per week. And that will go way down when my last three are night time trained.

stripey

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2015, 07:23:34 AM »
I try to limit recycling glass packaging aswell as in my part of the world most of the glass is NOT recycled (even though many plastics are). The reason is that the nearest recycling plant is >2000km away and the population is small. So with transportation costs and the likelihood of a load being 'contaminated' many shire councils decide not to take the risk. So a lot of shire councils grind it down and use it as road surfacing. Not a bad option though, all things considered.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2016, 10:50:53 AM »
Reviving this thread...

We have gotten more wasteful in recent months, and I am hoping to switch back into gear. Small victory:  I have gotten better at remembering my re-useable produce & bulk bags. A new waste-free grocery store is opening soon in my city, where I am hoping to finally be able to get bulk items like peanut butter & tofu. Another independent store here ( http://thesoapdispensary.com/ ) sells bulk oils, vinegars, soy sauce, cleaning products, etc... I have frankly just been too lazy to deal with bread (recyclable plastic bag waste). I do sometimes make my own, but I would like to find a good source of package-free bread.

I should also say that my goal is not 100% perfection - just trying to be more conscious, particularly around plastic, and also to be more conscious of supporting local businesses and suppliers. I rely too much on the convenience of the big box stores, which I feel goes against my core values.

Came across this Tedx talk by Bea Johnson, which has helped to re-motivate me - http://www.zerowastehome.com/2016/09/my-latest-tedx-talk-two-adults-two-kids-zero-waste/

And also looked (again) at Beth Terry's tips for Plastic-free living - http://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

Anyone else still trying to reduce their personal & household waste? What are some of your techniques? Successes? Challenges?

ETA: Our typical waste recently has been about 1 small, tightly packed grocery store bag every 2.5 months-ish. We recycle a LOT, but this is where I want to make the biggest change. I don't feel recycling is the answer.

My biggest challenge is trying to teach my family (wife and kids) not to waste. Wife is beyond teachable, but my daughters extraordinary wastefulness can be modified. I set the proper example and use teachable moments to instill a better understanding. Ultimately though, I can control no-one in this world other than myself. When the family was gone this whole summer, I marveled at the tiny volume of waste in my trash/recycling bins each week. Since their return, I am able to estimate their waste contributions (versus mine) and am trying to get them to be more aware of waste.

Hell, I don't even like to waste time, but that is a topic for another thread.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2016, 10:30:16 PM »
@allsummerlong you give me hope too.  I recently did something very environmentally conscious.  I implemented recycling at my workplace.  We have about 15,000 people through our buildings every day so I'm feeling pretty good about doing something positive for the environment.  Every day I walk down and check our compost bin, mixed containers, soft plastics and paper bin.  They are getting so full.  It's a good feeling to phone the recycling company to come and pick it up because it's full. 

At home I recycle and composting as much as possible.  I realize that now that I buy bulk more often I have a lot of soft plastics stuff.  I should get more bad ass and take it to work to recycle it.  Yep, that's what I should do.  I do reuse all my bread bags.  Zip locks get washed and used as many times as possible unless I use them for meat. 

It's all good.  Keep it up people and spread the word.   

Roots&Wings

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2016, 07:15:38 AM »
FIRE_at_45, that's awesome what you did at your company! The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council might be a good resource too, https://uszwbc.org/

planepoo

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Re: Approaching Zero Waste
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2016, 10:05:11 AM »
Our building got compost service this spring, and with this new change, our household is down to almost no garbage. We had already been composting food scraps for years, but we can now include things like toilet paper, tissues, oily paper, etc... in the compost. We also recycle everything we possibly can, and perhaps most importantly, try not to bring disposable items into our home in the first place. 

I am happy to report that since April 1st, we have not thrown out a single bag of garbage for the 2 of us - we have 1 small grocery store bag that is about 1/2 full - I would say it's about 5 cups worth of garbage in 2 months.... (**not including our cat - see below!) We used to throw out about 1 small grocery store bag every 2-3 weeks.

I am now trying to move further away from recycling, since I feel it is a lesser of evils, but still not the best option. Luckily, there are a lot of refill options where I live (ie: soaps, household products, beer....).

Anyone else out there trying to reduce their overall household waste?


(**sadly, our cat is the most wasteful in our household, as I have yet to find a way to not send her kitty litter to the landfill - not accepted in compost. Any tips on solving the kitty litter issue?)
Do you do this to save on your garbage bill to regain some of your income ?