I'm joining over 4,500 people this week in trying to eco-tune up my life in an effort to cut down on the environmental footprint attached to my every day living. We're all following a guide developed by No Impact Man Colin Beavan and his army of dedicated volunteers. Each day has a different focus, yesterday was Trash Day.
On Sunday I collected all the trash I created for the day in a bag, yesterday I separated everything into two piles -- the stuff that I used for less than 10 minutes and stuff that I used for more than 10 minutes.
I was pretty happy to see that most of my trash fell into the "use more than 10 minutes" camp, the bulk of it was food packaging. There was a good mix of plastic, paper/cardboard, and aluminum foil. Plastic is really hard to get around -- it's wrapped around nearly every product sold in your average grocery store. I'm a pretty healthy eater and always come home with a lot of unpackaged fruits and veggies, but even still I find it impossible to go home without some plastic in my natural fiber shopping bags. It would require a really radical change in my eating habits to cut out plastic entirely. I'm not quite there yet and honestly, don't see myself getting there anytime soon. I like cottage cheese and strawberries too much. My favorite kind of peanut butter comes in a plastic bin, even canned food has a plastic liner (not that I'm a big fan of canned food).
I have a bin of composting worms (provided by the friendly folks at Red Worm Composting) in my kitchen, so I don't have any food waste. I'd say 70-80 percent of my normal waste stream is either recycled or composted, but I realize that I can continue to drive the overall volume down.
The second step the No Impact Week guide recommended was to put together a no-trash travel kit. I stuffed a Nalgene bottle, fork and spoon, and some reusable produce bags into a reusable shopping bag but haven't had the opportunity to use it yet.
Overall I have to say that I feel pretty good about my normal day-to-day trash creation, or lack there of. I got a jump on No Impact Week earlier this year when I decided to start making a stronger effort to green up my life. I sold my car, moved into a smaller apartment in a super walkable city, bought a bin of composting worms, and have been making a big effort to cut down on the amount of waste, especially plastic, that I create. I never been a big consumer and loathe having to go to any kind of mall. I work at home and go everywhere on foot, bike, or bus. No Impact Week for me is all about fine tuning.
Today's focus was on greening up transportation, I'll be writing about that tomorrow -- so click back and stay tuned.
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