I am back to collecting the trash I produce, analyzing and making goals. Here is my story by way of the trash I made this month. I am on to something big and I like it.
Clothing tags: I purchased more new clothing this month than in the past 3 years combined; pair of jeans, tank top and socks.
My Toms: They are absolutely slimy and disgusting to wear. I wrote a letter suggesting TOMS look into compostable materials and dyes, especially if they are donating shoes to children in countries lacking waste removal facilities.
Razor Head: I like smooth legs.
Conditioner seal: I am back to using the store bought kind. The bottle will last the two of us at least 6 months.
4 Yogurt Seals: I use to make our own yogurt…you know, back when I was hardcore awesome.
4 Spinach Twisty Ties: Greens are important. I need to figure out a way to grow my own without letting them get away from me.
Farmer’s Market Trash: I struggle with wanting to support locals, understanding their diligence to follow health codes and really, really wanting to live trash free. Local people trump trash.
3 Peanut Butter and Coconut Oil Seals: that is life man
1 Olive Oil Seal: I can refill the bottle but they have to put a new seal on it each time.
Packaging from something I needed to buy online.
Packaging from a marker board I bought to post our goals each month. Cubby loves it. I love that she loves it.
Tape: from my Open Class ribbons at the county fair.
Backing to Postage Stamps: I have a friend who needs letters on a regular basis right now.
1 piece of Junk Mail
1 staple: I have no idea where this came from.
Part of a hook that Cubby accidentally broke
8 DAMN PLASTIC ENVELOPE WINDOWS!
Now, let’s set some goals for September!
Cubby works hard at school to complete several worksheets and homework assignments daily.
She brings them home.
She shares them with me.
We place them in a box under the kitchen cabinet.
Then, when the urge hits us to draw, we have the backsides of a zillion papers to choose from!
Some in COLOR!
Do I keep every single worksheet,
every single homework assignment,
every single drawing she has ever produced.
That would be silly.
We hang and rotate a few of our favorites in the house but when new favorites are created, we take the old ones down and put them back in the box in the kitchen.
A few of her drawings have really tugged on my heart strings. I will admit, some hang in our tiny house a little longer then a week. I am sure every mother has their version of them. With these treasures, I take a quick photo of them and save them to a digital file on my computer.
Just a few.
Just a few of my ALL TIME favorites.
My plan it to add them to a digital book at the end of each year. When Cubby is older, I will give her a copy of the file to reminisce and share. If she wants to print them, it will be ready for her. If she chooses to travel the world with all she owns in a suitcase, she will have a flash drive to pull out on homesick days…or whatever the newest digital saving device is a decade or two from now.
Hopefully this will create a balance between the extremes. When she moves away from home and starts her life independently she will have the drawings of our large heads with lop sided eyes and super long squiggly arms, hugging each other. She will have the note she wrote the Tooth Fairy explaining why her missing tooth is somewhere under her grandparent’s deck. She will have her first A+ Spelling Test that prompted a happy dance from Mommy. The drawing of her fairy friends and their home will be hers again. And the note of warning she gave Santa, to not let his reindeers track mud into her grandmother’s home, will be safe. They will be hers. She will have all these things without me burdening her with a trunk full of tubs and boxes of paper. She will have them digitally or printed off in one book as a childhood keepsake.
So what do we do with all the papers now?!
Cubby has kept me hopping. She gives me tips before bedtime on what to work on next and shares her thoughts on design at the breakfast table. She worries about giving one with a heart to a boy and which one should go to her grandma. Letting her and our trash, lead our creations has been a crazy, fun adventure!
If a stack of 10 uniquely made Valentines for $10 will make your heart smile, send me an email (email@example.com) with your address and PayPal account and I will send you our trash…I mean treasures. Shipping is free. If you live locally, we can drop them off to you this week when we are in town running errands.
Cheers to decluttering the paper in our house.
Cheers to teamwork.
Cheers to creating.every.single.day!
Monthly Trash Totals, The Challenge to Create 30 Toys in 30 Days, The No-Trash Project, Tiny House, Trash-Free Little Ones
One of my favorite 3 foot friends came knocking on my door early in January, with a detailed description of a dinosaur he needed as a nighttime snuggly toy. I know, how cute?!
How lucky am I?!
I quickly realized my knowledge of all things dinosaurs needed a refresher.
Thank you Internet!
I had him draw his idea out on paper while I set up the sewing machine and dug into a tub of fabric that was donated to me from a friend down the road.
We then set out to make the perfect little dinosaur, one limb at a time. Adjustments to the design were made.
…and actually, I was informed, a whole new dinosaur was created. Thankfully, he was okay with the new guy and erased parts of his drawing and redrew what I had made.
But then I was left with my first piece of trash for 2016; the plastic spool that held yards of thread.
It sat on the counter for a couple of days staring at me.
I stared back.
Then it hit me.
You see, I work at two elementary schools so I have access to a lot of trash cans.
A lot of trash cans with really cool stuff being thrown away.
I found this wooden thingy and brought it home. I set it on top of the plastic spool and before you know it a little person was formed. The hair is made from the wool strings found in the inside of a baseball that was going to be thrown away. The scarf and bow was created from an old tshirt that was found in my tub of scrap fabric.
I know I can find wooden spools of thread with cotton instead of a petroleum based materials, but I have not found them yet.
I know they are out there.
Until then, I am using up my stash of thread. This year my goal is to let my trash guide my art making. I could not be more excited for this fresh new year!
Cheers to toy making.
Cheers to zero trash.
Cheers to little kids and the joy they bring to life.
I haven’t had a straw in my collection of trash for over a year! But a friend and I went to dinner and ordered margaritas and I totally didn’t remember to ask! Ugh!
But the margarita was fabulous!
Contacts, New Contact Packaging, Contact Solution Seal
Oh my eyes and the trash they make….
BUT…I had my first appointment with an eye surgeon to have Lasic eye surgery next year! Goodbye eye trash!
I am still shaving my legs. Thanks to some feedback from readers, when my stash runs out, I’ll have options.
Rarely do I ever cut my hand bad enough to to use a bandaid. Oh, but this month I had to use three Bandaids before the cut healed!
This one bite the dust this month.
Poison Ivy Medicine
I got bite by a spider this month and used the medicine the doctor gave me for poison ivy to help relieve the swelling and pain. Damn spider.
Peanut Butter Seal and Two Salad Twisty Ties
I am sure I will reuse the twisty ties before they eventually end up in a landfill.
From a receipt stapled to the paper bag from the pharmacy.
8 Plastic Envelope Windows
I went through my trash jar this month and pulled out all the plastic envelope windows. I have a plan for them. …and it is going to be awesome!
Goodwill Plastic Tags
My sister had fun putting together my winter wardrobe this month. We found everything at Goodwill, except for a pair of leggings. We even found a few pieces for next summer. The color of the tags corresponds with the price of each piece.
The shopping experience was relatively painless, in part because I let my sister do all the work. I think she had fun.
Cheers to a new month and hopefully less trash!
29 Envelope Windows
UGH!!!! That is all I have to say about plastic windows! One more time…UGH!!!
New Checks Package
I really wish checks still came in little cardboard boxes. I could reuse the boxes for multiple things and then compost it when it wore out. Maybe I could figure out a way to live without checks. Does anyone else live without checks?
I bought my winter boots for the season. I plan to wear them with everything. Dresses, jeans…everything. In fact I bought the boots before I put together my winter wardrobe. My sister found them and then helped me find and keep only what matches. I was pumped that it came with all paper and cardboard packaging; however, I did find two fresh packets in the toes. It also had a pointless thin piece of plastics holding the lid of the box to the base of the box.
I have found a friend who makes his own wine! So I may have a source for trash free wine now! How cool is this?!
I teach in the same school corporations as my cousin. She is the sweetest human being. She has had loads of advice on how to navigate my new life. Her positive outlook gives me hope during the rough days. One day in September, I was super surprised to find a cupcake in my school mailbox. I gave the tupperwear it was placed in, to my mom who is always reusing them. The foil/plastic wrapper is unfortunately trash. I can’t begin to tell you how much this treat made my day!
My nephew was coming over for our Friday night pizza. He loves pineapple pizza, so I bought one to add to the toppings.
2 Peanut Butter Seals
I so wish I had my trash-free peanut butter source again. But I am developing a lovely stash of identical glass jars to hold all my lose odds and ends.
I am trying out a new face cleanser I ordered online. It will hopefully be short term. I about freaked out when it came with so much plastic trash. I will need to find an alternative when it runs out.
Razor and Container
I like smooth legs. Maybe I could find an electric razor I could charge using my solar panels when my huge stash of razors runs out.
I sent my sister out on a mission to find a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones I sat on last month. They came with a plastic and cardboard tag, but at least driving is easier.
Staple and Sticker from Prescription Medicine
Eventually this will not be a necessity.
My rubber band that I holds all my important cards in my wallet busted again. Maybe I could find some kind of clip to hold the cards. Right now they are just loose in my purse and that is just not cool.
Contact Solution Seal
I made my appointment for eye surgery! Happy Graduation to me! Trash-free bathroom, here I come!
This month I finished my rag rug for the tiny house. I ended up using a whole spool of thread. I am going to need to find thread on wooden spools. I bet antique stores have odds and ends of thread on wooden spools.
I cut my hand at school. A little cut. Usually it is not necessary to use a bandaid, but this time it was.
Goal for next month:
Figure out what to create with all my plastic windows.
Continue to take my name off mailing lists.
I am seeing progress in this attempt to live trash free! I am only collecting and counting my trash, not Cubby’s, this year. Slowly, I am tackling an area of trash every month. The big success this month was finding packaged free bread. I am trying to be super real and honest with myself in counting and sorting my trash but I do feel like a hypocrite when I take sips out of my sister’s fountain coke when she comes over to visit. The drink comes in the worse kind of trash, styrofoam. I do not count the trash because, technically it is hers. I am going to break this habit in September, wish me luck. So here is the total for August 2015…
19 Envelop Windows I swear these will be the end of me. Most of them come from health insurance mailings which will probably slow down this month due to settling into my new job. I have to say the patterns on the back are so intriguing. I might dig them out of the trash jar and use them in an art piece.
3 Staples Three different medications were needed from the pharmacy last month. Ugh. I tried to stop the tech each time before stapling my receipt to the paper bag holding my drugs. Just folding the bag over would do. Earlier in the summer, I had to pick some medicine up and the pharmacy tech just handed over the bottle; no bag, no staple. It was great.
Medicine Double ugh. I have been having issues. I know it stems from stress. Oh but I have formulated a game plan for stress this fall! I am hopeful for zero medical trash this month and as close to zero stress as possible.
3 Berry Container Liners We picked up some berries this month and downcycled the plastic containers. I hate “downcycling” or “recycling” as most people call it. I hate it, but I did it. These liners come off the bottom of the containers. I have since found a brand at the store that does not used these liners. Yes, I am the costumer flipping blueberry cartons over so I can check the bottoms, not so much for ripeness and the absence of mold, but to avoid unneeded plastic.
3 Peanut Butter Seals Five months ago, the store that I purchased all my cheese and peanut butter from (completely trash free), closed for remodeling. Every time I go through that town, I check to see if they are open again. I am starting to get a little bummed out. Right now I am purchasing peanut butter in glass jars from the local grocery store and reuse them for other purposes, but the seals become trash.
3 stickers The stickers came off a small cooler I bought, I probably could have found a used cooler but I was in a pinch.
Sunglasses I sat on them. I am going to try and fix them but I think they are goners.
Packaging from Solar Lights The lights will brighten up the path from my parents home, up and over the hill, to our little home. I hate that they “had” to be packaged in plastic. I mean…really? I hope they are worth it!
1 busted Rubber Band I used this rubber band for a year to hold all my important cards like my license, library card and ice cream gift card. I do not care much for wallets and bulky purses.
1 Beer Cap and 1 Wine Cork It was the first month of teaching, after two years of devouring graduate school. Do I need to say more? The glass was recycled because glass can be truly recycled. The cork and cap are trash.
1 Essential Oil Cap I am trying this oil craze out for myself.
18 pieces to clothing tabs from Goodwill Which equals 9 new articles of clothing that I have been wearing to school. A few pieces I bought and have set aside for the winter. I wear the same thing over and over in different ways and no one seems to notice. But I miss my farm clothes and being outside all day. I really, really do.
There has got to be something fun I can make out if these…
I love contacts but I hate the trash they make. I downcycled the bottle. The must annoying thing is the new case that they slide into the box and act like they are giving me a gift. My old case was just fine, why do I need a new one?
I save these and use them for my “Trashy Cards”. I also have a plan to use them for business cards. We will see how that turns out.
I don’t plan on going back to a doctor and getting on a steroid to clear up a nasty case of poison ivy. I had a super awful allergic reaction to the steroid and would prefer the ivy over the hives and welts any day.
The sticker is from a little wooden bed I bought at Goodwill on their 50% off day. The bed is being transformed into an adorable toy, as I type.
I have a few odds and ends from having to replace my phone this month. Eventually I will have to figure out how to recycle my old phone.
My source for peanut butter is currently closed for remodeling. I have been buying our peanut butter in the glass jars for the last several weeks and making the animals jars out of them. The seal ends up in the trash jar. The chocolate wrappers are from when I caved and couldn’t say no.
The medicine that I had to stop taking due to an allergic reaction will be taken back to the pharmacy to be disposed of properly. You really shouldn’t flush it down the toilet.
The medicine bottles can not be recycled and the pharmacy, at least in the state of Indiana, will not reuse them. I have found an organization online that will take them and reuse them. For now, I am saving them and will send them when I fill the box.
These are pieces of the foam seal installed between the door and the frame. I might try to repair it with a few small nails. I know it helps to have it in place during the winter months.
I use to make our own bread every 2-3 days. I did it for years and it tasted so much better than the store bought stuff, however I just do not have a schedule and routine worked out to get back into the bread making groove. For now, the plastic bags will be saved for an expansion of my plastic net piece I created in grad school.
Goal for next month:
1. I will get rid of this Poison Ivy…I swear I will.
2. I can’t make the goal of eliminating my chocolate consumption right now. I need chocolate. I mean I really, really need chocolate. It has gotten pretty bad and I am totally okay with it. I will however stick with the bulk chocolate to avoid the wrapper trash. This goal seems more attainable and still makes life enjoyable.
3. I have two newer bills that I have yet to start paying online. This will be the month I starting saving a stamp and eliminating the plastic envelop from making its way to my mailbox.
4. I am going to check at my eye appointment this month about corrective eye surgery. I can not afford it now but I am going to get information and start a separate savings account. If I can start putting a little aside every paycheck, then someday I will eliminate the need for all this eye trash! Oh how simple my morning routine will become.
**I am not ready to restart baking my own bread every other day yet. Just being honest. I’ll make that my goal for August.
I plowed through my To Do list this week. I had so many little things that needed fixed or finished. Unfortunately, some of the jobs created trash. I will admit, some of the trash I am a little proud of.
For example, this bulb. I can not even begin to tell you how pumped I was to figure out how to change my car’s turn signal bulb. Even if I was not collecting all my trash for analyzing purposes, I probably would still have kept it as a token of my awesomeness. Not the most modest thing to say, but seriously, it felt great.
I also learned how to change the blown fuses in my solar panel inverter box.
Note to self: Maggie, please remember not ALL power tools can be run on the amount of solar power you currently collect. Ugh. Fuses will blow.
These are technically trash but I have a feeling because of their funny little teeth shape, they will probably work themselves into a toy or another project. They are just too cute.
The trash jar will also include another L bracket package acquired because I needed to fix a shelf in the tiny house. I really wish these were sold separately and without plastic packaging. Adding a shelf in a small space, like my home, is the equivalent of adding on another bedroom. I instantly feel space drunk.
There we go, 8 days into the month and this is the trash I have not been able to avoid.
I didn’t collect my trash last month. It felt weird. I just threw it “away”. I am really not sure why I broke from my 2 year running streak. Oh so weird.
So, to refresh myself in this crazy project to live trash free, I have decided to possibly over do it and document every piece for the next month. Does this make sense? Probably not.
I did this for 6 months about a year ago and noticed a huge decrease in my trash production each week. It forced me to set goals and pushed me to be honest with myself.
I am choosing this month to document because I know I will have several different events coming up including traveling across the country, an engagement party and a wedding. June will also be the first full month of living back in the tiny house. Oh it’s going to be a fun and challenging month!
I will have slightly different rules then my first round of documentation.
First, I won’t be including Cubby’s trash. I want to see how little I can make by myself. She does better then most 5 year olds with identifying future trash and making responsible decisions. In the end, it is her choice and she knows this.
Second, I am going to make a conscious effort to not use something of someone else’s that will then be trash. I have a problem slyly sipping from my mom’s fountain drink when she leaves the room. I am either becoming addicted to the caffeine or the sneakiness. We will see if I can break this habit.
I’ll continue to recycle aluminum, glass and steel but will document each item before processing it. I’ll downcycle plastic #1 and #2 after documenting them as well.
I want to get an accurate picture of where I am, in striving to live trash free. I am a visual person so this might be the best way to analyze and motivate myself.
Here we go!
A little more trash this month as our daily schedule has changed causing food prep to become a challenge to sort out.
Most unique piece of trash:
Flash drive packages: I transfer my photos from my computer to two flash drives and external hard drive every few months. I usually carry out this task as the seasons are changing, just because that makes it easy for me to remember. I had to buy new flash drives because the old ones hold 10 years of photos and are finally full.
Bread bag: My work schedule was flipped around this month and baking bread twice a week was not working in the schedule easily. We had to go back to store bought bread for a while until we adjusted are time and made bread making work for us again. We also ate a lot of store bought bagels this month too as quick snacks or as bread for our sandwiches.
Highest quantity/largest piece of trash:
Hanger: Cubby had a little tantrum when she was getting dressed one morning in October and broke a plastic hanger while trying to yank it out of the closet.
Goal for next month:
My goal for next month is to complete the Trash Free Food Challenge. Five days into it I only have two produce stickers. Right now the hardest part is not to take sips of my mom’s fountain coke when I see her. I started taking a sip or two every time she came in with one and now it is kinda hard to break the habit! Also, now that the produce stand we worked at this summer has closed and our garden has come to an end, we will have to start shopping at the grocery store again. I am not looking forward to this part of winter.
|October 10, 2014||Vodka
I used it to make stevia extract
|October 14, 2014||Nutella
Open House gift
|October 25, 2014||Contact Solution Bottle