I'm excited about this months challenge, I really am. So far the months that have been the most rewarding are the ones that are the most difficult, and not only is not making trash difficult, it's pretty much impossible. Since I work full time and am not able to go at this 150% (i.e. making my own bread to avoid food packaging) this month seems like it's mostly about consuming less, recycling or reusing everything you have to consume, and composting the rest. I already make an effort to limit my consumption (I have dishes, silverware, and hand towels at work to avoid the disposable versions), and I'm an avid recycler, but there's still a lot of questions I have, most pertaining to what can and can't be recycled. I did a bunch of research this afternoon and here are some resources that I found that will be helpful to anyone participating in this months challenge:
-First of all, a friend sent this blog to me a few months ago. I went through a good portion of it today and I definitely encourage anyone who wants to go trash free to check it out: http://notrashchallenge.blogspot.com. They have a ton of really great and informative posts.
-From that blog I came across this article that answered a lot of questions I have about recycling: http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/0,21770,1835098,00.html. A few things I learned: Bottle caps (plastic and metal) are not recyclable and neither is plastic cutlery. If you try to recycle a pizza box that still has food remnants in it, it can ruin an entire recycling batch. Packing peanuts are not recyclable, but you can take them to a number of facilities that will reuse them. It seems like most anything can be recycled, but just not tossed in your recycling bin. Lots of things need to be sent to a specific facility.
-I didn't look too far into this site yet, but it seems like it could be useful:http://earth911.com/
-This blog isn't specifically about not making trash, but living more green in general: http://greenasathistle.com/
Some changes that I've made already:
-We are composting at home and I even have a container at work to put food scraps and tea bags in.
-I'm making an effort to purchase food with the least amount of packaging possible. To prepare for this month and get an idea of how much trash I produced on a regular basis, I kept a trash journal all last week. I'd say about 95% of all garbage was food related. If I were a package designer, I would be pushing my company to consider more sustainable options. Is it really necessary to sell pre-cut, individually packaged apples? Do we really need frozen pb&js?
-I'm saving things like bread bags and reusing them.
That's all for now, I'd love to hear if anyone has any great tips for reducing/reusing/recycling. I need to figure out what to do with cat litter too. Has anyone had good luck with alternative litter options?