Monday, April 27, 2009

Zero Waste Week: Results!!

So, this week has been the Zero Waste Week for us!!

What was the result?

Of course I wanted to take a pic of the 'main bin' (the one outside'!) to check that no one managed to sneak any rubbish outside!!

I expected to find the bin empty:

Now imagine the shock:

And it wasn't even our rubbish!!

There was a tell-tale indicator on the top (removed immediately!) & 7 more in the neighbours' bin!!

Yes, Dad and the neighbours had had a drinking party outside (the neighbours were sawing wood!) & this was the horrible result!

I promptly picked them up & washed them & they are waiting to dry & be recycled!

If they had the nerve to put rubbish in our bin, I had the nerve to take some out of theirs to have it recycled!

(my neighbours' bin, the attick neighbours': 2 adults+2kiddies - offending recyclables eliminated already!)

(my neighbours' 2nd bin: the downstairs neighbours, Grandpa&Grandma's - Honestly I don't know why they didn't put the rubbish into their 2nd bin? - Maybe the ashes from fire were still hot?

They are 4 adults: Grandpa, Grandma, the young ones+2 kiddies, and yes they have 2 bins! I've already talked about the rubbish problem with their Grandpa@small bin, & the Mum of the attick@big bin. She said, 'But we are 4!' & I wanted to send her to Mrs A for training!!
This is the Mum that bought her son a plastic Wallee!! instead of teaching them how to make less waste!!:)
Of course she works in a shop (mini-supermarket!) & that makes it difficult to eat healthy & make less waste!!

But how much garbage did we make? Did we manage to go 'zero waste' completely?

Alas, no. But it was a good try. And I'm VERY proud of my family cause they have behaved so well & made so little garbage!!

REMEMEBER, this is the results of TWO weeks worth of garbage!!
(the bin in the front='mixed trash')

(I contemplated whether to throw the old garbage away & start with a clean slate, but that wouldn't be zero waste, would it? The plastic bag accounts for something too!)

All in all, the 1st day was the worst:
- the butter wrapper
- tiny plastic from Dad's tax ID pocket
- plastic sausage-wrapping
- AND a new wrapped butter was started! (with expiration date 20/4/2009 so not using it up wouldn't be zero waste!)
I was totally frazzled & thought I'd 'lost it'!! ;)

Then, other things mysteriously followed: (but surprisingly less & less garbage!;) - I taught people to just leave stuff on the counter!)

- unidentifiable white plastic foil chocolate wrapper
- a potentially recyclable #4 amaranth plastic wrapper (someone was too quick!!)
- a mysterious bit of paper towel? - we may fish it out again!
- some dirt from sweeping the floor on Saturday
(Sis did it! I've gotten used to taking dirt outside & just putting it under trees.. Truth is I'm in two minds about it - as we have wooden floor & stairs lacquered with conventional=toxic varnish, & PVC hall flooring..? so I wasn't as decisive & gung-ho about it.. What do you guys think?)

- tiny bit of thread from mending my pants & putting in new/re-used elastics! Haven't sewn for (at least) a decade so this is a new WAHOO!!;) And it's easier than I expected! darn!;) I also remember heaps!

- maybe some other tiny bits I've missed!

I did remove the non-cloth-hankie plastic wrappers (#4 plastics!) seen above, but honestly they did smell & I'm not sure if we won't toss them out anyway!
(Alas, there's foul smell in the bin! - due to the butter wrapper & the plastic sausage!)

I hate to say one of the yogurt tetrapaks (seen on a pic later on!) was washed too late too, & did smell.. so not quite sure what to do with that either!

There's also some used paper hankies & some hair in the bathroom bin, not quite sure what to do with those either.. (If it were my hair, I'd compost it, others' hair is chemically treated with shampoos, so I'm not sure..?)

The bird's droppings (our sweet budgie's) are collected separately, to be put under trees also.. I read it's okay to put them in compost, but my family is afraid of avian flu or such, & don't wanna risk it..

There's also plastic foil from the 'eco bananas' - I'm thinking to write to the company! & there will be the waxed paper from the carob yummy spread..

The good news is, Mom's made butter AGAIN! :)

(pic from 1st time she made it, no bought yogurt this week!;)

I do hope homemade butter becomes a true tradition!! (Mum said she only used cream from 2 or 3 milks - we get 2 liters at a time: The trick is to take away the cream before Dad manages to usurp it, & after there is some bigger amount of cream already!)

It was surprisingly easy, after all the terror & sweating, my family did their best...!! And I ADORE them for it!!

I felt like a really horrible person for making them do all these things, Mum's gone a bit ill in the process, it was a sucky week weather-wise..

I wanted to bake them a yummy zero waste treat (ispired by the lovely presents from Mrs A & Mrs G!), but alas Mum's bought some biscuits in an unindentifiable plastic container at the fair on Sunday! /sigh/

Must make sure to tell my family of my baking attempts well in advance! /at least she was supporting local economy!/
Mum also bought cheese, & while it wasn't zero waste (came in a plastic bag!) it was local & homemade - & we might turn this into zero waste cheese if we network with the supplier wisely!

The Zero Waste Week was a great learning experience!!

I managed to buy meat in a reusable container AND fix my pants, & I don't think I'd have done it without the zero waste week!!
We also made 1/2 of a weekly menu (after a veery long time!), & remembered to use up the sour cabbage & turnips, before they'd gone completely bad!

We realized this is easier than we expected, but our 'recycling' biz will have to be streamlined a bit (& I may post more about it in advance!)

I hope we will continue to make so little waste - or even less!! :)

Dad was unhappy with all the recyclables on the kitchen counter! - Well, they have to dry somewhere! (He suggested we collect them in the 3rd 'bin department' & Mum rebelled she needs that space for her chemicals=cleaners!)
How & where do you girls & guyz wash & leave them to dry? Do you have a separate box or something?

/Weening Mum off the chemicals may be a learning process & I don't expect her to go 'cold turkey'!/

Also, the recyclables need to be in designated places or they are 'forgotten' (& start to smell!) They also need to be washed regularly enough!
(This is easy if 1 person both makes & washes them, if it's 2 or more different people, & if the kitchen isn't spiffy, err, errors or miscommunication can occur! Stuff can get lost in the jungles of the counter!!)

To avoid packaging from dishwasher tablets (& make Mum happy!), I washed more dishes this week than ever!!
(The eco detergent doesn't wash so well, is a bit abrasive to dishes, & we're not 100% sure the 'recyclable' wrappings are really recyclable!)

Still to call about what actually *is* recyclable in our council.. For the purpose of zero waste week we just assumed everything that (the council & the packaging) says is recyclable is recyclable!!

Alas, I made no dish cloths! & I only got the beekeeping magazines today..
The old beehive is still waiting to be fixed too..

It was raining a lot, so luckily not much noise until Saturday & yesterday/today! YAY!! (& today the neighbours' wood is all sawed, lucky me!!)

We did some work in the garden today, & I went to fetch some zero waste honey.. :)

Oh, & I can't tell you what Mum did - it's too horrible!! - & the post is already too long! Must wait till next time! :)


  1. HUGE congratulations from me - what a wonderful result. You and your family have done really well, Layla - now i'm wondering what on earth your Mum has been up to LOL!

    Have a wonderful day and celebrate your excellent achievement

  2. That's brilliant Layla. What's wonderful is to see how you family have supported you (even if there have been odd grumbles LOL). What are your butter wrappers like? If they are just paper they could be washed and composted and in some cases the outer wrapper can also be separated depending on the material. Well done, and I haven't forgotten that cake :-D x

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  4. Congratulations Layla, to you and your family, well done!!!
    What an inspiring post!
    There's lots of tips to talk about and I fear I have no more time this evening... but what I want to say is that the real result is that you've just begun an adventure full of gratifications and satisfactions!
    Surely you'll continue to make even less waste! And your family will support you more and more!
    I'll write another comment soon! ;)

  5. Thank you Rae & Danda & Mrs A!! :)

    Must say things are gloomier today (& yesterday) - aparently the family partly thought it was 'zero waste week' only, & now they can shop & buy silly stuff happily-??!!

    Ohh well... some things have managed to 'stick', & I hope they will be at least a little more mindful of shopping etc.
    /& yes there are still grumbles & such, & Dad still hopes to marry me off or at least make me busy with other things!! /sigh/

    The butter wrappers are sort of flimsy aluminum foil/layer on waxed paper.. I may try to get a picture.. maybe you could get a picture of yours too?
    oh-gosh-this-sounds very silly.. :) must stop now before I write anything even sillier!! :)
    Looking forward to that cake! :)

  6. I have been reading about your zero waste progress and it really gives me new ideas on how to cut down on my waste too.
    In the states recycling just started and there is still so much waste, let alone if you go to the supermarket you get 1 single plastic bag for every 3 items! Sadly noone brings their own bags or boxes. It should be mandatory.