Plastic waste journal

Plastic waste journal #2

First of all, we are now recording our plastic waste every 2 weeks because 1: We have less plastic and two weeks worth fits in our bins and 2: analyzing it takes some time and doing it twice a month is more sustainable for me :).

Here are the past 2 weeks:

First the not-recycleable-in-Chattanooga pile.


Again, some it should not be repeated. The formula was just for emergencies, and our youngest is 1 now and won’t need it. Brown sugar is sold in bulk at Whole Foods. Bulk dried cherries are sold at the Village Market. The plastic toy skateboard was Zach’s when he was a kid. Our girls found it and broke it within 2 weeks. Our 3 year old, S, has been realizing that plastic toys break more easily.

We KonMaried our CDs this week, one of the last categories we had left! (If you don’t know what KonMari is, then stop reading this post and read this book. Simplifying your life is the best way to cut back on your waste because you will stop buying stuff you don’t really need.) Back to the CDs…they are made out of plastic and cannot be recycled. It is way better to download a song/movie/software program than to buy a physical CD/DVD.

Another no-repeat is the mulch bag. If you live in Chattanooga, you can get mulch for free in your own container or pickup truck from the city. When you or your neighbor call 311 to have piles of branches or other organic yard waste removed, they take it away and chop it up into mulch that residents can have for free. If you live outside of Chattanooga, you can still buy it for $20 per ton. Yes, per TON. Thats a lot cheaper than buying it in bags. The city’s wood recycle page is here.

The styrofoam cup is lamentable and was totally avoidable. I usually bring my own mug to church for that usual Sunday-school-hour cup of coffee. But years of ingrained habit of drinking church coffee from a styrofoam cup surfaced through last week. Not sure how it happened, but I was actually finishing the last sips of coffee when I looked in my hand and realized—yikes!–I had picked up a styrofoam cup! I was quite dismayed. Styrofoam is particularly bad for the environment. It was a good reminder to not judge others, though. It is easy to accidentally pick up a piece of single-use plastic without even realizing it.

And for the recyclable plastic:


Way less than the not-recycleable pile, mostly due to our changed buying habits.

really wanted to make lasagna this week, and I bought a container of cottage cheese for it in a moment of weakness at Aldi. There has got to be a way to make curds and whey as a substitute for cottage cheese, I just haven’t done it yet. But now I don’t have lasagna noodles either (I used ones I bought over a year ago and have been sitting in our freezer waiting to be used). I’ll either have to make noodles or find a store that sells them in bulk, or at least in plain cardboard boxes. Or I could use sliced zucchini for noodles, which would be better anyway.

I found out this week that Linda’s Produce will take back their flower pots and reuse them–and they often have the best prices anyway. I bet other local stores like the Barn Nursery would do the same. The one in this picture was from Lowes and had a crack in it.

No more margarita mixes–real lime tastes better anyway!

Some plastic I am proud of refusing:

The “goodie bag” at S’s dentist appointment with plastic toothpaste tubes, toothbrush, floss, and a sticker. Replacements: We got the go-ahead from her dentist to brush her teeth with baking soda instead of toothpaste. Bamboo toothbrushes work just as well as plastic ones. We have enough plastic floss to last a year, then we will buy vegetable wax covered floss in a refillable glass jar from Stickers seem great at first, but in the end they just make S cry. She likes to stick and unstick them until they aren’t sticky anymore. Then she cries a lot and wants me to fix it. She is better off without them.

We had a huge party for Zach’s 30th birthday party and we did it with almost no plastic! I might just write a separate post about it one day.

That’s all for now!

1 thought on “Plastic waste journal #2”

  1. Homemade ricotta is really easy to make with whole milk and lemon juice/white wine vinegar. Ina Garten has a recipe that Gwyneth Paltrow uses.

    Thanks for posting this. Its inspiring!


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