Here is the plastic waste our family threw away or recycled for July 2018:
There is still quite a bit of trash we are generating from using up our pre-zero-waste days, but we have a zero-waste solution once our supplies are out. For example, there is floss (don’t worry, I don’t usually save this, but there was some on the counter so I threw it into the picture). We still have 3 rolls of plastic floss left, but when its done I already have some of this silk floss that comes in a refillable glass jar. The dried blueberries come in the bulk bin at Whole Foods. I found an awesome non-toxic zero-waste mascara. I’ve actually been using it for about 5 months and absolutely love it, so when I found my old mascara bottle in a drawer and decided it was time to let it go 🙂 I also am letting go of all the toothpaste samples I had saved just in case natural toothpaste wasn’t working out. We have all 4 had dentist appointments after 8 months of brushing with baking soda (for Zach and I) or plain water (for our kids)–no cavities, our teeth look great, thumbs up from the dentists! If fact, I used to have tooth sensitivity, but it has completely disappeared. The dental hygienist said that the sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste actually damages the top layer of healthy tissue on the gums, so that makes sense.
Those annoying newspapers in yellow bags started showing up in our yard again, even after I had asked to be removed from their route. I am still waging war on unnecessary mail in our mailbox! I’ve found that it is easiest for me to just take 5-10 minutes in the afternoon about once a week and make calls to the places sending me junk mail. Everyone I’ve talked to has been super happy to help. The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera even commended me for being so conscientious.
There are some things I still don’t have a good plan for avoiding yet. Such as the stickers on produce, the twisty ties around greens, and the sticker on the side of the glass yeast jar. Some labels on glass jars are paper, some are paper coated in plastic. To tell the difference, try ripping it. If it easily rips, you have paper. If it stretches or is hard to rip, you have plastic.
The big wad of plastic bags in the top left is from a store in Atlanta, which I stopped in since we were driving by anyway. They had a whole section full of produce that was about to be thrown away, but they gave a last-ditch chance to sell by putting in plastic bags with a huge discount. I was pretty torn by it, since food waste is so terrible, but then so is plastic waste. I will definitely reuse the bags, but still….not sure what the right thing to do here!