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Eco Team Garbage

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thread on Eco Team Program: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...16#post2629616

1. Recycle everything that can be recycled. Make a recycling collection area in your home. A small area in a mudroom or the area under the kitchen sink work well for this. Glass and all metals are easily recycled and widely available. Paper is easily recycled but not as widely available. See what is available in your area. Call and request that a company extend services to your area if they do not already collect there.

2. Make a compost pile, or worm bin to eliminate food from your garbage. The worms in your compost pile or worm bin like many types of non-recyclable paper, such as tissues. The master composter at www.mastercomposter.com is a good site to learn how to build a compost pile or worm bin.**Ask questions here if you've got questions and I'll help as best I can from my experience.

3. Go through your garbage to see what you put in it during a week after taking out what can be composted and recycled. This will not be disgusting once you've gotten the compost out of it. Think about what you can do to eliminate these items.

4. Start making a habit of carrying re-usable sacks and containers for purchases.

5. Start using paper more efficiently. Set a place on your desk for storing half-used sheets of paper. Use them for lists and notes. Once you've used both sides, put it in the recycling, worm bin, or compost.

6. Use cloth rags for cleaning up spills. Instead of buying paper towels, add to your cloth rag supply instead. Then you will not have to resort to paper and will not worry about running out of rags. Old t-shirts are great for cleaning windows because they don't leave lint behind. Before picking up paper, think about what you can use instead.

7. Use cloth handkerchiefs. Use cloth diapers. Use cloth wipes for babies and children. Don't use disposable feminine hygienic products either. Get a Keeper, Diva Cup, or cloth pads.

8. Stop using disposable items when entertaining. If you don't have enough plates or glasses, see if you can get someone to bring more. Or stock up on glasses and plates at second hand shops.

9. Repair items rather than putting them in the trash. Make use of the local appliance repair shop and the local shoe repair shop. Use a sewing machine to repair clothing. When it's beyond repair, turn it into a rag.
Donate unwanted items to a charity shop.
Use rechargeable batteries.
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
This is copied from my website and written around the 3rd of January:
When we went through the eco-team program, we already recycled everything that could be recycled. We didn't compost though and built our first compost pile while in the program. Once I took out all of the compost, my garbage became pretty clean. I decided that I could use re-usable grocery sacks because I no longer needed to have the grocery store sacks for garbage sacks. I did have to argue with quite a number of clerks about not needing their sacks, however. At that time, I found that the main items in my garbage were plastic sacks just the same. We still got them when we purchased bread. Our toilet paper still came in them. And the list of plastic sacks could go on and on. The other item we had lots of in our garbage was plastic tubs. I found a place that would recycle them and would take them when I was in the area a few times a year. But that has long since disappeared. My tubs get re-used as food storage items until they are breaking. Then they get used for mixing pigments and go into the trash afterwards. I've tried to minimize the purchase of items in tubs, but I haven't been doing very good at it for a while now.
At one point, my family filled up one regular-sized metal garbage can every two months. I'm rather ashamed to admit this, but we can create that same amount of garbage in three to four weeks now. I decided at the beginning of 2004 that we needed to do the program again because of the realization of how much we have declined in this area. But getting a team together did not work out and I've ended up with this website.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Children have woken up so I really cannot elaborate very much right now on how we have been doing during the last month. One thing that happened that was a pretty big setback on our garbage is that our washing machine broke. This time it was a part that could not be replaced. It was a front loader built in 1978, so it had been around for a long time. But during the 2 weeks that I was without a washer, my disposable diaper use went in the opposite diection of the way it should be going. I got my new Bosch front load washer last night and hope to get better this month. Something good on the diaper topic did happen this month. A neighbor gave me two old 100% wool blankets that I will be making into covers so that I can use cloth more.

GTG. I will expand on my progress later. This is an area that I really need to work on.
post #4 of 26
How do you recycle glossy papers/magazines?

Also plastic wrappers that come on everything?

(If I am not suppose to ask here...please delete mod)

Thank you so much Madrone for doing this!!!
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
You are supposed to ask questions. And hopefully other people will contribute to help figure out solutions to your problems and questions. Thanks for bringing the eco team thread up and thank you for particpating with me.

Different recycling centers have different requirements for everything. Many places do recycle glossy magazines. An actual local eco-team composed of a 5 or 6 neighbors will be a lot more effective than our on-line one because of questions like this. The only thing I can tell you is to look in the phone book and call all of the recycling places within a certain distance to you to see if they will take glossy paper. When calling companies in the past, I have gotten them to expand their service into my area when they were pretty close by. But that requires you having a place to have a collection center used by many. I have talked two office office buildings and a large apartment complex into hosting a collection bin before and a company that was already picking up close by to pick it up. If you cannot find a company that will recycle glossies, perhaps you could at least get a lot more use out of the glossies by taking your magazines to offices like WIC, social security, etc. I have waited in so many offices like in complete boredom while wishing for a magazine. They could also go into the compost or a worm bin, if it just glossy and not a plastic coating on the paper. A friend of mine will put small amounts of glossy paper in her mix when making homemade paper, but that will never get rid of all of the glossy paper that passes through one's line. You'd need a full tme paper making business. And then you'd only be getting rid of your own. The glossiness does eventually fade off of magazines if they do not have this thin plastic coating on top of it. That coating does make the paper completely unusable. Because of not knowing exactly what is used in the ink of paper, I like having two different compost bins, one for flower beds and one for my vegetable garden. I can recycle glossies with my paper, but if I couldn't, the glossies would go in the flower compost and not the vegetable garden one.

It's kind of ironic. You are having problems finding a place to recycle glossies and I have problems with just regular paper. Office paper is easier to recycle than glossy paper, but we don't have local pick-up of it. Things really do vary by location. I save a certain amount of my paper (having used it on all sides) for homemade paper, but most of it goes in the flower compost. That one is the one that hardly ever gets turned, so it takes a longer time than it should to turn into compost. I'm lucky to have the yard space for it.

One of my problems on garbage that I have been thinking about recently is yogurt containers with a plastic-coated paper lid. I used to never buy them, but my DD is lactose intolerant and soy yogurt only comes in this container. Close to two weeks ago, I found goat milk yogurt in glass containers. I have so much enjoyed the taste of real yogurt. I was tolerating the soy, but this tastes so much better. It's a bit expensive though. I have decided that I really need to stop being lazy and wake up early enough to go to the local Thursday morning market to see if I can find a vendor that sells goat milk to make my own yogurt. I'm hoping that the yogurt making process of goat's milk is the same as with cow's milk. I have also been wanting to wake up early enough to go there to try to buy this soft cheese that DS loves without buying the plastic container it comes in at the supermarket. I'm so lazy though that it is really hard for me to get out of the house before noon. Much less get someplace to do shopping before noon. Maybe I have to start doing something on Wednesdays to exhaust my daughter so that she will sleep on Wednesday nights so that I can manage to wake up on Thursdays. Which also means that wednesday nights would have to become leftover night.

I'm starting to make wool covers with my old wool blankets.
post #6 of 26
Do you have any informative links on composting?
post #7 of 26
In response to your suggestions:

1.And reuse?
2.We have municipal compost! Cool, ha?
3.That’s a good tip (especially with my lazy moments, guests, children and DH, who’s not the most diligent)
4.You need to purchase bags at the stores here, which greatly improves dedication to BYO.
5.Got most of that covered. I’ve actually gone back to paper coffee filters and some paper towel uses. Why? I can get all the coffee into the compost, don’t need to rinse and it’s easier. Paper towels are efficient for cleaning some things that might ruin cloth. What are your thoughts on this?
6.Yep. Don’t use that stuff…hate it anyway. We do have the luxury of lots of storage space though.

I could add a few:

1.Reuse where possible. “Reuse, Repair, Recycle” is a slogan I keep in mind.
We reuse lots of waste as packing material because we ship too much
2.Cut down on consumerism in general (my big challenge!)
3.Consider packaging when you shop. Perhaps buy the thing bagged rather than box and bagged and etc.
4.Make use of the bulk stuff (grains, snacks, soaps…)
5.Pass on give away crap and lids, coffee jackets, flyers… Share or eat in where possible.
6.Check in with your town's recycling services from time to time. They may make changes or advances that you’re not aware of. Or, stop of at the dump and see what they recycle.

I’d love to ask a few questions.

1.Which recyclable products are most efficiently used or in demand?
Often I’m faced with a choice between glass, plastic, that metal coated stuff ~ vermapacking (?), tin and I’m not sure which one to choose based on that criteria.

2.Do you know the difference in impact between the glass you return (to be washed and reused) and recycled glass?

Originally Posted by khrisday
Do you have any informative links on composting?
I did some research a while back. There are lots online but I understand wanting good source. I’m sure someone will have a link ~ or maybe it should be a topic, ha? We layer compost from time to time but it’s a touch of a PIA and attracts ants. Basically, you plant the garbage in your garden…easy. Also, you can start with coffee, egg shells and some other stuff right a way. Good luck!

Oh, and thanks Madrone! This is a really nice idea. I was just feeling really run down by all the different recycling piles in my home…I needed a little kick in the…
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for doing this with me. ICM, may I use some of your suggestions on my website?

On compost links, I have www.mastercomposter.com linked above and on my website. He's a bit conservative, but I think that's for legal reasons. He doesn't want to be responsible for bacteria from not fully composted meat getting on your potatoes. I really do follow most of what he says with my vegetable garden compost. But that is just because I have two compost bins. I'm lucky enough to have the space for it and it's practical with the arrangement of my yard and garden. ICM, you are lucky to have municipal recycling. You're in Germany, right? Germany is so much better environmentally than France.

On "that metal coated stuff ~ vermapacking (?)", are you referring to tetra-pak cartons? On the order of resources used, glass that gets washed and re-used is the best by far. I think recycled glass to be recycled again would be next, then recycled tin to be recycled, then tetra-pak cartons. The paper and plastic materials tetra-pak uses for producing the tetra-pak cartons are not post-consumer, so they are using a lot of resources in making them. They do try to get their paper suppliers to re-plant though. It takes more energy to recycle glass and metal than paper, but those are industries that are more organized as far as recycling goes. But I find it hard to know whether my tin of tomatoes is packaged in post-consumer recycled tin. If it's not post-consumer recycled, it would drop down below tetra-paks. I think plastics would be at the bottom no mater what. If someone knows I'm wrong, please correct me. I've never seen anything that has written it out and these are my conclusions from the things I have read.
post #9 of 26
Do you get mice from composting?

: Sorry.....I have really been wondering this though
post #10 of 26
Originally Posted by madrone
On "that metal coated stuff ~ vermapacking (?)", are you referring to tetra-pak cartons?
Yes. I think I had some kind of composing on the brain…vermaposting?? I have no idea where I got that :LOL

Someone told me that they’re doing ‘amazing things’ with the tera pack stuff so I’ve been buying it over tin. I have no resources for what he said though ~ just took his word for it.

Originally Posted by madrone
It takes more energy to recycle glass and metal than paper, but those are industries that are more organized as far as recycling goes. But I find it hard to know whether my tin of tomatoes is packaged in post-consumer recycled tin. If it's not post-consumer recycled, it would drop down below tetra-paks.
So much to consider, ha? This is something that has always interested (and frustrated me). I want to be an aware consumer but it’s *hard*.

Originally Posted by madrone
I've never seen anything that has written it out and these are my conclusions from the things I have read.
I haven’t either but I trust your opinion over mine. I have no head for comparing all the issues related to this stuff.

Anyway, thanks (I posted on the other thread as well)
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
No reason to hide your face for that question. Yes, you can get rodents in your compost. I've had some people say they will not compost because of this. But you can build a bin so that rodents cannot get into the compst. They also canot get into worm bins, so that would be an option if your worried about rodents. If you do fast composts in nice bins or you maintain and keep your worm bin clean, you will not attract rodents.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
Someone told me that they’re doing ‘amazing things’ with the tera pack stuff so I’ve been buying it over tin. I have no resources for what he said though ~ just took his word for it.

So much to consider, ha? This is something that has always interested (and frustrated me). I want to be an aware consumer but it’s *hard*.
It is really hard to be an aware consumer. And the company that does tetra-pak cartons does promote itself as a company sensitive to environmental concerns. There are not many metal compnies doing that. But in the European market, metal does get recycled in very high percentages. Chances are that the tin has post-consumer content in it. Same thing for Asia. Chances in the US are not nearly as high.
post #13 of 26
Thank you!

I am afraid of mice! I don't know why, but I can't seem to shake it. Rats and mice.

I love hamsters and guinnie pigs.....I don't know what my deal is!
post #14 of 26
thanks for the composting link! I'm in the US
post #15 of 26
Question: We just moved. What is the absolute ideal way to set up recycling in my home?
post #16 of 26
I’m sure there’s no best way but suggestions would depend on what you’re recycling and how.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
I only have one place to store my recycling and compost. Because of a huge move from a place where we were really settled into a very tiny place a few years back, I pretty much try to keep things decluttered. I do have a coffee tin that I put threads and things in by my sewing machine but take that downstairs to the kitchen to be sorted. When I originally went through my bathroom garbage, I decided that I needed to have a second bin there for recycling and compost (cotton and lint). I put a second pail next to our existing pail, but it disappeared. Things like that happen in my house. (They end up migrating to the workshop.) I ended up deciding that I would just sort through the bathroom pail each week. It's not like there is that much in it after just one week.

For me, I have one sack where I store non-glass recycling below the sink. We don't have to sort it out for pick-up. Glass has to be delvered to a collection center in the grocery store parking lot, so I just set them next to the back wall under the sink and put them in a shopping sack when we go to the grocery store. Our compost pail sits on the floor by the sink and gets emptied each night (for rodent prevention).

I know lots of people sort out there recycling as they collect it. The first person I met who recycled had a stack of plastic sorting bins. I have only set up systems like this, using cardboard boxes from the supermarket, when I was living in community situations. At the times where it was just me and DH in an area we had to sort, it just seemed easier to sort it out when I brought it to the recycling area. When it has just been us together, I never wanted to dedicate more than the area under my sink. Maybe that will change as my children get older.
post #18 of 26
Thanks madrone for this thread. Few things are as important as the health of our planet.
As a family, we already do many of these things, but I find there's ALWAYS room for improvement! I'm sure I'll enjoy reading through here and learning some new things.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
How do you all handle it when your child wants something that is not environmentally packaged? My son often wants yogurt in plastic containers that I will not buy. When I am shopping with him, I tell him that we would not be able to do anything with the container besides throw it away and maybe we could get one of these (handing him something else) instead. If he is with DH, DH will often just let him get it. I sort of feel like the mean one because of this. How do you all handle it? Does your SO do the same?
post #20 of 26
Thanks for the tips about recycling. I would like to reycle as much as I can. I am just unsure where to start and how to go about setting it all up.

I am sure I am not making much sense. I guess I need recycling 101.
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