Zero Waste & dental floss

*sorry to anyone who got this before it was ‘finished’!*

For regular readers of this blog, it’s a weekly obsession of mine to aim for zero landfill.  Each week I weigh in, but there’s some recurrent items in my waste.  Today I’ll look at whole I’ve conquered dental floss.

Floss

Whilst floss is negligible in weight, it’s still something I was regularly adding to the trash heap.  The only solution I could find was silk thread.  Given I’m not a vegan, I don’t have a huge concern with this option, and it can be composted.  So from plastic box, wheel and nylon floss (I assume it’s nylon), I’ve gone to silk thread, of course on a plastic spool.  Ah well, you win some you lose some.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE Exif_JPEG_PICTURE Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

In practice? It was a FAIL.  The thread is too thin, and it tears.  And at $6.70 a spool, it’s not cheap!

Lucky I got it in a colour I like, I should be able to find a use for it.  Oh well, you have to try to know!

This week’s weigh in:

Waste weigh in on Wed 10/7/13 (total for two weeks)

Waste weigh in on Wed 10/7/13 (total for two weeks)

220g – 95g = 125g. Not too shabby, as the bf’s nachos was made again, complete with foil chip bag & meat tray.  There was also turkey & salami packaging from my road trip meal.   I’m ever vigilant – in buying the salami I asked about BYO containers, and we talked about the logistics.  It seems possible, but difficult.  Another deli made it seem simpler, but it’s more of a walk.

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Zero waste & tissues

The hankie stash!

Remember a while back I was sickly but I had a miraculous recovery thanks to a nasal spray, which incidently has knocked my allergies for dead. I couldn’t be any happier. Plus, I had the nasal spray in my medicine cupboard, which means the ‘new’ spray I bought, I took back to the pharmacy and got a refund on!

Before the revival of the magic spray into my life, I was churning through boxes of tissues. There were tissue boxes by the sofa, on the kitchen table and on my bedside. Then a box at work, and a box or two around the BF’s house.

A little while ago, I spent the better part of a day making hankies. I bought two baby wraps and a sheet from the thrift shop (for a huge sum of $5 I think), and cut them into smaller squares (or rectangles/oblongs/weirdly shaped squarish things). All in all, I made more than 90 hankies! Every single one was double hemmed (as I didn’t have an overlocker). To make it simpler I ironed the hems, to make my sewing that much easier. Now I have a (paper) bag of hankies at my bedside, and by the sofa. The last lingering box of tissues is on the kitchen table.

So the loss? Well, the nasal spray is in a plastic contraption, so one day, it too will be in the trash pile.

Here’s some close ups:

Hankies macro hemming

A hem – done with two folds, so I didn’t have the overlocker and sewing machine to do these.

Hankies

The pink is from a bedsheet, the white from a baby wrap

Tissue bag

When I did away with tissue boxes, I swapped in some swanky paper bags 😀 (my mother or brother bought something there, not me!)

To be honest, they aren’t yet as good as tissues.  For incidental use, tissues are soft.  And they ‘stick’ together nicely, which my hankies don’t. (TMI? Sorry!).  Anyhow, I’ve used these hankies to wipe up spills too, so they really are replacing tissues, but they are washed and reused.

Usually, on waste Wednesday, I check in with my weight of non recyclable rubbish for the week.  I forgot this morning.  No idea why, it was just a normal morning.  Anyhow, if you read this before I get a chance to go home, and weigh it, and photograph it, and update this post, count yourself lucky! (I’m pretty sure it’s not the highlight of anyone’s weekly reading :p)

Why I’m not plastic free

I think about my trash more than any 28 year old probably should…  And then I share these weird and wonderful thoughts here.  😀

So I started thinking about what were ‘repeat’ offender in my trash and what changes I could be making, or need to plan to make.  And then there are plastic items that I won’t replace, as I already have them, but am mindful of.  Here’s what I have

Things I could improve/substitute

  • razors: when the disposable type run out (and I do use them for many many more times than usual), I’ll look for a metal handled replacement.  Even something that you only change the blades in would be an improvement
  • floss: silk thread is the best alternative, so I need to purchase some soon.  See, it’ll either be unwrapped (and is that hygenic?) or it’ll be plastic wrapped.  you can’t win can you!  I’ll update you on this in coming weeks – I’ve only tried it once
  • toothbrushes: when my supply of plasticy French toothbrushes die, I will look into more natural alternatives, most likely bamboo.
  • cotton buds: The World Without Us was graphic enough to let me know those little plastic tubes are no good, so I’ll buy more from GoBamboo when I find a stockist in this city
  • tampons: for the few men, I won’t go into details, but I could do without individually wrapped items.
  • blister packs from tablets: not sure i”ll ever find a work around here!
  • bandaids: again, is there a recyclable/low waste option
  • straws: rarely I’ll buy a drink with one. I should ask for them without straws, or buy a metal or glass straw
  • cutlery: I have a bamboo set, perhaps they should be in the handbag at all times (given you saw what’s in my handbag)
  • sushi trays: I need to BYO my plate or similar I think…  Possible – yes? Probable – no!  Still, as I tick things off this list, it might seem easier.
  • dish sponges: I prefer sponges, and I know you can buy compostable ones from cellulose.  Surely there’s a supplier closer than this one in Canada?
  • sticky tape: there’s paper tape? I need to find out more and get me some!  Although it’s main use is gift wrapping which isn’t that often

Things I can’t seem to get around

  • jars: and the need to put a plastic seal around the rim.  Do they not trust the brilliance of the pop top seal?

Compromises I make

  • Yoghurt and sour cream pots: these come in reusable containers.  I know ideally food + plastic don’t work, but I’m just not at the ‘make my own’ stage.  And at least I pick the options where I have a container I can reuse over and over, rather than just recycling
  • Zip Lock bags: Firstly, i don’t buy them.  I buy frozen berries and the like, that come in them.  Then I reuse them.  It’s just so easy to buy bulk flours like this than with a huge (heavy) jar
  • Pump packs: Like liquid soaps, this is the easiest dispensing method.  I just buy them like this, and then refill when I need.  Of course the refills are usually also in a recyclable plastic bottle

Longer(-ish) lifespan plastics

  • Coat hangers: I could have decided to fill my closet with plastic.  I could have gone wood/metal and maybe that’s an option for the future.  But I like the consistency I have now.
  • Fan: It was a gift, I would have otherwise sourced a more metal based fan
  • TV/DVD/Radio: Can you buy these items non plastic? How would you make a remote control?  In the meantime, I’ll live with these luxuries
  • Blender/food processor/hand blender: I just can’t seem to find plastic free options, but two outta three were ‘freecycle’ finds rather than new purchases
  • Pantry storage containers: I make the (potentially faulty) assumption that i’m not heating the plastics I store flours and other bulk items in, therefore it’s ok?

Waste Wednesday weigh in(s)

Last week, I came in at 254g (compared to other weeks, this is about double, but there’s a reason).

Rubbish

Eww – look, a dead sponge, gnocchi packaging, butter wrappers, bandaids and tea bags

This week 113g (367-254g) <- man is plastic light though!

Gnocchi trays (more!), corn chips packet, lindt ball wrapper.  Healthy? nope

Gnocchi trays (more!), corn chips packet, lindt ball wrapper. Healthy? nope

So that big weight week?  Here’s why:

The tale of a broken candle holder.  (only the waxy glass pieces were trash, the rest I recycled)

The tale of a broken candle holder. (only the waxy glass pieces were trash, the rest I recycled)

All cause I moved the coffee table to clean – sigh!

Great plastic references:

http://plasticmanners.wordpress.com/tips/
http://plasticfreeguide.com/