I have learned a lot on my journey to reduce my trash. Surprisingly, some of my absolute favorite tips are the easiest ones !
- start carrying a reusable bag with you to eliminate the need for plastic shopping bags
- look into composting options in your hometown. this will instantly reduce your trash by at least 25% !
- invest in a reusable mug
- keep track of your trash
That last one has been the biggest one for me.
It’s so easy to just throw something away and forget about it. But, when you have it in front of you it serves as a reminder that that trash doesn’t just disappear.
As per the advice of one of my peers, I have been keeping all my work trash in a jar. The jar sits on my desk and is not only a reminder to get more creative in my journey to Zero Waste, but is also a cool conversation starter !
All the trash I generated at work, from January 13 through January 31, lives inside this little mason jar.
So, let’s dive in and see where this trash is coming from ! Shall we?
Taking all the items out of my little trash jar, I realized that I had 25 pieces of trash. I generated / bought / created 25 pieces of garbage over 18 days between the hours of 9 am – 5:30 pm. Every lunch, every snack, every surprise trip to Shake Shack. . . boiled down to only 25 items that could not be composted or recycled and had to be “thrown away”.
As I began to evaluate my trash I noticed a few things:
- 18/25 of the items were related to food
- 1 candy wrapper from a really yummy chocolate candy my coworker brought back from Colombian #authenticAF
- 3 of the items (which were really one) were the little balls of tinfoil from a burrito I bough last week. I was CRAVING a burrito and I could feel the hanger coming on
- 3 of the items were from a surprise trip to Shake Shack (2 halves of a cup and a straw)
- 4 stickers that came from delicious pieces of fruit. Stickers like these can usually be avoided, but I straight up forgot to check
- 2 packages of individual hot chocolates because I want to be cozy all the time
- 1 sticker from that bottle of coconut water I got
- 3 of the items were from snack bags (1 chip and 2 braided predzels)
- The last food related item of trash was 1 wrapper from a sandwhich I bought at Pret a Manger
So, in order to reduce my work trash in the future I am going to bring my lunch more often, lay off the hot chocolate, search for pieces of fruit without the stickers, and bring more sustainable snacks instead of relying on the vending machine. Totally doable things !
- 7/26 were not related to food
- I had 2 individually wrapped Benadryl packages. In the future, I will try to buy medicine that comes in a bottle rather than a package. That way, the pills aren’t individually wrapped
- 3 of those 7 items were pieces of tape from when I taped my compost bin shut on my first trip to the drop-off site. I have learned since then that it’s totally unnecessary to tape the lid shut ! So, I won’t be using tape for that in the future
- 1 piece of plastic wrap that I took off a fake promotional record one of our vendors made:
- The last item of trash was a clear plastic clothing tag from when I bought a workout shirt over my lunch break because I forgot one at home and didn’t have time to run home before class #oops #NowIKnowICanJustWearASportsBra
So there you have it ! All the trash I generated from 1/13 – 1/31 between 9 am – 5:30 pm. I am going to keep putting my work trash in a little jar to remind myself that I can do better. Who knows. . . maybe next month I won’t fill the jar up !
I would recommend trying this out. Even if it is just for one day. Carry your trash with you. See how it feels. Because, again, it is so easy to just toss it and forget.