Update from the Garbage Experiment
People have been asking if we are still doing that thing with the garbage. July 1 marks one year and the official end of the experiment.
I had grandiouse visions for this project. I thought it would generate a lot of blog posts and tons of photos. But, there was very little drama and it seemed dull of me to to prattle on about it. For instance, it seems idiotic to reveal that I had never realized you could buy loose mushrooms to avoid the packaging. But, we did do some things differently, and will continue on with most of them. Here are some updates on the day to day realities of the garbage experiment.
While glass is is the healthiest container material option you have as a consumer, I tried to reduce the amount of glass containers that entered the house. When faced with a choice between glass and plastic (like peanut butter), I will always choose glass.
- I make our own spaghetti sauce and salad dressing now.
- I used glass jars at Christmas for bath salts and hand scrub gifts (jelly, jam, & pickle jars)
- When a spice runs out, I refill the bottle with bulk spices.
- I am stockpiling the jars we do have for future use just like Gradmom Davies used to do. I can think of lots of uses for old jars: spice rubs, homemade vanilla extract, buttons and craft doodads, nails and shop stuff, etc.
We have saved all the tin cans from this year. There were not that many. We will now recycle them at the curb.
- I missed buying canned goods with abandon. I still bought tomatoes but not beans. I know cooking your own beans is not difficult, but I must admit to missing the convenience of just opening up a can of beans.
- I decided to make all our own vegetable broth and reduce a ton of those aseptic boxes. That is somehow easier and more fun for me than cooking beans-- no idea why.
- We buy more in bulk-- rice, beans, oatmeal, brown sugar, spices, etc.--which avoids a lot of packaging. And hey, since the consumer gets to shoulder the cost for all that packaging, bulk is actually cheaper.
- Stopped as much of the junk mail as possible--called the companies sending me stuff directly and went to the Direct Marketing Association and asked to be removed from junk mail lists.
- We use cloth napkins. All that thrifting has paid off.
- We buy very little processed food. I admit to having an Annie's Mac & Cheese in the cupboard and some pizzas in the freezer. And some crackers and stuff. Come on, we need snacks!
- We did not and will not buy bottled water, or sodas or juices or anything in invividual plastic bottles. We have our Nalgene bottles but we probably ought to go get one those cool metal water bottles.
- I avoided clamshell packaging. I bought it loose or skipped it.
- I reused the produce bags (they are not hanging from every surface in the kitchen, I promise!)
- medicine: I have to take it but it generates a lot of plastic RX bottles. Never really figured out what to do with those.
- make cotton bags for bulk items -- totally reusable and easy to wash! I never did do this. You can buy them, never did that either. Oh, well.
- There is one garbage can that is holding plastic and cans that we did not repurpose or reuse. To the curb!
- The thread jar started to look really cool!
- fabric scraps: old jeans are good for patches, old shirts are good for rags....holding on to the fabric for now and mulling over things that could be made.