Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reducing My Trash: An Update

For the month of June, our family has been working on reducing the amount of waste that we produce each week. I feel that we have made some progress, but our trash reduction has not been as dramatic as I had expected. I guess we still have a long way to go....
Here is what we have done so far:
  • We have been diligent about only using a disposable diaper while Phoebe is sleeping at night, and not during any other times of the day. I thought about putting Finn back into cloth at night, instead of his pull-up, but the diaper we have don't fit him anymore and I don't think I want to invest in clothe diapers for a kiddo his size (he is 3 but wears 5T). We have also been diligent about using cloth wipes unless we are out and about.
  • I made some cloth one-use hankies for us to blow our nose on (see above) instead of grabbing tissue paper. The system is still getting organized, and I realized that I need to make more hankies (I guess we blow our noses a lot), but I have seen a definite reduction in the amount of tissue paper in the bathroom trash can each week.
  • We have been composting our dog poop. A little gross, yup, but so far so good. I carry it to the dog compost zone (we made a special compost pile just for this purpose only) each day and cover it with used straw from our duckhouse or yard waste. So far there has been zero smell and no grossness. I still need to do some research about flushable cat litter. Just haven't gotten around to that yet, but in my plans for the near future!
  • I have also been mindful about composting as much food as possible. Now that I am eating very little dairy, this has actually been a lot easier because I can compost almost all of my food waste, even food that has been cooked. I have to head out to the compost pile with food waste just about every day, which has been a little annoying, but also makes me realize that we were throwing away a lot of food that could have been composted. Now we still really need to work on wasting less to begin with. It is hard with a three year old to not waste... sometimes he eats 2 servings and sometimes he won't touch a thing on his plate. Oh well. 
  • My husband did a little research and found a local place that will take some recyclable plastics that our curbside pickup won't take (like the annoying plastic containers that strawberries and blueberries come in). So we have no set up a bin in the garage for these containers, and we will drop them off as-needed.
On the down side, we have had a few things break (like a full length mirror) that had to go in the trash, and cleaning out our garage produced some trash that had been hidden for awhile (oops). I feel like we are still producing more trash than we should be, but, we are taking steps to try and reduce that, and hopefully we will see it decrease more and more as time goes on.  
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    1. I hope you know what an inspiration you are...I am working on making some cloth wipes.

      Not sure if it would work for you, but I put my compost in the freezer until the bowl is full and then take it out to the pile. It reduces the smell and fruit flies. = ) (You can see a photo on my blog right now, actually!)

    2. sounds like you are making great progress- I am a big time composter- but I'm lazy about it- not in the way that I don't compost but rather in the way that I compost EVERYTHING- yup dairy, meat, bones- I just can't help it- in the heat of the desert everything eventually goes away and it doesn't smell so why not!?

    3. You're doing such a great job, Taryn. It's admirable. We too recently cleaned out our garage and ended up with a huge pile of trash on the curb. I felt really guilty about it, but I finally found peace. We can't keep beating ourselves up about our eco-sins forever. We have to see where we can do better, and then move on.

      And, like Ren, I throw everything into the compost, including meat and dairy. :)

    4. We had a rat problem last summer (they were eating our duck's food) so I am a little nervous to throw dairy and meat into the compost b/c I don't want to bring the rats back. But maybe I should give it a whirl....

    5. Thanks for the inspiring post! We just moved to the countryside where my parents live and we're composting everything that we can, some of the food waste also goes to my grannys hen and duck meals as well. But I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with all that when we move to the capital. Since we're gonna visit the countryside every week anyway,I was thinking of a closed bucket on the balcony that we would put our food waste in and then once a week I'd bring it to the country. But I have to find a bucket that will stay closed on the way..
      Good luck with future reductions of waste to all of us! Because in the end- the rule was REDUCE, REUSE and only then RECYCLE ;)