I’ve been kind of astonished and equally nauseated at the sight of my garbage can since my lovely neighbour built us a giant compost to share. My garbage is ALL plastic! We have maybe one small bag of garbage per week and it’s filled with plastic packaging. Seriously. That’s it and I don’t know how to get away from it.

We eat a mostly plant based whole foods type diet. In order to stay on a tight budget I plan a certain number of meals to be made throughout the week with no strict order for when to eat each meal. I buy only what we need for those meals. Besides the fruits and veggies that dominate our cart I’ll buy butter, tofu occasionally (soy isn’t something we eat for nutritional value and consume very little of it), baking supplies (flour, sugar…), herbs, um… canned diced tomatoes, coconut milk, rice or hemp milk, nut butters, coffee, bulk beans, nuts… I use cloth produce and shopping bags. 

What I’m getting at is that we don’t buy a lot of packaged unrecyclable goods. How can I decrease our output of plastic packaging more than I do already? My dh thinks we should try and get our trash down to one bag a month. I honestly don’t think that would be that hard at this point if we were to compress the plastic a lot more.

One thing that does come to mind is the way I raw feed my dog. For sake of ease I put each .5 kg meal in it’s own plastic bag. The idea was that I could divide the food into equal portions and freeze them not having to wrestle with a whole frozen carcass at a later date. I take a few meals at a time out of the freezer and have them sit in a long deep container (so as not to contaminate our food with icky leaky blood) in the fridge to thaw. I’m wondering now if it’s worth buying more of these containers that can hold four or so meals to put the meat/organs straight in, bypassing the need for plastic bags. I can then just keep rotating out the containers. I could always put a piece of parchment between the first and second meal to come out in case they are still semi frozen at the time of feeding.

This topic reminds me of this blog: Save Your Trash Imagine how people’s lifestyles would change if they had to live with their trash for a year.

What does your garbage look like and how do you keep it to a minimum?

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9 Responses to What does your garbage look like?

  1. I totally hear you! In my dreams I will someday make yogurt and my bread and cut out the waste from their containers and bags!! But we do have a great recycling program in Seattle, so we recycle almost everything.

    What we don’t recycle, we try to reuse — I use the plastic bags from produce many, many, many times. I reuse glass jars and some plastic containers. We buy in bulk (rice, nuts, cereal, spices, flours, sugar, etc.) as often as possible. I sometimes make a special trip to the (more expensive) store where I can get our meat wrapped in paper rather than in the individually wrapped styrofoam and plastic (even our natural food stores uses these materials!)…

    We feed our cat raw food and I just put a few patties at a time into a glass container in the fridge. Then I spoon out his portion, add the extras (vitamins and nutritional yeast) and mix it up that way.

    Thanks for this post, and good luck!

  2. Lindsay says:

    We have more garbage than you lol. But we have no composter. I do try and save a lot of veggie trimmings and peels in the freezer to use when I make stock. We actually don’t have much plastic packaging in the garbage because there is a place we can bring soft plastics and styrofoam to here in Victoria to recycle it. It costs us money, but I think it’s like $5 for a garbage bag full so it’s not bad at all. We do use plastic baggies for the raw food, but we freeze about 3 or 4 day’s worth at a time in each, and will reuse the bags sometimes, otherwise rinse them out and recycle. Our garbage tends to be cat litter (though our litter is flushable, since it’s corn litter, so we try and flush it unless we are dumping and changing the whole thing), food scraps (bones, anything I don’t keep for stock), kleenex right now since we have colds… I can’t really think of what else we throw out to be honest, but there is definitely more than that. I know that if the plastic we use is really gross we throw it out instead of trying to wash it to recycle. Interesting post though, you have me thinking!

  3. Penelope says:

    Plastic is so hard to get away from, isn’ t it? We’ve been doing our best to reduce our dependence on plastic over the years. We bought Sigg water bottles and we use those religiously, I hoard glass jars and store everything in those (even frozen spaghetti sauce), we choose grocery items packaged in glass over those packaged in plastics, prefer wooden/eco friendly toys when possible, etc, etc. But we still wind up with more plastic than I’d like. One thing that I am grateful for is our province’s wonderful recycling program. Very little plastic makes it to the landfill. I’ll have to appease myself with that knowledge until I’m able to find more ways to avoid plastics.

    You’ve got me interested in Raw Feeding now, though. We buy a bag of dog food every couple of months and use it to supplement table scraps. For the most part, our dog eats what we do.

  4. Annie says:

    Thanks for sharing experience and ideas! It sounds like you all do a lot of what we do.

    I keep looking for a composter for you on Freecycle, Lindsay. I haven’t been lucky yet! Someone here actually compiles Styrofoam from residents from Port Alberni- Ladysmith and brings it down to Victoria. She does our area a good service. Lately our city recycling cut back on what they are willing to take. I’m so annoyed to have a note on my bin saying that they won’t take glass or certain plastic even though they’ve been doing it in the past. We have to actually take it to the recycling depot which in this weather isn’t pleasant to bike to.

    Penelope I freeze all my food in glass jars too (wide mouth mason). Ha. I think some people think I’m crazy but they work so well and I often have soup. I do have a few pyrex and rubber lidded containers but don’t use them that often. Not having a microwave means it’s usually easier to put leftovers in a pot since it’ll be warmed up on the stove anyway. I do like how the pyrex containers can go in the oven though.

    This is the thing that gets me. I *think* I buy very little and yet I still have an alarmingly large amount of packaging to throw out. Honestly I’m a little glad to not be the only one.

    I’ll do a post about raw feeding my dog and add some links. There are so many ways to do it but the benefits make it worth looking into. It sounds like Stacy, you raw feed differently than me. Do you buy premade raw patties?

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thanks Annie! I’ve been keeping an eye out too but don’t have time to read all the e-mails so I have the web only version. So I think I miss a lot of stuff. That’s great that someone is willing to collect all the styrofoam, I guess Nanaimo doesn’t have a recycling program for soft plastics then, huh? That’s crazy they won’t accept glass either. I wonder if it’s because of the chance of it breaking and hurting the people picking it up? Though that doesn’t explain the certain plastics they won’t pick up anymore.

    We freeze our food in Pyrex containers that have rubber lids. I really love them. To reheat, I just take them out and put foil over top (or not, depending on what it is) and can throw them right in the oven.

    I’ve started a page on how we raw feed too, but I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. I tend to direct people to this page now. We feed the “raw meaty bones” way of raw feeding. Simple and easy, though neither of my animals will eat liver which worries me sometimes, though they haven’t had it in years now and both seem fine so… /shrug

  6. Annie says:

    Nanaimo could definitely work on it’s recycling outlook.

    Interesting liver isn’t popular. May be strange but have you let it go off a bit before serving it? Of course I have a garbage dog who will eat anything but especially if it’s a bit more smelly. Do they like kidney?

  7. Lindsay says:

    They both will eat kidney, though I don’t think either of them love it. They also like heart a lot (though I know that’s more muscle than organ). I don’t really see any other organ meat in the stores. I saw beef tongue once but I don’t think I could have stomach cutting that one up, ugh! (And it’s not organ anyway, just something different.) I have never let it go a bit off though, maybe I’ll try that. We have tried pretty much everything else, and all the tips on the rawfed Yahoo list. My dog especially is so picky that if we grind it up, she will pick out the pieces of liver as she’s eating. And I lied a bit lol. The cat will actually eat it but he always pukes it up again later. It’s the only thing that does that to him and even when we give him tiny quantities at a time. Both of them will eat and tolerate the dehydrated stuff you can buy, though that is so expensive. I’ve sort of tried doing it myself once, but it was way too stinky and she wouldn’t eat it anyway. So we do buy a bag of the dehydrated stuff to feed them occasionally. I know it’s probably not nearly as good as fresh raw liver but it’s better than nothing, maybe. Anyway, now we’re way off topic lol.

  8. Annie says:

    Kidney is so much stinkier. I wonder if that has to do with it at all?

    Some dogs are just picky eaters, no? I’ve known a few dogs like that. They’d only eat if there was meat broth poured on top. : /

  9. dragonfly says:

    You would be amazed at what you can recycle at the Nanaimo Recycling Center! Sadly the economy is really challenging the recycling industry.

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