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My first year living Zero Waste (aka, see how much trash I produced in 1 year)

My first year living Zero Waste

This is my first YEAR living zero waste. Below is all the rubbish I have produced from June 2014 - June 2015.

June 2014 - December 2014 > blog post here


January 2015 – June 2015

My first year living Zero Waste

I did it! My first year living zero waste is complete.

Looking at the trash over the last six months (second image) I can see that it is significantly smaller than the first. What seems to be the biggest contributor is receipts, boarding passes and baggage tags from my trip to the Philippines earlier this year. Another big item is a pair of sunglasses that I broke on that same trip then had repaired when we got home…and they broke again on another part of the frame.

The contents of the last six months that cannot be recycled (yet) by the local recycling companies:
  • Plastic clothing swing tags and small plastic ring from a swing tag
  • Baggage tags
  • Broken sunglasses
  • Loose thread
  • Receipts and boarding passes
  • Sticky labels from cheese and Plastic packing tape
  • Freshness packet
  • Four clothing tags
  • Cotton swab/tape from a blood test
  • Plastic spoon and plastic toothpick

Comparing to the first six months I can see a theme. I need be more vigilant when at any cash registers and not go into lala land when handing my bank card over. I have a holiday to the US coming up and I know there will be baggage tags and boarding passes as a result, though we are doing carry on so this will minimise the larger destination identifier tags.

Another waste item I intend to tackle is sticky labels from cheese. We buy cheese in wax or cloth not plastic and sometimes the cheese will come with a sticky label on it. So we need to find someplace that sells a cheese in wax or cloth without any sticky label. I could make my own but I might leave cheese making to the pros. And I am not giving up cheese nosiree.

I will do another trash audit in six months. Hopefully there will be less plastic receipts!

24 comments

  1. Incredible! Seeing your tiny pile I now know I can do more to reduce our waste. Diving into your site now.

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    1. Thanks Kylie. Everyone can do more :)

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  2. I am blown away. Completely blown away and I need to buck up my act!

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    1. If anyone can do it, you can!

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  3. This is seriously impressive! Consider me inspired.

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  4. I am Very Impressed. I am far from 1 jar of waste per year. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I bet you are closer than you think Annemieke

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  5. You're amazing!! I am seriously blown away by what you've achieved!! And how much good you are doing for our environment, you must be pretty chuffed no?! You have certainly inspired me to be more vigilant. Thanks for sharing Erin x

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    1. I will admit that I am proud of myself. I am glad that my change has inspired some thought Megan.

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  6. WOW that is so impressive! Congrats! So inspired by this, Erin!

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  7. Wow! I can't believe that's all you have for that period of time! That could be less than a day for me. Ahh!

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    1. It has taken me two years to get here :) But it is achievable for anyone

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  8. Anonymous6/09/2015

    what's wrong with the ray ban? i can't see it on the picture. 3 years ago i lost a screw and brought my glasses to the eye shop and one day later they were repaired.

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    1. I wish it was only screw. The first break was near the bridge of the nose which I had repaired for $40. Three weeks later another break became present on the lower right frame. I didn't drop them, it just appeared :(

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    2. Anonymous6/09/2015

      that's a pitty :( what glasses do you now have? second hand or new ones? i have mine for almost five years and i hope they will last for a long long time... i'm from germany and there are wooden ones now available, maybe my next glasses in a not so far future...
      great achievment, inspiring blog and i try my best step by step ;)

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    3. It was a pity because they were a good comfortable fit. They were second hand ray bans but might have bee fake because the frames were really light. I had them for four years and were the first pair of glasses that have ever broken on me. I have seen the wooden ones and am thinking of buying some if I see them. Thanks for the kind words :)

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  9. Do you compost your wax from cheese? I'm in two minds about this - do you know if your wax is made from petroleum? If you have any brands you can recommend I'm all ears! I generally just avoid buying cheese or buy things like feta that don't have packaging - I use my own container - but I know my husband would love to broaden his cheese-eating! : )

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    1. I don't compost it. I was thinking of using it to make candles but have since read that it won't create the best candles. So I am going to keep it just in case i ever decided to make my own cheese or can be used as a fire starter or seal bottles. We try to buy cheese in cloth when we see it and that we will compost.

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  10. That's awesome!! I also struggle with labels for cheese. We buy ours at Whole Foods, and they give you a sticker to take to the checkout line. And sadly, we don't live in an area with an array of artisinal cheese shops :)

    But congratulations on such a small pile of trash!

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    1. We bought more cheese on the weekend and now have labels to put into my trash pile. I am wondering if I should attempt to make my own?!

      Thanks for the congratulations :)

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  11. Anonymous1/13/2016

    You can reuse freshness packets to keep luggage, metal and stored items protected from moisture, mould and musty smells. I use them to prevent my fencing foils from rusting too much. ditto for the little ones found in medicine containers.

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    Replies
    1. That is a great idea. Thank you for sharing your helpful tip :)

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