Trash Talk

This is what our “dry” trash amounted to for 14 days on the road, in Vanda.

For whatever it’s worth, John thought I was crazy to save it all, just to make this photo, but I really wanted to get an idea of what trash we would be generating. By the time we got home yesterday afternoon, the reusable dry trashbag was FULL!

I am committed to keeping dry trash separate from “wet”, wet being coffee grounds, egg shells, veggie & fruit scraps, and what little was scraped off of our plates after dinner–all of which was composted. (Aside: I absolutely LOVE the Vitamix FC-50 composting machine, which I will write more about later).

Separating dry from wet kept the trash clean, so to speak, although theoretically, there was fat residue on the cheese packaging, and crumbs in the chip bag, etc. I see now that much of this trash is plastic or made of materials that will last a long time — too long — in the landfill. This observation motivates me to continue to pursue food purchases that are either without packaging or that are packaged with cardboard, but realistically, this is not always possible. For instance, I happily purchased lettuce and micro greens at a farmers market for salad, but when that ran low a few days later, I ended up buying plastic-bagged spinach at Whole Foods. Ultimately, as I manage my time after shopping to include washing and drying of produce, I can buy a bunch of greens without packaging that will allow for less plastic waste.

Some of this trash is TP, some is aluminum or plastic covers for yogurt, some is chip or cookie bags, and I see a lot of aluminum tube packaging of John’s fave fruit rolls. All of that goes into the landfill. There is no “zero waste” while on the road, or perhaps ever, but these past two weeks has also invited me to evaluate my waste/reuse/recycle practices at home as well.

Recycle bins were available at all campgrounds, some multi-stream and others with single-stream collection. We generated, then recycled (yes, I kept track!):

  • 8 aluminum cans (beans, tomatoes, corn)
  • 13 plastic yogurt containers, including one each of cottage cheese and sour cream, either #2 or #5
  • 9 cardboard boxes (crackers, snacks)
  • 1 egg carton
  • 5 glass bottles/jars (salsa, wine, sparkling juice, jam)

So, now we all know what 2 weeks of Trash Talk looks and sounds like. Onward!

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