This was a disappointing zero waste project day. First of all it was time to throw out my non stinky garbage. Almost everything in the bag could have been recycled elsewhere but instead it went into the garbage. I felt so reluctant to take it to the garbage room, it felt so wrong. But of course I am aware that even with a recycling program it may not have even been recycled so I also felt equally bad that I was not able to reduce my non stinky garbage more. I feel like many of the items in the non stinky garbage bag should not have been bought in the first place. But things got worse later in the day. I went grocery shopping at Superstore. I bought six boxes of kleenex, all six wrapped together in plastic; a dozen rolls of toilet paper, of course all wrapped together in plastic; an organic chicken on sale (yay!) wrapped in plastic and sitting on a styrofoam tray (boo). And then I walked past the shelf with produce items on for half price, reduced for quick sale. Half price is good for the budget and often the produce is still good, maybe just bruised or funny looking. However, as I mentioned before, they are all bagged in plastic to differentiate them from the non reduced produce. Budget minded I picked up several of these and put them in my cart. Then I counted five plastic bags and a plastic mesh bag. Environmentally minded I gasped at what I had done. Then the battle raged in my brain: these are perfectly good items that might wind up in the garbage, they are half price; in order to buy these items I wind up throwing away six single use plastic items when I am trying so hard not to bring them home, I can buy other produce without a bag. Budget…zero waste…budget…zero waste… In the end, I took with some guilt reduced carrots in a bag, reduced beets in a bag, reduced grapefruit in a mesh bag, reduced turnips in a bag. I also had grapes which always come in a plastic climate controlled bag. Then of course there was the kleenex and toilet paper both wrapped in plastic. So, I did not do very well today at all and I don’t feel good about it. In the end it will be all about balance, what I items I can accept in plastic packaging and what items I won’t accept. But right now I feel bad because my project it to try for zero waste and then on days like this I let myself falter, and this was after throwing out the bag of non stinky garbage full of plastic bags and styrofoam trays. There are always alternatives. I didn’t need turnips today, or carrots, even at half price. I could have said no. I didn’t.
This evening, however, my husband and I took a small step in the zero waste direction. The other night we shared an ice-cream at the ByWard Market which came in a single use bowl with two plastic spoons and with several napkins. Garbage cans in the market were spilling with single use fast food packaging. Tonight we decided to share our ice-cream in a cone – the only garbage was four small napkins.