TO DO LIST: REDUCE WHAT YOU SEND TO LANDFILLS AND RECYCLING CENTERS
Why? Trucking trash and recycling creates greenhouse gases. Methane is released from landfills. It takes energy to recycle and even more energy to extract virgin materials under our current fossil fuel energy system. Plastic gyres the size ofTexas are being found in the oceans. Marine life eats the plastic. We eat marine life. Oil is used to make plastics.
It could be a fun family project/Boy Scouts project. Kids feel good about themselves when they try to make world better.
See Trashed on Amazon Video or No Impact Man
How/Adoption curve? Reducing trash is just a habit. Write down 3 things you do well every night as it relates to the environment. You can also journal a paragraph or 2 a day on this to help you problem solve and stay motivated. If you forget your reusable water bottle, you remembered you forgot. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Also, you will probably want to start in small batches of homemade recipes below to see if you like the product. Then you will have to make a bigger batch but once you go into bigger batch phase it gets faster. Also, save up any container you can find. Then start saving glass bottles which are better and easier to clean. You then store your bulk purchases like flour in these.
Where? Bin shopping (from more options to least): Sprouts, Central Market, Whole Foods, HEB
Produce- grocery stores, farmer’s market
For DW detergent, mascara- buy some things at Bulk Apothecary
A)ORDER 6 THINGS FROM AMAZON 1) SoyaJoy G4 Soy Milk Maker- makes almond, soy and rice milks- no more cartons 2) bamboo toothbrush to compost later 3) Merkur long handled safety razors- razors CVS 4) For women- Diva/Luna works better. 5) Reusable Swiffer cloths to clean your floors 6) 2 sets muslin produce bags (I don’t like mesh) for buying produce, bakery goods and bin items- eliminates packaging/bags for oranges (blend to make juice), other produce, popcorn, salt, flour, beans, rice, chocolate, coffee, protein powder, humus, chicken broth, sugar, nuts, oatmeal and bread, muffins, cookies (bakery section)7) If you have to use a straw, https://www.strawlessocean.org/alternatives
B) ALWAYS CARRY 4 things: cloth bags, reusable water bottle, coffee thermos, take out container
Take-out trash takes up a ton of trash space. If you forget any of these items, you remembered you forgot. Progress! Write down 3 things you do well every night. Take out containers can also be used to stock up on peanut or almond butter in bulk section
C) PAPER/JUNK MAIL- how much of your life is putting this into recycling, then putting in bin, then taking to curb? Average American receives 848 pieces of junk mail a year. Estimate is 70 hours a year messing with junk mail. 100 million trees are used for land fills. 5.6 million of junk mail are sent to landfills. GHG created-equal to 3.7 million cars. 1)Get off general lists http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail use every variation of your name and children over 21 names. 2) Get the Paper Karma app- TAKE A PHOTO of JUNK MAIL COVER, PRESS SEND, YOU ARE UNSUBSCRIBED to maybe 40% of your mail. 3) Read West U examiner/neighborhood publications on line. Call to stop their delivery. 4) Stock pile the remaining mail. Then start with the thickest/more frequent mailings or the weekly coupons and contact them to remove you from physical mail. Email as it is faster or call if can’t find email. This is the hardest – 5 hours of time overall- but worth it!! Average person spends 8 months of life messing with junk mail. 5) Switch bills to on-line. 6) Take your remaining black and white mail and put it through a shredder and then put into your compost pile. 7) Recycle the colored mail.
PHASE 2: After mastering the first phase, quickly move to this phase as going 80% less trash/recycling is more satisfying than 60% less. Results more visible. For bulk shopping described in phase 1, you go to one store. Phase 2 involves changing some habits at home and embedding these various errands into your monthly errands. To motivate yourself, remember write down 3 things you do well each day. Journal through things that need to be ironed out or journal through your internal complaints.
Errands:1) Buy dog treats at PetCo. They sell them without packaging. 2) Go to farmer’s market and bring saved up egg cartons, buy honey in returnable jars at Eastside, return berry containers. 3) Eliminate shampoo bottles –get shampoo bar at Whole Foods- JR Liggett’s lathers a lot. d)Buy a 64 ounce reusable beer jug at Whole Foods for $5. Tony K’s and Jug’s I hear have returnable kegs for parties. e) Drink coke/pepsi in your reusable water bottle by filling up at convenience store. f) Buy ice cream by taking own containers to ice cream store. g) Take containers to pizza take out for them to put pizza in. h) Recycle plastic films from dry cleaning or similar at HEB container out front. i) Take wine bottles to Vom Fass get vegetable oil– expensive though. j) Return hangers to dry cleaners. k) Eliminate shaving cans by getting shaving bar. l) Do your own pedicures or take nail polish you have sitting around in drawers and your own flip flops to pedicure place so you don’t have plastic flip flops to throw away.
At home, work or at a restaurant: 1) use cloths instead of paper towels for spills 2)use cloth instead of paper napkins 3) pack lunch in reusable containers 4) refuse straws 5) bring your own reusable take out container.
PHASE 3 Make your own/DIY. Buy in bulk at Bulk Apothecary then compost cardboard boxes or paper A) spray starch– cornstarch and water-refill every 2 or 3 days. I leave cornstarch, funnel and spray bottle on ironing board. Run bottle through the dishwasher every 2 weeks. B) We use this only half the time: butter– soy milk and oil or this works well for solid butter http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/vegan-butter C) Deodorant Shea butter1 TB Arrowroot 2TB (Whole Foods for smaller package) 1 TB Baking soda, 1 TB coconut oil (whole foods for smaller package) D) cook pumpkin– can for year E) Roach spray- boric acid or put a jar out with vaseline on the inside and a bit of food F) Dishwasher Detergent Recipe 1 cup borax 1 cup washing soda ½ cup citric acid ½ cup kosher salt G) salad dressing H) Laundry Detergent – 1 bar grated Dr. Bronners, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, 20 drops o of lemon or essential oils, store in air tight glass jar I) Hummus- below M) eye make up– wetted cocoa powder or a blend of tempura paint with oil or shea butter (many recipes on line) I used my purple eye shadow for everyday lipstick N) mascara has been so so- People kept asking me if I had been crying- charcoal and bentonite clay and shea butter if you want to try it. 0) I don’t like homemade toothpaste but some people do P) google homemade tofu- it is better than store bought. Don’t buy a tofu maker. You do have to buy one ingredient but it lasts forever. Q) Pick berries and make your own jelly. Freeze them for smoothis. What we stored in freezer worked for 2 months of smoothies only past the season.
- 2 cups dry chick peas 2 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda water juice of half of a lemon 3 tbsp tahini2-3 garlic cloves½ cup water (or more if needed)⅓ cup olive oil1 tbsp ground cumin
- Place the dry chick peas in a large bowl or pot and fill with water so that the water is at least an inch or two above the peas. Let them soak overnight in the fridge. 2) Drain the chick peas. Place them in a pot and fill with new water, the salt and baking soda.3) Bring the chick peas to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat so that it is a low boil. Cook the chick peas for an hour. They should soften so they can easily be smushed with your fingers. 4)Drain the chick peas and let them cool until they come to room temperature. 5) Using a food processor, pulse the chick peas, lemon, garlic cloves and tahini. While the food processor is running, slowly pour in the water. Check the texture and thickness of the hummus. If needed, add more water to desired consistency.
- When serving, scoop into a bowl and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle cumin on top of the hummus.
J) Hand lotion via wellness mama
- 1/2 cup Almond oil or Jojoba oil (or any other liquid oil)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional)
- 2 tablespoon Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter (optional)
- Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference (optional)
K) Crackers http://allrecipes.com/recipe/22394/lavosh/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=16212&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=cardslot%203
J) Household cleaners: https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/non-toxic-home-cleaning/
PHASE 4 Make a compost pile. Get a bin so it’s enclosed for food scraps. The kind that you can spin such as enviro composter is great. Then when it is time to apply the compost you just roll it to where you want the compost to go. SUPER EASY. Spin it every couple of days. In 6 weeks, you have compost. Or you can have an open compost pile with citrus and coffee grinds but without other food scraps. (veggie scraps go in freezer for vegetable broth). Don’t put weeds in it. Divide in 2 for resting compost and compost you are adding to. I don’t ever turn it but eventually it makes compost. For more nitrogen in the open compost pile, I put coffee grinds I get for free from Starbucks and for carbon/nitrogen, Wabash bags and leaves out chicken manure mixed with hay in bags behind their store. If you have a lawn, you can put grass clippings into the pile for nitrogen.
Compost means waste won’t decompose into methane in the landfill. It will also rebuild your soil (as long as you don’t use chemical fertilizers that will kill the microbe ecosystem in your soil.) It will also retain more water during floods. It will also make your flowers and vegetables more attractive.
AVOID Try and think if you really need what you are about to buy. Does your child need one more toy? Do you know that we have produced so many clothes that folks in third world countries can’t absorb them? Watch True Cost on Amazon Video. Buy high quality cotton, wool or silk clothes and wear them for a long time. You can eventually use them as rags or, if cotton, wool or silk, put them in a compost pile. We are in a different era than the 70s. 7 going on 10 billion people with increasing standards of living. Plant native plants so you don’t have to buy chemical fertilizers. Drive electric cars so you don’t need oil and oil filters, etc. We waste like 40% of our food. Use up all your food. All Recipes has a link where you can put in what you have in your frig and it will generate a recipe for you.
If you think this is all too much, you haven’t watch Trashed on Amazon Video.
Repair your toasters, blenders, weedeaters etc at a Repair Cafe for free. https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/
Go to Craigslist, Freecycle and for free stuff, go to and post at Buy Nothing Houston Facebook sites.
ALLRECORDS on Edloe takes working CDs, Records and I think cassettes you want to get rid of. For those not working, you can mail to Green Disk for $12 plus shipping for items under 25 pounds.
For small shampoo, conditioner, etc bottles from hotels, Star of Hope accepts them at https://www.google.com/search?q=houston%20homeless%20shelters&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS501US501&oq=houston+homeless+s&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.4614j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&npsic=0&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=29742812,-95403603,5412&tbm=lcl&rldimm=7808163031134613336&ved=0ahUKEwiIk-r7xM3WAhVD4GMKHeh3ALwQvS4IRzAA&rldoc=1&tbs=lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2#rlfi=hd:;si:7808163031134613336;mv:!1m3!1d137326.97542277857!2d-95.27779269999999!3d29.805831!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i440!2i238!4f13.1;tbs:lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2
Texas Art Asylum accepts items on this list http://www.texasartasylum.com/donations.html
RECYCLE For the remaining stuff, try to recycle. Westpark recycling has a list of what they can take. Like blowdryers and styrofoam blocks. At the bottom of their website, there is a link to hazardous waste for recycling yard and car liquids.
A great resource is https://earth911.com/
For styrofoam peanuts, see if your shipping place will accept. Postnet at 2726 Bissonnet will accept them. HEB on Buffalo Speedway has a deposit box for sheet plastics like from dry cleaners.
If they don’t take it then Google the object you want to recycle and the word recycle and you might find that it can be recycled. Like you can recycle tennis balls if you have 200 balls. They will pay for shipping.
Used CD and cassette tapes and electronic cords from camera, phones, plus more, go to http://www.greendisk.com/gdsite/services.aspx
For trash under 25 lbs, click on TechnoTrash for $11.95 then pay for shipping. Go to checkout. THey will email you the mailing label. Hospitals and folks who need it certified they recycled use this place. They employ all disabled folks to do the work. Disabled people have 70% unemployment rate.
Other helpful sites:
Zero Waste No Impact Man
Going Zero Waste Story of Stuff
Please add your success stories or let me know if this encouraged you to recycle/ reduce trash. [email protected]
SUPER EASY- NO IMPACT ON QUALITY OF LIFE- JUST SWITCHING FROM ONE SET OF HABITS TO ANOTHER