Weekend Waste Diary with Sarah: October 26-28
About This Series
This blog series provides readers with a chance to catch a glimpse in the life of a zero-waste lifestyle supporter. It documents the daily weekend activities of the blogger, as he/she generates waste from Friday to Sunday. Readers will be able to put their feet into someone else’s shoes through this blog series, and hopefully learn some good waste management tips for them to practice at home as well. These bloggers have experience in working with waste diversion and understand the concept of zero-waste quite well.
Let’s see how this weekend’s blogger will do!
This week’s blogger is living in downtown Rochester, and working as the Zero Waste Schools Program Manager for Impact Earth. She enjoys working, learning, running around Cobbs Hill Reservoir, and finding coffee anywhere she goes. Our blogger this week also happens to be quite the crossword puzzler, and takes her own zero waste twist on it by doing the puzzles on her phone instead of on paper!
I don’t have much time for breakfast today, so I put some ingredients into my blender for a breakfast smoothie. I add protein powder, flax milk, almond milk, a banana, and frozen fruit. I only have to dispose of the peel, so I set it in my compost bin. After my smoothie, I head off to work, and grab a cup of coffee at the “office.” I drink it in a ceramic mug, and the grounds from the coffee go into the compost once we make a new batch.
It’s been a hectic day, with lots of errands to run! Finally I’m home and can eat something. I slice up an apple and eat it with peanut butter, then drink a sparkling water. The apple core gets composted, and the can goes into recycling. I prep to go over to my friend’s house for her birthday celebration!
My friend invited us over for a birthday celebration, where we were surprised by a full meal, desserts, and cool drinks- all Halloween-themed! I ate some gluten-free pasta & roasted brussels sprouts. We used her cutlery, plates, and glasses, so there was no waste from dinner besides paper towels- which we put into the landfill (because she doesn’t have a compost bin.) Check out the cool drinks she put together- there’s a cinnamon stick, mulled cider, and some champagne in a spooky glass (thanks to some honey and sugar crystals!)
Reuse: water bottle, ceramic mug, Mason JaR, Dinner Flatware
Compost: Banana Peel, Coffee Grounds, Apple Core
Recycling: Sparkling Water Can
Landfill: Paper Towel
I’ve gotten a late start to the day, but get some food at a local diner. I order a coffee, which comes in a ceramic mug, but I use some plastic creamer cups, which will eventually go into the landfill. Our waitress brings us plastic straws with our waters, but we don’t use them. The only other waste I leave is my napkin.
Saturday is rainy and cold, and I’ve spent most of the day inside staying cuddled up and warm! To counter the mood outside, I make some chili in our slow cooker. I use ground turkey (I put the plastic turkey container into the landfill,) two cans of diced tomatoes, a can of red and pinto beans, and corn. All of the cans go into the recycling bin once I rinse them out. I add some spices and chili powder, and wait for it to cook through. Once it’s done, I eat it with some sour cream and shredded cheese. (Once the cheese is gone, I’ll have to put the plastic pouch in the landfill. I’ll be able to recycle the plastic tub that held the sour cream, though!) I eat a bowl of chili before going to work an event for Impact Earth at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. I bring my reusable water bottle with me to the event. I always carry it with me so that I can stay hydrated, and avoid disposables like plastic water bottles or cups.
Once I’m done with work, I meet my friends out for a drink at a bar for Halloweekend! I’m pretty beat, so before I head home I only have one beer, in a glass bottle. Hopefully the bar recycles the glass bottles and aluminum cans! I noticed that the bar was serving drinks with paper straws instead of plastic! That was pretty awesome to see! (Shoutout to Lux!)
Reuse: water bottle, Ceramic Mug
Recycling: Chili Cans (hopefully), glass bottle
Landfill: Plastic Creamer Cups, Napkins
It’s the last day of the weekend before the next week at school starts! On the weekends, I like to get up early to eat a good breakfast and drink a coffee while listening to the news. I decide on some yogurt with fruit and granola. I scoop some greek yogurt from a big plastic tub into a smaller bowl. Once I’m finished with all of the yogurt, I’ll be able to rinse out the tub and recycle it! I warm up the frozen fruit on the stove (sadly, we don’t own a microwave) and once it’s thawed, I add it to my bowl. Lastly, I sprinkle some peanut butter granola on top. The granola comes in a big plastic pouch, so once I finish it, I’ll have to put it in the landfill. I make a fresh pot of coffee, and once it’s done brewing, I can put the grounds and filter into my compost container to bring to work on Monday. I add half & half, which comes in a paper carton. I’ll recycle it once it’s empty.
I head to the RIT campus to get some work done at the library. I pack my lunch so that I won’t have to disrupt my work with finding a meal! I pack some leftover potatoes from the week in a plastic container, half an avocado (wrapped in a beeswax wrap,) an applesauce, an apple, and a chocolate. I usually can’t go more than a day without chocolate, but most of the time, they’re individually wrapped, which poses a real ethical dilemma. (Chocolate packaging designers- if you’re out there and reading this, please help me!) I bring along a spork I was given this week, at the Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit! I like to keep reusable cutlery in my backpack when I can, so I don’t have to use plasticware, which has to go in the landfill. I can reuse the plastic container that held my potatoes, the spork, and the beeswax wrap, but I have to put the applesauce cup and chocolate wrapper in the landfill. The apple core and avocado pit come back home with me to put in my compost.
Around 5, I need some more caffeine. I grab a coffee at Java Wally’s at RIT, and ask for it in a ceramic mug. I think I got a discount for using it!
I’m back home, and start to make dinner. I decide on baking an acorn squash. I cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds inside- these go into my compost. After putting it in the oven for 20 minutes, I pull it out temporarily to add some seasoning. I use olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and just a little bit of cayenne pepper (I remember to go easy on this one, I’ve made the mistake of using too much in the past!) Once it’s baked, I can easily pull the squash apart with a fork, and eat it right from the rind. Once I’m done, the skin of the squash goes into the compost. I also drink a sparkling water with dinner, which goes into the recycling.
After a long week, I head to bed in prep for the next week of zero waste work in local schools!
Reuse: spork, plastic tupperware, beeswax wrap, ceramic mug, Water Bottle
Compost: coffee grounds, apple core, avocado pit, squash
Recycling: aluminum can
Landfill: applesauce cup, chocolate wrapper
— Sarah Q.