Weekly Waste Diary with Gianna
About This Series
Weekly Waste Diaries is a blog series sponsored by Impact Earth that allows readers to follow a week in the life of bloggers as they track the waste that they are generating. Waste Diaries bloggers have a variety of experience with waste diversion and living a zero waste lifestyle. Let’s see how this week’s blogger will do!
This week’s blogger is a Zero Waste Schools Environmental Educator in graduate school for Community Health Education. Excited to be getting experience in and learning more about environmental health. Wanted to try out a vegan lifestyle and research why it is good for the environment and share that with readers.
I wake up excited to embark on this quick yet educational journey. I make my breakfast: a vegan bagel with peanut butter, a glass of almond milk and some berries. This is not unusual from my typical diet. I go to work excited for the week because my first meal is a success with absolutely zero waste!
After work some members of the Impact Earth team take a short break before our meeting. We head to a vegan friendly restaurant and I choose to create a Naan taco. I buy a bottle of iced tea to go with it. The waste I accumulate from lunch is the napkin, fork and paper coating the basket. I recycle the bottle.
After the meeting I headed to my second job and didn’t get home until later so I snacked on tortilla chips and guacamole. I have to throw out the single serving plastic container the guac came in.
Reuse: plastic cup, plate
Recycle: plastic bottle
Landfill: plastic container
I was enlightened on my second day of “being vegan.” I looked up to see if the makeup I use on a regular basis is vegan. I try to make sure all of my makeup is from cruelty-free brands anyways, so I research which is also vegan. Come to find out, all of my daily makeup is vegan except for one of my mascaras but since I change between two, I put on the one that is. I then eat breakfast, which is the same exact meal from the day before, I know, boring.
I don’t have to go to my second job today, so I get home from my Zero Waste Schools job and pop in a microwavable meal, vegan tikka masala. I usually eat the version with chicken but I thoroughly enjoyed this one as well. I recycle the plastic container but have to throw out the plastic wrapping.
I make pasta with sauce, which I cook the whole box of pasta and jar of sauce for leftovers, since I live alone and it makes things easier. I recycle the glass sauce jar and cardboard box the pasta came in.
Reuse: plastic cups, plates
Recycle: sauce jar, pasta box
It’s Halloween! I wake up and eat breakfast even though I don’t have to go to work at the school today. I eat the same thing as the past two days because I am a creature of habit.
Before I head to my other job I go to one of my favorite restaurants and get a burrito with tofu. Unfortunately I have to throw out the fork, plastic basket wrapping and plastic cup, including straw and straw wrapper.
My job today consisted of me taking an individual to a Halloween party. I have been doing really well sticking to an all-vegan diet until now. There is pizza and sweets at this party and I am working all night. I cave in and eat two pieces of pizza and a cupcake and drink apple cider. I feel like a failure but recognize that a vegan lifestyle is harder than it seems and that reality is nothing to be ashamed of. I make the decision at this point to try to eat vegan when I can (i.e. buying more vegan friendly foods for home, to do my part).
Reuse: plastic cup
Landfill: plastic cups, fork, wrapping, straw, straw wrapper, paper plate
You guessed it: a vegan bagel with peanut butter, a glass of almond milk and berries.
I bake some non-chicken crispy fingers and sweet potato fries and dip them in a fast food sauce packet of honey mustard I had in my fridge. I recycle the aluminum foil I used on the baking pan and tossed out the sauce packet in the garbage. I also throw out the plastic bag the crispy fingers came in, because I baked the whole thing to have leftovers.
I reheat the pasta I made two days before.
Reuse: plastic cups, plates
Recycle: Aluminum foil
Landfill: sauce packet
It’s my last trial day of being vegan; it is bittersweet. I finish of the week with the same breakfast but this time I’m out of berries so I recycle the small blueberry and raspberry containers.
It’s the weekend! I reheat the crispy fingers and also eat a bowl of applesauce and drink almond milk. I then have to get ready to go to my grandparents so I figured I would conclude my weekly blog after lunch.
Reuse: plastic cups
Recycle: berry containers
So to reiterate, my idea of “becoming vegan” for five days was to show people that it is possible to take small, positive steps to help the environment. You may be asking, why exactly is veganism good for the environment? I too had to ask myself that question before trying it out. The answer is that veganism helps conserve water, it cleans soil, it reduces energy consumption and it purifies the air. Regarding conserving water, livestock guzzle a ton of water and also they pollute the fresh water. In fact, it takes 100-200 times more water to raise one pound of beef than one pound of plant foods. Raising livestock leads to deforestation because one needs to clear land for livestock to roam. On the other hand, plants nourish the soil, leading to long-term resilience. Shipping and refrigerating meats uses a lot of energy and while plants clean the air, while all the livestock in the world cause more air pollution than all modes of transportation combined!
— Gianna H.