Weekly Waste Diary with Julia
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 blogger is a recent Environmental Science college graduate. Not only is she a Zero Waste Schools Intern with Impact Earth, but she also helps sell locally produced, reusable and sustainable products at events, and helps with our organics program! Follow along as she generates and tracks her waste all throughout the week.
7:30 AM – I wake up and it’s November 5th - my mum’s birthday! I find a piece of construction paper; this one’s lavender, conveniently my mum’s favorite color. I fold the paper and attempt to decorate the front side. I write “Happy Birthday” in bubble letters and try to draw a decent flower (I swear I was waaayy more creative when I was younger). Ever since I was little, I’ve always been one to make my own greeting cards; whether it would be for Christmas, birthdays, etc, I always made my own cards. In my opinion, homemade cards are just simply better than store-bought cards. They’re made from the heart, with no cost, and no waste! I finish up the birthday card and continue getting ready for the day.
9:45 AM - I’m about to head out the door and meet up with some coworkers to carpool to Hilton for work. Right before I leave, I grab one apple and two chocolate chip cookies that I had baked the night before for my mum’s birthday, which I wrapped in a paper towel. I also make sure that I fill up my reusable water bottle before I head to work for the day!
10:30 AM – I arrive at work with zero cookies left for the day. Yup – guilty. I just couldn’t resist it on the ride over there, the devil on my shoulders was telling me to go ahead and eat them. So, I just had to (talk about self-control…). I compost the paper towel that I used to wrap the cookies in and stay hydrated with the help of my reusable water bottle.
1:45 PM – My coworkers pick me up. On the way back home, we all talk about how our lunches went, and for the most part everyone had a pretty good/ordinary day at work. I munch on an apple on the drive back and save the core to later toss in my compost bucket back at home.
2:30 PM – I get home from work, toss the apple core into my Impact Earth Organics bucket and I greet my mum a happy birthday! I give her my homemade card and this certain type of hand cream she’s been wanting (both unwrapped/no envelope – pros: yay, no waste! cons: nothing is a surprise, looks unpresentable/last-minute…whoops), I continue talking to her for a bit, then I make a sandwich for lunch. I toast two slices of bread, spread mayonnaise on one of them, put some turkey and a thin slither of lettuce on another and put them together. No waste! After lunch, I take a shower and get ready to work an event for the evening.
Reuse: water bottle
Compost: banana peel, clementine peel, apple core, paper towel
5:40 PM – It’s not even 6:00 pm yet, and it’s already dark.,, sigh. Anyways, I grab a banana and clementine, and head over to Arbor Loft to work an Honest Folk concert event! I love working these types of events because they are always held in such chill, unique venues and they always host and feature shows with such amazing, and unknown artists! Also, just recently, I’ve been able to sell some reusable, sustainable products (the ones we sell at the farmers markets) at some of these events, which I really enjoy promoting.
10:50 PM – I get home from the event. It was good, the music was great, and the crowd was friendly. I was also able to sell a few products! I ate and composted the banana peel and clementine at the event. When I get home, I realize that I’m not as hungry as I thought I would be. So I skip my wrongly-presumed after-work snack I thought I was going to have, and just head straight to bed! Guess I was more tired and less hungry than I thought!
8:00 AM – I wake up and get ready for work. I am going to meet two of my coworkers and drive us to Hilton. Right before I head out, I grab a blueberry muffin that my mum had from her birthday yesterday, and of course my reusable water bottle.
10:30 AM – I arrive at my school after a nice drive with the girls. I meet my coworker in one of the cafeterias and we go to each cafeteria and sort what needs to be sorted. I quickly eat the blueberry muffin in the morning while waiting for lunch to start. I compost the muffin cup wrapper (yup they’re compostable!), and recycle the brown paper bag the muffin came in.
1:50 PM – I drive my coworkers and I back to Rochester. We talk about how our lunches went; mine went well even with it being taco Tuesday today! (which is almost always a heavy landfill day) If only we can get rid of the mini plastic cups that the ground meat was served in. Everyone else had a good lunch for the day.
3:00 PM – At home, I make another sandwich for lunch (spoiler alert: as you follow along, you guys will see that I make a sandwich for lunch almost every. day. of. the. week. It’s like I’m still in college!) and eat the last bit of the chocolate chip cookies I baked a couple nights ago. No waste!
5:15 PM – I leave home to pick up my dad from work. Again, it’s not even 6:00 pm yet, and it’s so dark already! I’m still not used to this! Anyways, after I pick him up, we drive to our local voting poll area and we VOTE! I never really used to take things like that seriously before, and I will admit that my political apathy used to be pretty strong. However, now, I realize that this is a privilege that should not be taken for granted! Our country depends on our votes.
7:30 PM – Usually, I like to cook a nice, big meal on Tuesdays, but there were a whole lot of different kinds of leftovers in the fridge. Lots of my food waste comes from not being able to finish all the leftovers I have in my fridge. I was proud that I stopped myself from cooking yet another meal and forced myself to eat the food I had in my fridge instead. I heated some leftover pecan-breadcrumb-crusted Rainbow Trout that I had from Bonefish Grill last Sunday when I went out for dinner with my parents, and I finished that off, Unfortunately, the take-home container was Styrofoam, so I had to toss it in the landfill unfortunately. But at least I was able to eat and finish potential food that I might have had to just throw away in the future!
Reuse: water bottle
Compost: muffin cup wrapper, teabag
Recycling: brown paper bag
Landfill: tea package
7:30 AM – I wake up and get my morning started. I make a breakfast smoothie, blending ice, orange juice, a banana, vanilla yogurt, some sliced pineapple from the weekend (that I stored in a bowl with a plate over it), and a clementine. The banana peel and clementine peel go in my compost bucket, while the vanilla yogurt cup gets rinsed and recycled and its lid gets tossed in the landfill. I also make a sandwich for lunch and put it in my eco-pul bag! They are such great reusable alternatives to Ziploc bags. I pour my smoothie into a reusable stainless-steel tumbler and head out the door to carpool with some coworkers.
10:30 AM – I get to my school. I meet up with my other coworker and we chat before the lunches start. It’s humpday – it’s been a good week so far and we are hoping it stays like that!
1:45 PM – I leave work, in the car, we talk about any interesting parts of our days and enjoy the ride home. Since I’m not the one driving today, I eat the sandwich I packed for lunch on the way back to Rochester.
2:45 PM - After I quickly pick up some organics buckets for work later and say hi to my bosses, I drive to the gym. I decided to go to the gym the night before, so I had everything I needed/was in proper attire and didn’t have to stop back home. I arrive there and get a good workout in. I always leave the gym feeling so good with no regrets and with a nice, clear mind.
4:15 PM – I drive from the gym to work. I am at Victor helping the Impact Earth Organics Drop-Off Service. I love that we offer this service because I think it’s a great and easy opportunity to compost your food waste and divert waste from the landfill. Additionally, the people I see weekly are so friendly and considerate! For instance, one of our subscribers told me that as the weather and winter continues to progress, she is open to meeting whenever or however to make it easier for the company, which was sweet of her! While at work, I eat an apple that I brought from home; I save the core, so I can compost it later.
6:00 PM – I have some salmon pasta for dinner! I boil pasta, the box goes into the recycling, then I mix some white wine, heavy cream (the tin can it came from was rinsed and recycled), salmon, capers, chopped (and boiled) asparagus in a pasta pot. When the pasta is done, I mix it in with the sauce and voila!
10:30 PM – I refill my reusable water bottle and head to bed for the night!
Reuse: water bottle, eco-pull bag, cloth towel
Compost: apple core
Recycling: pasta box, heavy cream tin can
7:30 AM – My alarm goes off! For breakfast, I have a croissant that I got in bulk from Costco. They come in a huge recyclable plastic container. I have it with butter because let’s be real, everything is better with butter. I do my usual routine of getting ready for work, brush my teeth, etc. and head on off to start the day.
10:30 AM – After a good car ride with the Impact Earth team, (tip: carpooling with coworkers is a good way to save energy consumption and money as a group in terms of traveling!) I do the usual routine of meeting up with my coworker, but today we had an extra hand! We check all 3 cafeterias and prepare for the day, and thus, work begins! (Also brought my reusable water bottle, figured this is now a given everyday thing!)
1:45 PM – I leave the school and get in the car to head back to Rochester. I listen to how my coworkers’ days and lunches went, and I tell them about how the day went at my school. One more day until the weekend! Yay!
2:45 PM – I get home and do some errands both at home and around town. First, before anything though, I make lunch at home. I scramble some eggs and sprinkle some grated cheese on them. I sauté some spinach and add some spices and make a veggie omelet! Yum! The egg shells go into my organics bucket. I notice that making lunch at home, and not bringing or buying lunch, has decreased my waste generation by a huge amount, which is great.
5:15 PM – I leave my house and pick up my dad from work. I get home and relax a little bit. I Then I make some tacos for dinner! To make up for missing Taco Tuesday, I am having Taco Thursday. I love making tacos because they are the definition of easy! You just buy the taco shells, which either come in a plastic packaging that you toss in the landfill, usually if they are soft tacos, or a cardboard box which you can recycle usually for hard tacos (mine came in a box), dice some onions and tomatoes, grate some cheese, chop some lettuce, and cook some ground meat! The only waste generated from this was the Styrofoam and plastic packaging the meat came in, which went in the landfill, and a few vegetable scraps for the compost.
11:00 PM – After dinner, I go about my night and relax. Then later on, I do my usual routine of showering and getting ready for bed. I then have a good night’s sleep!
Reuse: water bottle, Pyrex glass container
Compost: egg shells, vegetable scraps
Recycling: taco box
Landfill: Styrofoam and plastic meat packaging
8:30 AM – It’s Friday, so I treat myself a little bit and sleep in later than usual! I wake up in a good mood because its Friday and it’s a 3-day weekend! I eat a banana for breakfast and get ready to meet my coworkers and carpool with them to Hilton.
10:30 AM – After eating a clementine in the car (which I composted its peels later on at the school) and having a good ride over, I arrive at Northwood Elementary and have a good day at work at the school! The kids are extra hyper and excited because its Friday, but they still manage to do their best at sorting through their waste and recycling or composting what is necessary. We also gave them a zero-waste “tip of the day” which was our first time trying it out at the schools, and it definitely helped with reminding the kids to try their best when using the zero-waste station!
2:30 PM – I get home from work. I make a sandwich for lunch (no waste) and then take a few minutes after I eat to digest and relax. I then head to the gym (with my reusable water bottle and cloth towel!) and go about my Friday afternoon. I am excited for the three-day weekend!