Weekend Waste Diary with Heather

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!

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Meet Heather.

This week's blogger is a Lockport, NY native that recently bought an 1800’s farmhouse just southeast of Rochester. She resides there with her husband and two kids where they have embraced the zero waste lifestyle as a family. Heather graduated from RIT with a degree in graphic design and spent the last 10 years as a graphic and web designer. She joined the Impact Earth team this past December and enjoys being a part of the schools staff and spearheading new marketing initiatives to bring the idea of zero waste to more people in the community.


Friday

1:30pm - I’m done working my shift at Brighton schools Zero Waste program. I help students learn about recycling, composting and what happens to all their waste when they’re done with it. I have lots of conversations around yes, the food in the compost bin looks gross but we take it to a farm where worms get to eat it. The worms “poop” out awesome rich soil that we can use to grow more food (kids love poop stories!)

2:00pm - Head to the gym, I’ve been *really* good about going Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work since I pass it on the way home. I have my reusable water bottle and cloth towel to wipe down equipment after I’m done (instead of paper towels). I have two new podcast episodes downloaded and get to work.

3:30pm - Get home from the gym with about 20 or so minutes to spare before the kids get off the bus. I switch the laundry I started this morning and put another load in. I add some more lavender essential oil to our wool dryer balls (laundry smells so good).

4:00pm - Kids get off the bus and unload backpacks and lunchboxes. Their lunchboxes include reusable water bottles, zippered snack baggies and a banana that got rejected and beat around in their backpack all day. The banana is beyond saving so it goes in the counter compost bin (since it’s not even useful for banana bread). When the bin is full enough I’ll walk it over to our outside compost pile near the garden.

 Kids bring home so.many.paper.projects. I look through them, choose to save one from each kid and the rest goes in the paper recycling. A paper list of their classmates goes to my desk, with a mental note we need to figure out what to do for their class Valentine’s this year. My daughter will totally be into making homemade ones with our scrap art supplies. My son will most likely want the grumpy cat ones we saw in the store.

5:30pm - Dinner today is a frozen pizza. The cardboard box and liner are clean enough to go in recycling but the plastic has to go in the landfill. I chop some carrots and pear slices to have with it. The pear core and carrot ends go to the compost bin.

7:00pm - An amazon delivery arrives (spice racks, we’re trying to control the amount of clutter in the kitchen). They’re metal but come in plastic bags (why?) which I have to throw out. Cardboard box is recycled.
My husband Andy cleans up the kitchen while I start showers for the kids. I’m torn between letting them play extra time in the shower while realizing it really wastes water. (They do end up getting extra time). PJs and book time, then off to bed.

8:00pm - I sit down in my office to work on a few projects. One of them is marketing work for Impact Earth. The other is a baby shower invitation for a friend, I’m super happy with how it’s coming together.

10:30pm - I grab a book and head upstairs to read for a bit. I get about two pages in before I fall asleep.

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Recycling Setup

Storage room recycling setup includes bins for paper, cardboard and plastic/glass/metal. (Food dehydrator is on the middle shelf, also a fun tool I recommend).

Friday Waste

REUSE: WATER BOTTLE, CLOTH TOWEL FOR GYM, WOOL DRYER BALLS

COMPOST: BANANA, CARROT SHREDS, PEAR CORE

RECYCLING: KID SCHOOL PAPERS, PIZZA BOX AND CARDBOARD LINER, AMAZON CARDBOARD BOX

LANDFILL: PLASTIC FROM PIZZA, AMAZON PLASTIC


Saturday

6:00am - Wake up and head downstairs for some coffee and quiet time before the day begins. Coffee grounds go to compost. One of our cats sit next to me as I enjoy coffee and some journaling. I think he just wants his breakfast, but maybe he really does love my company.

7:00am - I shower and get ready for the day. I finish up my shampoo bottle and am probably more excited than I should be that I get to try a shampoo bar next. Plastic bottle goes to recycling.

Kids are up and we eat breakfast together, cereal and milk. Milk jug gets finished up this morning too and goes to recycle bin. We’re fortunate our town has a great transfer station we bring our refuse and recycling too. Our storage room has big rubbermaid bins for paper, cardboard and one for glass, plastic and metal. Every Saturday Andy brings the bins and trash bag to the “dump” as it’s affectionately called by locals. Most often he comes home with something to fix and give away or resell. Broken lawn mowers, bicycles, TVs, even lumber he reuses in his own projects have all been known to make their way home. I love him and often tease him about his garbage picking habits.

8:30am - This morning my son Ben goes with Andy to run some errands and visit the dump. I take my daughter Cassidy to her first dance class in town. She is in love with it and it’s just the cutest to watch. At dance I refuse with a “no thank you” some pamphlets and business cards. I read all the info about the class and instructors but I don’t need to take the papers with me.

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New to us.

My husband "rescued" our TV from the garbage and fixed a few blown out parts. Andy is great about reusing and repurposing. He certainly does come home with some treasures.

10:30am - We return home just as the snow is really starting to pick up. We’re supposed to get a pretty good storm this weekend. We play some board games and video games with the kids. Honestly, it’s the most lazy day I’ve had in a long time and it’s really nice.

1:00pm - Lunch is leftovers from the fridge. We pick a few pieces of Christmas candy for dessert and toss the wrappers in the garbage.

2:00pm - We round out the lazy day with a movie in the afternoon.

5:00pm - Dinner is an avocado chicken salad in pitas (the kids complain the whole time about the avocados). The vegetable scraps and avocado skin goes in the counter top compost bin. The plastic freezer bag we’d put the chicken in, goes to the landfill. The pitas also came in a plastic bag that we put in the landfill.

6:00pm - I clean up the kitchen (with microfiber cloths) and do some more chores. I take the countertop compost bin outside to the garden pile and dump it. At some point I’ll need to either mix it up with a pitchfork or use the rototiller to turn the pile. However, that’s not happening tonight in the snowy darkness.

7:00pm - Cassidy pulls out bins of craft stuff to work on a project before bed (not the Valentine’s yet). We have buttons, glue, string, egg cartons and other little odds and ends that she pieces things together with. Sometimes the kids will grab cardboard from the recycle bin to reuse for their projects. Ben isn’t so much interested in crafting tonight and instead chooses to read his Minecraft book.

8:00pm - Bedtime for kids! I finish up a few things around the house and then settle on the couch with a book while Andy works on a project on his laptop. Bedtime for us is around 11.

Saturday Waste

REUSE: “DUMP” TREASURES, MICROFIBER CLOTHS, CRAFT SUPPLIES

COMPOST: COFFEE GROUNDS, AVOCADO SKIN, VEGETABLE SCRAPS

RECYCLING: SHAMPOO BOTTLE, MILK JUG

LANDFILL: CANDY WRAPPERS, PLASTIC FREEZER BAG, PITA PLASTIC BAG


Sunday

8:00am - We are snowed in with no plans due to a winter storm, so I get to sleep in! I head downstairs to start some coffee. Andy starts making toast, bacon and eggs. We compost the coffee grounds and eggshells but the bacon packaging goes in the landfill (along with greasy paper towels). We finish a jar of my homemade jelly, it can be washed and reused. The lid has to go to recycling because it can’t be reused for canning again.

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Food Scraps.

Our counter compost container. Once full, it gets emptied in our outside compost pile near the garden.



9:30am - We play outside in the snow, snowblow the driveway and shovel the walkway to the porch. Andy is super excited to get his snowmobile out into the yard (because winter is way more fun when you can have outside hobbies).

2:00pm - We come inside for hot cocoa and a snack (no lunch because we’re all full from breakfast). Our snack is graham crackers and peanut butter along with half a cantaloupe I cut up. Plastic from the graham cracker pouch has to be tossed in the landfill and empty peanut butter jar goes to recycling. Melon rind goes in the compost bin. We use cocoa from the baking cupboard so no disposable cocoa pouches.

3:00pm - An afternoon of cleaning and chores. I use a made from concentrate cleaner that you mix with water (so I’m not BUYING water, and the cleaner stretches a lot farther). I also use microfiber towels instead of paper towels. Cassidy helps me scoop the cat litter - some day it’ll be her chore, now it’s a somewhat slow painful process of her helping :) Litter goes in a plastic bag to the outside garbage can (I remind myself I need to find a better solution for this chore).

5:00pm - For dinner we finish up lasagna my mother in law brought us (because baking for others is her love language and she’s the best). I scrub out the tin pan it was delivered in (we’ll use it again for something) and the tinfoil cover goes to recycling.

8:30pm - Kids are in bed, Andy and I grab beers and pop some popcorn on the stove (it’s way better than microwave popcorn, I promise!). We watch a movie and head to bed around 11.

Sunday Waste

REUSE: 8OZ GLASS JELLY JAR, TIN BAKING PAN

COMPOST: COFFEE GROUNDS, EGG SHELLS, MELON RIND

RECYCLING: CANNING JAR LID, PEANUT BUTTER JAR, TINFOIL, 2 BEER CANS

LANDFILL: BACON PACKAGING, GREASY PAPER TOWELS, PLASTIC FROM GRAHAM CRACKERS, USED CAT LITTER IN A PLASTIC BAG


- Heather


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