Weekend Waste Diary with Cassidy
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 in her mid twenties living in an apartment in Buffalo, NY with her boyfriend and their two cats. A graduate of RIT in Environmental and Public Policy she currently serves as the Director of Sustainability at Impact Earth. She enjoys cycling in her free time and travels often for both work and fun. Follow along as she travels to visit friends for the weekend.
6:00 AM: I wake up and get ready to head to a spin class in downtown Buffalo, the drive is about 15 minutes without traffic. As I prepare to leave, I turn on my coffee maker for my boyfriend (Dan) for when he gets up for work, and so that I have a hot cup ready for me by the time I get home. I fill up my reusable water bottle to bring with me to class and head out.
8:00AM: I arrive home after a great workout, pour myself a cup of coffee into one of my ceramic mugs (I have way too many of them, but I’ve slowly collected them over the years as gifts and as thrift store pick ups) and add a little bit of my coconut milk creamer to the coffee. The creamer is something that I buy from the grocery store once or twice a month, and while I’m not quite done with it yet, when I do finish it, I will be able to recycle the paperboard container! I open up the top of my coffee maker and dump the warm spent coffee grounds into my Impact Earth Organics compost bucket that sits on the floor of my kitchen, right next to where I keep my coffee pot. I then lightly rinse my reusable metal coffee filter in the sink and place it back in the top of the coffee maker ready for my next batch of coffee (read: I drink a lot of coffee and probably will make more this afternoon). I take a quick shower and sit down at my breakfast bar with my coffee and my computer and start to work on my to do list for the day.
1:00PM: Time flies by quickly as I finish up the morning of work with a conference call. I then head into my kitchen to figure out what to eat for lunch. Dan and I have worked hard over the past few years to really dial in on what we eat and what we don’t eat in an effort to create as little food waste as possible day to day. We plan nearly every single one of our meals during the week when possible and really tailor our shopping lists to only exactly what we expect to need. With this in mind, as usual, I pair some soup leftovers (my mom made me a pot of soup with leftovers that she had from her own family’s soup creation that I brought home after working in Rochester for the day) from last night’s dinner with a quick and easy salad made from the remaining lettuce left on a head of romaine (from a salad we made on Tuesday), and some cucumber slices from a cucumber I’ve slowly been eating this week. For a little sweet treat, I eat half of a grapefruit as well and I put the other half of my grapefruit wrapped in a Weslee Rose reusable beeswax wrap and throw it in the fridge for later. All of my waste from this little lunch can be composted with the exception of a small amount of plastic wrap that came from the packaging of my cucumber. And, because I’m home, I was able to use all reusable dishware and flatware to prepare and enjoy my lunch.
8:00PM: We end up making a late dinner, and it’s my favorite, breakfast for dinner! Using a bulk gluten free baking flour, some organic eggs, and bacon from the store, we make a light meal of pancakes and bacon, and of course some maple syrup! We finish up dinner with no leftovers, leaving us with some egg shells and bacon grease for our compost bin, the packaging from the bacon which unfortunately has to go into the landfill, and full bellies.
My lunch leftovers
REUSE: WATER BOTTLE, CERAMIC MUG, METAL COFFEE FILTER
COMPOST: COFFEE GROUNDS, GRAPEFRUIT RIND, ROMAIN LETTUCE HEAD, A SLICE OF CUCUMBER, BACON GREASE, EGG SHELLS
LANDFILL: PLASTIC WRAP PACKAGING SCRAP, PLASTIC BACON PACKAGING
9:00AM: We wake up and start the day with a cup of coffee. We are getting ready to head out to visit our friends in Syracuse for the weekend so we pack up some clothes, some food stuff that we promised to bring, our reusable water bottles full with water for the trip, and then take the leftover coffee into our insulated mugs and hit the road. We drive our hybrid, 2010 Honda Insight to Syracuse, which is great because not only are we getting great gas mileage, we are part of the movement of people trying to keep new, big, gas guzzling cars from being produced and on the roads. On average we get about 47 mpg, and about 420 miles/gas tank. It’s not perfect but we feel better owning a hybrid than any gas-only vehicle.
12:30PM: In Syracuse, it’s drizzling, but the four of us head out to a local apple orchard to pick some apples. We’re a little hungry from not eating breakfast so I eat a Clif Bar to hold me over. Unfortunately the wrapper is destined for the landfill.
1:30PM: Apple picking is fun, we get enough apples for all four of us, to eat and to bake with! While we are hiking through the mud, we all pick a couple apples and eat them as a quick snack during our adventure. We return the apple cores to the earth when we are finished.
3:00PM: We snack on Organic Corn Chips and homemade pico de gallo as we chat, and we play music together. Unfortunately, our friends had made the pico before we arrived, so the small amount of vegetable scraps leftover from the preparation of the pico ended up in the landfill.
5:00PM: We all make dinner together, on the menu, mini foods! Whenever we get together we always like to have themes to our meals, it makes what we prepare more creative and fun! Altogether we make mini cheeseburgers and mini fruit kebabs. This time, however, I collect all vegetable, fruit, and meat scraps into a bag and set them aside to bring home to our compost bin. We even create our own version of In N Out Burger Sauce for the burgers. Dinner is delicious!
9:00PM: We take turns playing games, and video games, chatting, and laughing. At some point we decide to make an easy flourless cake for dessert. There’s no waste created from this dessert, and we have a great time making and eating it. We spend the rest of the evening playing competitive video games, chatting, listening to music, and having a good time!
Our fruit “kebabs” ended up only being watermelon because we were lazy, and we composted all the wooden toothpicks!
REUSE: WATER BOTTLE, METAL COFFEE FILTER, COFFEE MUG
COMPOST: COFFEE GROUNDS, APPLE CORES, WATERMELON RINDS, BURNED CHEESEBURGER BITS, WOODEN TOOTHPICKS
LANDFILL: CLIF BAR WRAPPER, PICO DE GALLO VEGETABLE SCRAPS
10:30AM: We wake up after spending the night on a pretty comfy air mattress. Our friends are still sound asleep so we sneak out to pick up some coffee and kill some time. Where they live the only coffee option is a Starbucks inside of a Target. We totally clutzed and forgot our reusable mugs, so we ended up both getting cold drinks (plastic cups) without straws so that we could recycle our cups after we finished our drinks. My zero waste journey definitely isn’t perfect!
11:30AM: For a late breakfast back at their apartment we make some mini veggie quiches. All the egg shells end up in my take home compost bag. The quiches are delicious and we end up putting the leftovers in some reusable glass containers, splitting up what was left, so we are able to take some home with us. We also make some mini pancakes (gluten free of course!), we finish up the box of gluten free flour I brought with us, which ends up in the recycling.
12:45PM: Before we head back to Buffalo, we all make ourselves some tea with loose leaf black tea, and reusable metal baskets. The tea leaves get put into my take home compost bag.
5:00PM: Dan and I make it back to Buffalo just in time for some dinner. We unfortunately didn’t have a good plan, so on our way to our apartment we pick up some takeout from Core Life. We eat our dinner at home, and recycle the takeout containers our dinner came in, after giving them a quick rinse in the sink!
9:00PM: We get ready for Monday by heading to bed early and setting our coffee maker to auto so we wake up to some freshly brewed coffee!
REUSE: LEFTOVER REUSABLE GLASS CONTAINERS
COMPOST: EGG SHELLS, TEA LEAVES
RECYCLING: PLASTIC COFFEE CUPS, PANCAKE MIX BOX, TAKEOUT CONTAINERS
I definitely enjoyed taking the time to track my waste for the weekend. I also realized that on a general day to day basis, my only waste comes from what I eat, which I guess makes sense but I didn’t really ever think that much about it! I also underestimated how hard it would be to continue my zero waste lifestyle while out of my own element, and in someone else’s home, especially because they don’t have the same type of infrastructure I have at my own home. Overall, I had a great time really being conscious about my waste for a weekend and it reminded me of some things I want to change to be better in my zero waste journey.
- Cassidy P.