Category Archives: trash tracker


This week has been crazy busy. I have been monitoring my trash output, but I have not been recording it as avidly. I think my awareness is way up though, and this weekend I’ll try to put together a recap of the last few weeks, what I have learned, etc.


Trash Tracker – Sept 18 & 19

Brief summary of the last couple of days:

  • five candy wrappers (individual sized)
  • three paper plates (lots of parties)
  • a plastic fork
  • the packaging for a book I got, which I could neither identify as paper, plastic, or from Earth
  • two coffee creamer individual packages
  • a coffee stirrer
  • the tape and sticky cellophane off the new refrigerator delivered today
  • some mustard that had gone bad

Trash Tracker – Sept 17, 2008

Well, I’ve already doomed myself to a little trash today by packing a small single-serving sized bag of chips as part of lunch. But yesterday went well the rest of the day, and I’m not foreseeing anything more than the chip bag today. Yet.

Trash Tracker – Sept 16, 2008

The rest of yesterday went quite well. Went to Home Depot, but bought things with no packaging and did not use any plastic bags to put the purchases in. We did buy a couple of things at Trader Joe’s in packaging, but nothing that can’t be recycled.

This morning I had to take out a bit of tubing from the irrigation system that was causing a leak. Maybe two or three inches long, but I had to trash it. I also had a tasty sandwich for breakfast that came in a nice non-recyclable wrapper. I brought my lunch so I do not foresee any trash there.

Tonight I am going to a happy hour, at which I will have a beer, which they will likely stick on a cocktail napkin I will then have to throw away. I am hoping to avoid that, as well as other trash-based incidents, but we’ll see.

I’m thinking after every two weeks of this journal I will post a tally of the total trash from the two weeks prior. That will be interesting to look back on over time.

Trash Tracker – Sept 15, 2008

Yesterday we had our niece and nephew over to the house, and I discovered that the presence of children increases the difficulty level of not producing trash. I personally only threw away a paper plate, napkin, and a cupcake wrapper, but there was more trash generated in my house than normal.

This morning so far I just threw out one cupcake wrapper (yes, I seem to be eating an inordinate amount of cupcakes recently). I brought my lunch and it is the last of the frozen meals I had bought prior to my trash tracking days, so I will definitely be tossing the thin plastic covering over the tray from that later today.

Update: lunch brought with it the need for a napkin. Also, I ate some pistachios, and their shells became trash, but I’m pretty sure they’ll biodegrade quick-like.

Trash Tracker – Sept 12-14

The last few days have been quite busy, but I think I captured all the trash generated. A summary from Sept 11 after 2PM until Sept 14 at 10AM:

  • two little coffee creamer containers
  • a coffee stirrer
  • three napkins
  • two soda cup lids
  • two straws
  • a moist towelette and its package
  • thre band-aids and their packaging
  • two avocado peels and pits (not compostable)
  • one paper towel
  • Chipotle salsa container (small and actually probably was recyclable if I had brought it home and rinsed it)
  • a Windex mirror cleaner while cleaning the bathrooms
  • a large foil potato chip bag (at least it was not several small individual packs)

Now, that’s three days of trash, all of which would fit inside that one potato chip bag with room to spare. So, not bad, but still no trash-free days. But I have not made any trash yet today, so we’ll see how it goes. It is easier to achieve at home, and much harder to achieve when eating out at all. Even in really nice restaurants.

I was thinking about how every day I used to go through one or two 32 or 44oz drink cups from the convenience store, when I was a sodaholic. And I’d toss them rather than recycle them. I seriously probably did that for a decade or so. So, if all of my trash output for a whole three days would fit inside one of those cups, that’s not bad.

Daily Trash Log – Sept 11, 2008

The day started at 5AM, and as of 9AM I’m still in good shape – no trash so far. I composted a banana peel this morning, packed some honey roasted pretzels and trail mix for snacks today in a reusable container, and had a breakfast this morning at Toastmasters where I chose something I knew would leave nothing on the plate at the end (and used a cloth, washable napkin).

I’m a little concerned about lunch, since my plan is a slice of pizza from the cafeteria and I’m not sure what I can eat it off of that isn’t going to need to be thrown out. Maybe the lid to my snack container? It’s big enough, but they might look at me a little funny in the cafe hahaha… oh well, I get funny looks all day, nothing new.

Update – lunch: I could not for the life of me figure out how to get a piece of hot pizza without using a plate. It is so hot and melty that a paper towel is useless, and I had no reusable options with me, so I used the lid from my snack container and then cleaned it off with, yes, a paper towel. BUT I only used half the towel, saving the other for a future need. So for now, my trash output for the day is 1/2 a brown paper towel.

Update – chocolate attack!: I just went by the candy jar at work and spotted a Kit Kat. My belly overrode my brain and I grabbed it, opened it, ate the candy, and then as I went to dispose of the wrapper… OOPS! Not recyclable. Not going to beat myself up over it, as I REALLY wanted the Kit Kat and it wasn’t a big wrapper, but it was interesting that didn’t have a clue about what I was doing until after it was done.