Zero Waste Week — Day Five

by Katy on April 19, 2013 · 11 comments

Zero Waste Home


Today is Day Five of the Zero Waste Week here at the Non-Consumer Advocate. And although I still have the weekend to get through, I have now successfully packed ten individual school lunches and two work lunches for myself. Mind you, my kids’ lunches are never filled with pre-packaged stuff to begin with, but this weeks’ lunches really put the focus on Zero Waste.

Was I perfect?

Nope. Wednesday’s burnt cookies meant I bought a small tub of cookie dough from Papa Murphy’s, and today’s lunches included bagels with cream cheese. And those bagels? They were not zero waste, as they’re from Costco and come in plastic bags. However, my freezer is piled with them, and my plan is to replace them with local bakery bagels when we exhaust our supply. (To balance the challenge, I did use already purchased packaged food products, but only if they could be replaced with Zero Waste options.)

However, today’s school lunches also included small tubs of bulk-purchased granola and the last of the in-the-shell peanuts that I always use for Easter basket filler. (They had gotten stale last week, so I freshened them back up again by popping them in a 250° oven for ten minutes or so.)

Not the most exciting school lunches, but not bad considering that I was away from the house from 6:25 A.M. – 8:15 P.M. that last two days.

I had all kinds of plans for today, but like most of America, (and likely the world) it’s been hard to tear myself away from the computer and television news from Boston. I feel awful for those affected, and also baffled as to how such a sweet looking kid could commit such an atrocity. Of course, having sweet teenage sons myself, it hits me hard.

I wish all of you a peaceful and safe day.

With all my love,

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb from Iowa April 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

Today the only waste I can’t get out of my head is the waste of human life.


Linda in Indiana April 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

Totally agree wit Deb from Iowa…and also with the idea of the handsome, bright young men could do such evil things. Mind boggling to think that there is that much hate in the world.
Also have been humbled by this zero waste week…thought I had a lot of wasteful things conquered…learned I have miles and miles to go. Have been successful a few new ways….looking for lots of othe solutions and plan to continue to improve. Success yesterday….using our home frozen and canned goods lots this week…purchase at thrift store…walked out with it in my hand. Rethought a purchase I was going to make…not zero waste…can just do with out it! Still needing many more options/solutions in rural USA.


Frances April 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

The images of an empty Boston are eerie. I’m not American but I grieve anyway.

How do you plan to store produce without using plastic bags? I get most of mine from either an organic delivery service or the farmer’s market. Neither place gives me many bags, which is fine, but I’m struggling with keeping things fresh in the fridge without them. My solution right now is to wash & re-use the bags I’ve already got, but they don’t last forever. Anyone have any practical suggestions?

And if I don’t buy berries with packaging, we will not be eating berries, period. Or eggs. Or milk. Alas, it seems zero is not a reachable endpoint.


Cee April 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I keep mine in reusable glass storage containers with lids. They seem to keep fresher that way anyway – especially greens.


Laure April 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Re: berries: At my farrmers’ markets, they show berries in cardboard pints, but won’t give you those. When you buy them, they will dump the pint of berries into a plastic bag. Instead, I bring my own gladware. It’s lightweight so I can carry lots of it (way more than I could of glass containers) and also prevents the berries from being squished. The farmers are happy to not have the expense of bags to give me. I bring enough for all my farmers market purchases (peaches, etc) so they don’t get squished, and easily stack in a reusable bag for my 3/4 mile walk home.
Re: produce in the fridge, I was gifted containers made by tupperware that have sort of ridged bottoms — allows air to circulate underneath — and also have 2 vents, and give instructions as to which foods you should have 1 or both or no vents open. Yes, a purchase, but a one time purchase that (1) GREATLY extends the life of my produce, especially organic produce, which would tend to go bad in just a couple days (farmers market is only 1/week) and (2) solves my problem re storing produce in the fridge, and I never need to use, or accept, plastic bags again. I wish they made these in glass.


Trisha April 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I keep fruit and veggies in reusable produce bags. Things like lettuce we tend to eat right away, so finished salads are in a special bowl. Some things don’t really need a bag… tomatoes, cukes, peppers, apples and oranges, etc.

Berries go in to glass jars at the farmers’ market.

We’ve been doing this long enough that it’s just a habit to grab the grocery kit before leaving the house. Less waste makes it totally worth it.


Sanna April 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

First of all, I plan my meals around what stores easily. That means, I will buy say berries and apples and eat the berries soon while the apples stay for the end of the week.
For some produce wrapping them in a piece of cloth (e.g. a tea towel) in the fridge works best, others do fine in glass containers /bowls with a plate as a lid.


kelly April 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

This week has not been zero waste for me. Instead, we have focused on becoming more aware of our waste as a family. We are also working on consistency with composting food scraps and educating ourselves on what we might be trashing that can be recycled. I set a goal for our family of five to fill only one bag of trash this week, and we will surely meet that goal. Personally, I set a goal yo compost all food scraps (rather than take the lazy way if the disposal), and that is going great. It is definitely a work in progress, and we have a way to go. Feeling inspired to di more since we did not start out with an “all or nothing” mentality!


AnnW April 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Some people that don’t use plastic baggies,they use homemade bags. They make them from old quilt weight fabric lined with plastic. Then they buy metal measuring tapes and put them in a casing. To open the bag, you squeeze the ends of the metal. These can be made in small sizes for kids lunches or lettuce head sizes for the refrigerator. They are washable. I remember when Tupperware came out with the lettuce keeper. We viewed that as a remarkable invention. I think there are more ways to preserve vegetables. One might be a raised plastic mat in the bin. There is plenty of Tupperware left in use and at thrift stores that could be ethically used to keep it out of the landfill.


Julia April 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

My Whole Foods sells loose eggs. I just bring a reusable egg carton with me and fill it up.


JaneUlness April 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Eggs come in cardboard that is compost able and recyclable. Milk can come in a tin can that is recyclable too. You eat to get good nutrition . Zero garbage is wonderful and a good thing to do, but lets not loose sight of good health and nutrition.


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