Friday, June 29, 2007

2 week trash results

Trash: 95 items
Recycled: 15 items
Composted: 8 items
Worm binned: 12 items

These are the results from my two week study of my trash. For the most part I didn't adjust my you can clearly tell! I really thought I did better than this. But over 3/4 of my trash goes straight to the landfill.

If you looked at my list you would find I ate a lot of string cheese and granola bars those two weeks. So there's another benefit of this experiment right there! I can now see where I"m making trash and where I can eliminate some of it. For example: I've started buying bulk trail mix in lieu of granola bars. I just put it in a glass mason jar. In fact, I think a lot more of my food is going to be bought in bulk with reused plastic bags.

I wonder how this would look if I had measured mass. A lot of the trashed items were small, like string cheese wrappers and foils from chocolate eggs. Also, went I tossed out my junk mail for the day I counted it as one item recycled. And I listed things like: veggie bits and counted them as one as I through them into the worm bin.

It's not perfect, but it opened my eyes to some changes I can do. And that's what it's about.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Water Use

With the warm days a-comin' (yes, we do have droughty summers in Seattle!) I've taken our mop bucket and put it in the shower! Sounds totally unrelated to some, I'm sure. Rest assured we do not own a mop and the bucket's red so we'll see it before entering the shower.

For those of you not yet in the know, the bucket is there to catch that shower water that usually goes down the drain while you wait for it to warm up.

I think we must have a low flow shower head already. I was actually disappointed by the lack of water I saved in the bucket! I know I shouldn't be, and I know there are ways you can determine the level of flow in your shower head but whatever. Point is, my strawberries, roses, canna and mysterious seedling (pumpkin?) will hopefully not wilt this summer!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nature is mean

Usually that comment comes out of me when I see cute babies or beautiful pregnant women. Today, however, it's because nature's karma kicked my ass.

I drove to work, again. I planned to ride my bike as I do every morning but once again took my car. After a ridiculously long and uninspiring workshop I walked back to my car and found a ticket. I would tell you what the ticket was for but the whole story makes me sound like a spoiled brat. And I may be spoiled but I like to think it's because I'm trying really had to do the right thing by choosing a career I'm passionate about even though it doesn't pay me enough to live on.

Point of the story: had I ridden my bike to work today, I would not have gotten the ticket or have a list of other car related chores to do tomorrow that rape my bank account.

Guess how I'm getting to work Monday morning?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Isn't it organic, don't you think?

Oh boy! Fred Meyer had Certified Oregon Tilth Eversweet strawberries 2 for $3! So I mixed up some worm castings into my pot that has been barren since my bulbs died back and popped 'em in! Hopefully, they will make a tasty covering until next spring when my bulbs push through again!

While harvesting castings from the bottom bucket (castings that originally came with the worms) I found some sprouts that I can only assume are pumpkins! I planted these in another container. I'm not expecting anything out of them but wouldn't it be great if they grew?

I heart plants.

I have an aversion

Confession 1: I have not ridden my bike to work once this month. The last time I did so I was sick, and by the time I got halfway up that hill I felt so sick I thought I was either going to vomit or pass out. And now I can't bring myself to try it again. It's like the time I got sick after eating nachos from 7-11.

Confession 2: I dread compiling my trash list. There have been a couple days I'd like to pretend didn't happen.

I feel like there are many similarities between trying to live green and trying to live during the Great Depression. There may be a comparative essay in the near future.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nooo! anything but water!

Last night my very thoughtful friend brought me a cup of water in a plastic beer cup. She was just being polite but as I saw her walking up with two cups in her hand I thought to myself "Please don't be for me!" because I didn't want to add it to my garbage list.

Of course later than night, while my tummy was grumbling, I reached out for a piece of cake and as I withdrew my arms with cake in hand I saw the glaring waxy paper plate and plastic fork in front of me. Darnit!

Today, I was very good! I met with my parents for Thai food and remembered my tupperware! I got to set an example for my parents and keep an item off my list.

The cutest thing was my mom pointing out all the reused items she used to bring me my goodies in. I also told them about my garbage project expecting to be made fun of but Mom, at least, was very interested. We both agreed that when I'm a teacher this will be a great classroom exercise complete with pie charts.

In related news I broke my sink today trying to clean out the gunk without chemicals. I think I can fix it on my own though thanks to the internet.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I think I can! I think I can!

There's a new challenge via Crunchy Chicken. The month of July is now Local Food Month! This will be the month where we pay attention to what we buy and where it comes from. Thankfully summer is a time of variety and our local Farmers' Markets should be full of choices. I can't wait!

I have to add a second part to this challenge: doing so on a budget. And when I say budget I mean CHEAP! I am not in a position to spend four dollars on a head of broccoli. I'll share with you, of course, how both parts of the challenge go for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Trash Talk

Wow, I was just directed to this blog called Trash Talk. The challenge is to carry around your trash for I believe two weeks. All of it. To work, on the bus, to the park...everywhere. Talk about becoming aware of your impact!

I can't take that challenge. Especially since I should be biking to work. Instead I am going to keep a journal of the garbage I make each day. Oooh! Then I think I'll type it up into an excel spreadsheet and sort it by recyclable, compostable (or wormable) and trash.

I'll start today. First two items to go on my list will be hot cocoa packet and string cheese wrapper.

Friday, June 08, 2007


One of our elephants passed away today. It was a hard day at work for all of us. It reminds me of what I'm trying to do with my living green and why I work at and in the field I do.

The zoo I work at is beautiful. The exhibits are naturalistic and every care is taken to ensure the animals' health. Most legitimate zoos, mine included, have turned from entertainment to education and conservation. The animals help people make connections and through interpretive practices (signs, docents, keeper talks, etc) learn how all things are connected--even how what they do here, affects animals far and wide.

I am thankful for the way this elephant touched people during her life. People who thought they were just coming to see a baby elephant gained a lot more.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can I have a redo?

I don't feel like I had a very successful Low Impact Week. I had to drive all week because I went to Shelton and Aberdeen for work. Without my stuff I used the tv and computer as entertainment in the hotel. I poured batter out of a styrofoam cup this morning into the waffle iron . . . : (

But it isn't about doing good for one week. It's about adopting changes into your routine...and so if I"m a week behind everyone else in getting these things going, so be it.

I can't wait to ride my bike to work tomorrow.