Tuesday, September 22, 2009

try it tuesday

Thanks to a suggestion from creative partner C, I have a unique idea for this week's Try it Tuesday.

Today is garbage-free day. That means only using recyclable and compostable materials. I have no idea how easy or hard this is going to be. To read an amazing story of a couple who lived for a year without creating waste, click here.

7:30 a.m. Cup of coffee at home with a ceramic mug. No trash yet! The filter and coffee grounds can go into the compost. The water was from the tap. The milk carton will inevitably be recycled. Hooray for small successes!

7:40 a.m. Breakfast. Removed leftover pancakes from plastic baggie in the fridge. Recycled baggie. Pulled out the syrup. In a plastic bottle labeled No. 5. Not recyclable. Darn. How about a little strawberry jam? Yum. Recyclable glass jar? Yes.

7:55 a.m. Brush teeth. Uh oh. Did I fail already? Toothpaste tubes are not recyclable.

If you're really intense about it, there are recipes out there for homemade toothpaste, but the idea of scrubbing my mouth with baking soda isn't terribly appealing. So, I set out to the drug store to look for alternatives.

The majority of brands come in the non-recyclable tubes (locally we can only recycle No. 1 & 2 plastics), but both Crest and Colgate offer plastic versions like this:

The Crest one is No. 5 plastic though, which can't be recycled locally, but Colgate earns top billing with it's environmentally friendly No. 1 plastic package. I'm going to try to remember this the next time we need to buy toothpaste.

If you want to be very kind to Mother Nature, you can also purchase Tom's of Maine toothpaste at local Shopper's Drug Marts. Not only are the tubes recyclable aluminum, but the boxes are made from post-consumer paperboard and printed with soy-based inks. The paste itself is made with no artificial colours or flavours, which is also a lovely bonus.

8:00 a.m. Took the bus to work. Public transit = sustainable commuting. That earns a bonus point, don't you think?

9:30 a.m. Caught myself throwing a Post-It in the trash. Placed it in my blue bin instead.

12 p.m. Lunchtime. My leftover pizza was ported in a reusable container. My banana peel goes into the compost. And then there's my yogurt. No. 6 plastic container = not recyclable.

Frugal Village suggests using these small containers to help keep junk drawers organized. Place jewelry, pantyhose, odd buttons, loose change, cotton swabs, paper clips, rubber bands, nails and screws in them so they aren’t loose in drawers. They also mention using the washed yogurt cups to scoop kitty food, too.

12:30 p.m. Put a birthday card in the mail. Added a little reduce, reuse, recycle message on the back of the envelope for good measure.

2:45 p.m. Tea time. Ceramic mug — check. Composted tea bag — check.

5:45 p.m. Dinner with Husband. BLT, veggie "BLT" and roasted potatoes. Made almost entirely out of fresh produce, our supper was quite enviro friendly.

6:30 p.m. Shower. I'm pleased to report that each and every shampoo and body wash bottle in our shower is a recyclable plastic.

8:15 p.m. Disposed of wilted flowers into the compost.

That's more or less my day. Was it perfect? No. What have I learned? There's a place for everything and it only takes a second to check the label to see what that place is. Most consumer products are available in a more environmentally conscious form.

Overall, I give myself 2 our of 4 stars. It wasn't exactly a trash-less day, but I've definitely changed the way I think about waste, for the better.

Try it!


  1. FYI Tom's of Maine is in Kennebunk and as far as I know they still have a factory store with great bargains if you are down that way.

  2. Wow. I am stopping over from SITS and feeling VERY guilty right about now... You did a great job though. So impressive. I will totally look into the Toms toothpaste. I also can't get excited about brushing my teeth with baking soda...

  3. That's quite a goal, and you came awfully close! I think you can feel good about the day. :0)

    We recycle any plastics unless it's black (but if it's 1 or 2 and black we can take it to the next county). And I just found out that aerosol cans are accepted in Nashville! crazy.

    Visiting you from SITS--have a great day!

  4. I love this post... I try to be as green as possible... but I never even thought about the toothpaste problem. I will check out the one in the recyclable bottle for sure.

  5. I am incredibly impressed. I had no idea there were different types of plastic packaging, and that only some were recyclable. How do you know what "type" something is? Is it written in fine print?

  6. Very inspiring! I like that you gave it a shot, and I think you did a good job! Maybe I'll try that one day...