Monday, January 7, 2008

Garbage Diary Day 1

At Work:

Trash:
Three tea-bag packets
Three tea bags
Plastic envelope
Plastic wrapper for sponge*
Cap for the water cooler bottle*
Peels of two clementine oranges

Recycled:
Small piece of cardboard from tea carton
Aluminum tab off box of soup
Cardboard strip from box of crackers

*I almost didn't include these items, because I felt like this wasn't really *my* trash- I didn't order a new sponge, it was sitting on the sink. And everyone uses the water cooler. Wasn't this our communal trash, not my own? But then I realized that communal trash is at once everyone's trash and no one's trash. If I didn't claim this as my own, no one would. As I had thrown it away, it was mine.

At Home

Trash:
3 paper towels
Baggage Tag
Tinfoil Wrapper off of a wine bottle
Cork for wine bottle
Pizza box
Loose tea leaves
Fines (a word coined by William Rathje to define hair, dust, floor sweepings, and the other stuff that settles to the bottom of the can.)

Recycled:
Bulk mail packet
2 envelopes
1 solicitation letter
1 catalog (Augh! How many times do you have to ask to be taken off, already?!)

Weight of house trash (recycling not included):
About a pound? It was pretty hard to tell with a normal bathroom scale.

The trash from the house is mostly left over from the weekend. I had a very close friend of mine from college visiting, and we were so busy hanging out, that much of the detritus of the weekend never made it to the trash until today. The paper towels were ones he used; I have some on hand for guests' convenience. The pizza box and cork are from a meal over the weekend- it was raining and we didn't feel like going out. The actual wine bottle made it to my bag of "things to recycle" on Sunday.

All in all, I did pretty well, though I suspect that this may partly be due to the observer effect- by observing my garbage, I also affected it, by throwing out less than I normally might. It'll be interesting to see what happens as I get more used to the trash diary. If the observer effect gradually disappears, my trash should increase over the course of the week.

3 comments:

Jennie said...

Pretty cool.
I'm glad you commented on the paper towels because I was going to ask you about them. My husband and I started using white, washable towels instead of paper towels about 4 years ago. Although if we need something disposable we will grab a kleenex.
Also I have a question
"Aluminum tab off box of soup"
where is the box of soup? not empty yet?
And do you drink a lot of wine? you could save your corks and then make a cork board or I use them to line the bottom of deep bowls that I keep fruit in.
You said you drink a lot of tea, I wonder if you could compost this. I just googled it and someone suggest making a tea pillow, as well as a tea spray for indoor plants.
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=2366
http://savetheworldwithtea.org/composting-tea-leaves/18/

sounds fun

arduous said...

The box of soup is not empty yet. It contains multipe servings, so I'll probably get through it later in the week, and you'll see it in a future trash diary. :)

I don't actually drink a lot of wine. I like wine, but I can't drink a bottle on my own, so I usually only drink wine when a guest is over.

A tea pillow sounds interesting, though I'm not sure I'm crafty enough to make one. :)

aclare said...

That does sound fun!!