254 Days ’til 40: Carbon Footprint Week, Day 3

12 Jun

I must confess that on day three of Carbon Footprint Week I continue to learn how completely un-eco-friendly my family is.  Wow, we really waste A LOT.  We also are not as health conscious as I wanted to believe we were……. check out how we did today….. not great:

3 of these 1.5 liter bottles (two at work, one at home)

3 of these 500 ml bottles

One glass bottle with soda water…. into the trash

Two Plastic plates, three plastic forks….

Rice cracker package (plus tray inside package – not pictured)

Cherries (in a plastic container)

Corn nuts (organic) in a plastic bag….

My partner’s popsicle – stick is probably biodegradable… the plastic wrap it was in (not pictured) is certainly not…

Lots of women in this house, still that time, what more to say????

Paper towels (note the irony that it is photographed on top of a dish towel that could be used over and over???)

Dinner for my girls (times two) – rescued leftovers from the school cafeteria that would have been tossed in the trash (does that make it better?  I did not actually purchase this???)

Lunch for tomorrow for the girls (times two)

My lunch for tomorrow….

Apparently the sandwich bags are merely “degradable” NOT Bio-degradable………………

Chocolates can so easily sneak in – in their plastic… I need to make my own cupcakes!

And the wrappers…..

The cats wanted food again (funny how that works)

And two trash bags….

Today, 254 days ’til 40, I am really seeing how much waste my family produces.  It takes a lot of work to spend the day conscious of all that I consume and throw away……  it is shocking to see…….  after three days I am ready to stop taking stock, yet at the same time I see the value.  Imagine what the world might look like if we all were more aware……  I did water my flowers today and ride my bike, and we carpooled to work….. at least we are doing something!



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27 responses to “254 Days ’til 40: Carbon Footprint Week, Day 3

  1. Mr. Miller

    June 12, 2012 at 00:18

    It’s amazing what we find out about ourselves if we truly take an honest assessment of our lives. Good little audit…

  2. Tess Ross

    June 12, 2012 at 01:40

    Thanks for this blog. It certainly made me think.

  3. Lani Longshore

    June 12, 2012 at 09:02

    This is definitely a project that you do in small steps. One of my neighbors started an after-school ecology club when my kids were in middle school. He parlayed that into a fifteen year teaching position, and over the years taught hundreds of children the basics of reduce, reuse and recycle. They in turn taught their parents how to reduce, reuse and recycle. If he had tried to do it all in one year he would have failed, but by being patient and consistent he succeeded – and the whole town has benefited.

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 19:20

      Yes, and we are taking baby steps in our home!!! Wow, what a cool thing your neighbor did!!! 🙂

  4. kokorimbaud

    June 12, 2012 at 10:32

    What a great idea!
    However, for this to be a “real” account of your carbon footprint, you would need to look at your energy consumption (heating, hot water, electricity) and your travel habits, too …
    I’ve only done a quick check, but there are many sites like this to help figure it out:

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 22:56

      Thanks for the inspiration for my next blog post!!! 🙂

  5. streepie

    June 12, 2012 at 11:18

    Your recording of your “trash” is amazing. We (Family of three plus 2 dogs and 3 cats) produce ONE bag of refuse/trash per week!

    I take my food to work, too, but I use re-usable containers (not plastic bags) that I bring back home with me and wash them. I would also never take a plastic spoon – a normal spoon works equally well. We buy yoghurt in large containers, and I put the amount I want in a (ok, plastic) container. But that comes home with me, is being washed and used again.

    We have recently moved from plastic soda / water bottles to a water filter and “soda streamer” – no more plastic bottles.

    Fresh groceries come from the local butcher, cheese shop and market – and is wrapped in paper. I also take my own bags to the shops. We buy very little convenience foods, and thus there is little wrapping that needs to get thrown away. And nothing beat tampons (WITHOUT applicator) for the time of the month. And if your women prefer pads – there are brands that do not come individually wrapped. And if you need to take some along, put them in a reusable bag.

    Our cat food comes in tins that are recycled (every household in France has recycling bin that takes metalls, paper and plastic (PET), a bin for glass and then a bin for normal trash. And I use biodegradable refuse bags.

    I hope you can use some of the tips to reduce the amount of trash you produce – but recording it makes you much more aware already. Keep it up.

    All the best

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 22:59

      Yes, we are so excited to receive tips on how to reduce our waste! I am SOOO impressed with how little waste your family produces – I have A LOT to learn!!!!!

    • silverbells2012

      June 13, 2012 at 00:49

      You can get reuseable water bottles which come with a filter. I’ve seen them here, made in the US, so I should imagine you could find them somewhere. That would save you loads of money apart from reducing your carbon footprint.

  6. Viveka

    June 12, 2012 at 14:00

    You are doing a great job – kitchen paper is degradable – over here we should put it in with the food waste and so you can do with cardboard. Interesting to follow you.

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 19:22

      Thank you! Honestly, I am looking forward to this week being over because it is much more work than I thought it would be!!!

  7. Spider42

    June 12, 2012 at 14:43

    You really shouldn’t feel bad – the fact that you are aware of how such things can accumulate already puts you ahead of most folks, it’s where you go that matters more now.

    For example, once you get reusable bottles of water, the number you throw away goes down to zero (or as close as possible) and this is important to not stress about compared to others because water is in a lot of ways more important for people (especially in summer) so always have water to drink, even if you need to buy the occassional bottle.

    as regards the rest, it’s stuff you need to adapt yourself (like making your own cookies/brownies instead of only packaged chocolate – you can even make your own chocolate if enterprising enough!). Like your kids lunch – milk is good and it’s just the bottle but maybe they can have yogurt some other time so that you don’t have to give them fresh spoons regularly (unless your kids are more conscientious than most and always bring the spoons home).

    Big one? You could have kept the glass bottle for water at home. Best to refill and unlike plastic bottles, they don’t degrade and release potentially toxic material into the water over time (people will argue but I’ve seen test results from an unbiased research lab that tests for all kinds of companies and has no agenda regarding water purity either way – I know the guy in charge of the place) and honestly I think except for maybe a handful like aerated and maybe some other, most bottled water is really not that different from regular filtered and cleaned water for the most part. It’s just the latest and greatest money-spinner.

    And yes. You really should start using dish towels more and paper towels less – though bear in mind each has it’s value since washing dish towels consumes water and generates run-off unless you have a couple out all the time and toss them in the laundry bag. And you really don’t want to clean EVERYTHING with the dish towel you use regularly. 😉

    Sorry if I’m getting too into these posts, I just like to see people realise the import of the little things in terms of just logically wanting to take care of the world around you – without being a full on environmentalist. Just intelligent, like our species is ‘supposed’ to be.

    Cheers and keep up the good work!

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 23:03

      I am feeling more and more guilty daily! I agree with the need for reusable bottles and that does help – and also moving away from packaged goods to home made goods (which I actually like better anyhow)….. good point about keeping glass bottles for water at home!!!!!

      I agree with the points of moderation you make as well (ie: sometimes I do not want to clean everything with that dish towel, you are correct!!!)

      Tomorrow is another day… will I pass or fail??? 😉

      • Spider42

        June 13, 2012 at 17:34

        dammit – sorry, did not mean to make you feel bad, thought I was being helpful but as always I don’t think about how loooong I tend to make my points! 🙂

        • 400daystil40

          June 13, 2012 at 23:08

          You are being helpful! Awareness can hurt a bit, but that is often a good thing – we do not change or have motivation to change when we are comfortable – we grow the most in response to things that are not comfortable……. 🙂 😉

  8. valeriejune

    June 12, 2012 at 21:10

    I often reflect on how bad i am at being ‘green’. The hard thimg is though that we are not given any real alternatives. It seems near impossible in normal life to be good to the environment without living in a ten in a field living off berries… Lots of people have a genuine desire to be ‘greener’ though, we just need big businesses to make a bigger commitment to it and make it easier for us. Thanks for the post!

    • 400daystil40

      June 12, 2012 at 23:00

      Yes, I can completely relate…. it does seem that often we are pressured to do nothing or go completely off the grid and crazy …. if we can find a balance, as you said, without it being impossible, more people would come on board.

  9. narf77

    June 13, 2012 at 23:33

    I guess “baby steps” is a good way to look at it…if you can accomplish a small change a week you are heading in the right direction. What about NOT using plastic plates, knives and forks? Or if you are using them…at least wash them and reuse them? We live in a throw away society and are being told to “stop cramming the landfill” but there is very little honest education about how to do so for the “normal person”. If you are an offgrid hippy its not hard…if you are living in mainstream society and caught up in the day to day stream of life its a lot harder to implement changes but its not impossible. We are all going to have to really think about our carbon footprint before we are forced to change rather than asked to do so.

    • 400daystil40

      June 14, 2012 at 20:26

      Yes, very true….. yes, the key to the small steps is the willingness to do the small things….. sometimes I am SOOO lazy! I wonder if I would last two days off the grid!

      • narf77

        June 15, 2012 at 03:21

        Ditto! We are minimising our reliance on the grid, we inherited a 4 acre property on the river out in the sticks (bushland) in Tasmania Australia and after doing our Diploma in Horticultre we are trying to turn part of it into an edible food forest with permaculture gardens and principles. We have chooks (hens), ducks and we traded in our electric stove and heaters for an enormous locally made wood burning/ hot water heating/ house warming stove. We cook on a gas bbq in the summer when it gets too hot. We are townies like you guys are and it was a MAJOR culture shock to move out here and attempt to do what we are doing as penniless student mature aged hippies (I am 48 and Steve is 47) but we are slowly starting to learn what we do and don’t need and just how much our own actions impact on our local and worldwide enviroments. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I certainly don’t profess to know! All I know is that we need to be looking after ourselves and each other in our little local communities to weather whatever happens (sorry about my atrocious spelling…) and doing whatever we can to shore up our own futures without expecting anyone else to do it for us. A very hard lesson to learn when we have been brought up to expect that the world is our own personal oyster and our generation has been taking and not giving very much back. Love these posts and how you are coping with what we had to cope with…”how do we stop producing all this waste!”… you will get it one day 🙂

        • 400daystil40

          June 16, 2012 at 01:01

          Wow, what a great post! It is so cool what your family is doing! Now we need to see if we can get people to bond together in supportive communities and do the same thing! 🙂

          • narf77

            June 16, 2012 at 08:08

            Exactly my point. Whenever communties get together to create and build it gets neighbours talking to neighbours…it breaks down barriers of fear and depression, it gives lonely older people the chance to share with families and it brings entire communities together making them stronger in the process. When times get tough…I would rather be part of a cohesive community of friends and neighbours than a collective of people who are trying to do things themselves. There are some fantastic examples of city communities getting together and sharing knowledge, making community gardens, giving each other support and helping each other and thats what we need to be fostering because that’s how we used to live before the wealth of industrialisation gave us the luxury of being able to live self contained lives.

          • 400daystil40

            June 17, 2012 at 01:10

            agree completely!!!!! I like community – in fact, I LOVE it when I find a great community!


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