....So, in my quest to deal with the recycling issue, I started thinking about a related issue, which was trash in general. When I was part of a larger household, there was always this amazement each time a kid went off to school and the amount of trash created by said household decreased dramatically. This happened to the point where then I started to actively DO things to further decrease the amount of trash created. Things like washing and re-using plastic storage bags (or not using them at all), trying to buy veggies and fruits free style without the packaging, composting more, etc. This was the humble beginning of my personal environmental movement I guess.
Getting cooperation from others can be difficult, however, so there still seemed to always be more "output" than I was comfortable with. That said, I did eventually get it down to the science of one kitchen sized trash bag per week that was a combo of every can in the house. I thought that this was not bad for two people in this day and age of throw-away it's all OK...
That was until I started reading about the transition to a zero-waste lifestyle. HERE is one blog as an example. I'm not advocating one blog over another in this arena, it is just that TIFT seems to be one of the more sustained ones over time.
I think that basically, this type of lifestyle is what we all, those of us considering ourselves environmental friendly, are trying to work toward. Perhaps not to the extreme of all of your trash fitting into a mason jar, but attempting to seriously consider what our household solid waste consists of and limiting our impact on the local landfill.
Plus it can be an issue of economics. As my friend Oraia Helene said yesterday on Facebook, some communities actually charge you for the amount of trash you take to the transfer station. Yes, you heard both parts right. They not only mandate that the citizen transport his/her trash, but they make you pay to have it processed. My brother lives in a community in Maryland that does this as well and has been as long as I can remember. I actually think it is a fabulously forward thinking idea and much more fair than charging everyone the same amount no matter how much trash they toss into the belly of the earth each week.
So, I started my own experiment of sorts, just to see how little I can actually throw away. Incorporating all of the things I had been doing previously and adding others to them I am now:
-washing and reusing sandwich/freezer bags (I only have a few of these, leftover from stuff, not buying any new).
-buying fruits and veggies "loose" (unpackaged).
-making lotion and doing the no shampoo hair cleansing (I started this last year and admittedly due to laziness got away from it so now am trying to start again).
- buying that TP without the cardboard roller (it is hard to find here but when I find it I get it).
-making loose ground coffee with a mesh filter and using a tea ball or tea straw for loose leaf tea.
-stopped buying/using paper towels & paper napkins (THIS.WAS.BIG. and has cut my waste significantly).
-buying local soap w/out packaging (plan to start making this myself too).
**cutting down on recycled items further too and paying attention to what is moving through the market more readily. For instance, as I said in yesterday's post, the current demand is for aluminum and cardboard, so why not further cut back on plastic, whether recycle worthy or not? For me this means getting diet soda (yes I still drink soda on occasion and I know it is bad for you) in cans rather than in bottles or getting a growler refilled with my favorite local brew rather than buying bottles (which I can no longer recycle without pawning them off on my colleague as I said yesterday).
**figuring out a better way to manage pet waste! This is BIG for me. I already use biodegradable bags. I have tried one of those waste processing systems that you put in the ground but it didn't seem to keep up with the "output" if you get my drift. I had plans for a cat litter compost system a couple of years ago but never gave it a whirl. Perhaps the future will allow that? I find that having pets, like having kids, does require additional fortitude and creativeness where all this is concerned...
So, since starting this experiment, I have my output down to about one Walmart shopping bag sized heap per week. (I don't actually use a plastic Walmart bag LOL these bags are more readily biodegradable also). That still seems like a lot to me...
I'm considering it an adventure though. A very dirty, stinky adventure...
Recycling is a soap opera in these parts. Trash too. Rubbish. That's my word for it all. I don't understand how trash can be political but, here, it is. We have a private company that handles trash pick-up in our City residential areas. Out yonder, where I live, the same company handles it but it is more expensive. The City folk are on a single-stream recycling program. For those unfamiliar that is where a person mixes all their recycle materials into one container (why does that thought always make me start humming that song by The Offspring?) and then it is sorted at a holding facility by the company handling the pick-up, or whatever facility they contract with. What happens then is that other companies specializing in recycled goods buy the materials. Right now, cardboard and aluminum are bringing the best price for recycled goods. Glass is not well sought after, thus, the local glass woes have resurfaced.
Still, single-stream will accept everything, even though a disgruntled trash worker will tell you that if items are not well sought after they simply go in the landfill with everything else. The truth is they don't immediately end up buried. Instead, they are held and bidding is still done. But, eventually....well I can't seem to get an answer for that.
Add to this that if you do not live within the City limits here, the responsibility of sorting and transporting your recycled goods is left to you. This never bothered me. Recycling was just a part of my routine and once a week I would pack up my stuff and transport it to the County Solid Waste Authority (what a name, right? LOL accurate just not very sexy) and deposit it in the appropriate containers. There were also satellite drop-off sites at various locations, but most of them only took the major items.
Enter horrible budgetary decisions and even more horrible egos of local politicians and government hacks. Due to the overall cavalier attitude of the Authority, their major funding source cut their budget by more than half. Attitude aside this never should have happened. Welcome to small town ego driven politics in Podunk. To make matters worse and around the same time, the Authority then decided to abandon their home site (which they owned outright) and move to the local industrial park (with a hefty rent tag), thus further busting their budget.
Once again, they took glass off their menu because it was "just too expensive" to process. Then, last month they announced that their facility would close.
To me, this is whole scenario is the very lowest of lows with regard to politics, ego, and mismanagement. There is SO.MUCH.MORE drama that I could type about for hours but....blah....it just isn't even worth the energy.
So, what is an earth child to do???????
Well, at some point during this saga the private company that collects recycled goods agreed to pick up goods at the major drop-off sites for basically the amount of money the Authority had left to work with. So, OK, I can still manage my major items.
I colleague of mine offered to collect my glass. LOL, she does this for several people as she is a City resident. Funny how green people work together against the machine, isn't it? Sisters and brothers in arms I guess....
Even so, I felt that I should come up with an additional, more feasible plan for life. I'm in the process of doing that.
to be continued....
LOL Keepin' it real! So, I haven't shaved my legs in awhile. Like, awhiiiiilllleeeee... The last time I stopped shaving was in graduate school. I was loving my life, bleeding parks and recreation, Jewel's Pieces of You was the background noise of my every waking moment and just like all good P&R kids of that era I was going to move to Alaska as soon as I graduated and BE with nature.
Anyway, THAT is a whole other post.
So, recently I became too lazy to shave my legs. In between moving and work and winter and not being able to locate my razor for a couple of weeks I just got slacky. And then when I DID locate the razor I was like mmmeeeehhhhhh I'll do it tomorrow. Then, tomorrow. Then, maybe tomorrow.... Tomorrow has yet to come and I'm not saying it won't at some point but right now I remain a lazy cavewoman. It keeps me warmer I think. LOL and I need less moisturizing which means less lotion making, more time, less waste... Ya know, it all fits together. Maybe I will shave in the spring because then being a hairy beast will make me too sweaty. LOL LOL...
As to my other hair - that which resides on my head - I have stopped having it colored. Yup, I am embracing the grey. I actually kinda like it. So, the whole process will of course take FOREVER because my hair is long but now that I can actually SEE my true natural color with the grey mixed in, it contrasts quite well. I just gotta get through the "white trash line" phase with the root grow-out. Winter is a good time to do this. I can wear a toboggan. LOL.
Make-up? Gone. I gave away most of what little I had. I've never been really big on make-up but I did have a small standard routine daily that included a little mascara, some shadow and a light lipstick. Even that has been traded in for a tiny bit of coconut oil to moisturize around my eyes and lips, quick curl of my lashes and out the door.
All of this is not only an attempt to save on self maintenance costs but to just be a little more natural in a mostly NOT natural world. Not to mention to just....be. Why all these rituals based on some crazy standard of "beauty" or acceptance. They suck your money and make you veiled promises that it will all make you feel better about yourself. Plus they suck your time! Like, people say TV is a time waster. Have you ever sat in a salon chair for three freakin' hours getting your head yanked on? Ugggghhhhh. Over it. I'd rather escape life through entertainment and at least have something interesting to contemplate/talk about. ;)
I found the absolute best recipe for homemade lotion this weekend!
Thank you Wellness Mama Blog for posting this super easy way to forgo slathering your body with chemicals. This gives me the ability to make my own cruelty free skin care product!
I will be storing my lotion in jars like the picture on the left. No lie this really does take like 10 minutes and you can "flavor" it to your tastes as far as fragrance, oils, etc.
I don't plan to ever find myself in the drugstore fussing over labels again! How about you? ;)
Here is a picture of the lotion as it heats up and ingredients melt. This only took about ten minutes. I had to shave the beeswax because I was using some old beeswax candle remnants from candles I had purchased at our co-op. I don't think it would have been necessary to shave them - everything else seemed to melt pretty quickly so next round should go faster.
The picture below is of the lotion cooling. I used eucalyptus oil for my first batch. The kitchen smells absolutely fabulous right now! Best yet - I posted these pics on my local Facebook page and one of my co-workers has already made an order request! LOL. One step closer to my magic shop ;)....
I got great local news just the other day!
GREAT NEWS! Glass will be accepted again.Posted on December 12, 2013 by Mon.Co.S.W.A.
Great news residents…Glass will be accepted again; but only at our main facility located inside the Morgantown Industrial Park. Starting December 23, 2013 we will be accepting clear, amber (brown), and green glass bottles. They must be separated by color and placed into the appropriate bins. Please note that we will not be accepting plate glass, windows, ceramics, or any type of cook ware.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at 304.292.3801.
*DO NOT drop your glass off at our satellite sites. This will be considered littering if you do; Littering is subject to fines Under the WV Litter Laws*
I'm not sure how/why this happened. Just thankful. I'd like to believe that public pressure can indeed do some good in the world. Well, I guess I will decide that I DO believe that and start happily sorting glass again!
You know, lots of people that listen to me probably think I am a bit too much when it comes to how I feel about the earth, animals, the universe. I realize that due to podcasting and blogging many think that I am very outspoken about these things. That much is true. Maybe it isn't normal. But what if it was? What would it mean to that passion if we, those of us called tree huggers and crazy environmentalists, and a wee bit crunchy were the ones considered normal.
For instance, what if everyone just recycled? What if they just did it without question because that's what you do? What if NO ONE used styrofoam coffee cups? What if we all could have a compost heap? How would our world be different if we were the normal ones rather than those folks in the McDonald's line every day?
Want to start a revolution?
Then very quietly just begin to live as if we were the normal people. You don't have to scream it. Just Live It. When people ask you if you want to grab coffee, get your mug out and go. Build that compost bin. Buy only Fair Trade chocolate. And share it with friends. Shop at the farmer's market. Make your breakfast instead of hitting the drive-thru. Plant a garden. Make your lunch or take leftovers instead of hitting that drive-thru again. If your budget and opportunities allow, purchase your own beef locally. Kindly decline a fast food meal. Take your own container with you for leftovers at dinner out. WHATEVER portion or portions of being a member of this universe you believe in, just start to live them.
People will notice. Some may even be curious enough to ask. Fewer will follow suit but sooner or later the wheel will start to turn.
We are coming upon the day I have dreaded for weeks. The last day to recycle glass in my community. Actually in my STATE.
MOST RECENT ARTICLE
As an interesting aside, I had posted about this a few weeks ago and even commented on their blog. It seemed to me that no one in our community was even aware this was happening since there was no official press release and their notice was a blog entry and some small signs at drop off locations basically stating that as of the 28th glass would no longer be accepted.
In penning this today I went to link to the original article to find that they had deleted MY comments but left the only other comment from some bible banging nutcase who said this:
We live in Cheat and must rely on your collection centers for our recycling. We have been doing so for as long as you have been doing it. We consider recycling as part of God’s will for mankind to have dominion over our environment and planet. It is good and appropriate stewardship. Until now I have applauded your efforts, but now by not accepting glass you have become part of the problem. If you are at all serious about the morality of recycling, you must find a way to continue recycling glass.
LOL LOL LOL. I just find it funny they deleted a comment based in fact from another public servant asking them logical stuff and talking about budgetary excuses and leave this guy's crazy mark on their site.... I also hope that other people finally started asking the same questions as I was and that was what led to their need to spin the latest article posted. Because, I am sorry but as a "solid waste authority" not recycling glass is a little like running a school system and deciding you will no longer take 7th graders because they are too annoying. LOL. And putting more recycle drop offs "throughout the county" is not going to encourage more people to recycle. The damn things are everywhere now and redneck jackasses that live "throughout the county" don't use them. The people who do are educated, informed, true environmentally minded individuals. And THOSE individuals methodically and faithfully recycle glass. Glass turns to sand? Well hell yes it does eventually. But, really?
HOW STUFF WORKS
Again, it makes me sad as an environmentalist in general and it makes me even more uneasy and perplexed at my State and the state of our mindfulness as a whole. And it gives me little damn faith in the people running this show. In comparison, we do ALL kinds of stuff that cost us more money than we "make" in parks. We do other stuff that offsets it and THAT is public service folks. What about earth service?
Anyway - so that got a bit long for an aside. LOL. So no more glass soon. I am in prep mode at this point. Transfering all little stuff that is in glass over to other containers - things like the three pickles left in the jar, etc., getting ready to do the final glass run, prepping for the purchase of a kegerator. I'M NOT JOKING! Who in the hell in her right mind drinks beer from a can? Nasty. And also trying to figure out other ways to basically reduce glass coming IN so that there is very little glass going OUT into the landfill. AND, I suppose my craft speciality at this point is going to become "cool things to do with glass" because, well, it seems timely.
So, I will do a segment in that line of thought on IP Radio at some point. I had a glass reuse topic once in an early episode. Time to revisit and regroup. Ideas for reuse of glass? Please feel free to comment!
We have a sidewalk issue. That issue being our "sidewalk" is 25 years old and slowly rotting away. It was made from landscape timber and wraps around the entire front of our house. So, replacing it is a pretty extensive project that we actually put off last summer. But, the time is now and well, we are DIY people here in the hollow so we decided that we would not redo the walk in the same material but instead would do it in flat rock - sort of a meandering walkway around our porch amongst our hosta and creeping myrtle. I have no doubt it will be beautiful when finished. But for now, our weekends are going to be spent doing hot ass work in the baking sun. Something we love! No, seriously we DO love that stuff...
To the left is a portion of the walkway in demo progress.
To the right is the largest portion of the walkway. This was after we had taken the main planks out, leaving only the foundation boards. The foundation proved to be a real bitch and we have gotten maybe 1/3 of it torn out. We had to end up using a "come-a-long" and a tree... Brute force and awkwardness at their best!
But, there is the question regarding sustainability of what to do with all this half rotten wood? Landfill? Not this dynamic green duo!
As many of you know, I have this ongoing good natured battle with the local wildlife. Mostly my "beloved" raccoon family. I have reinforced my compost area in several different ways over the years. The basic "compost heap" is a simple box frame with chicken wire on the sides. My dad built it for me years ago. There was a hinged door on one side. Animals would dig under it, pull the chicken wire back... Raccoons are industrious little buggers ya know!
So, last fall, I flipped the entire box, put the door on top and added wire to all sides, including the bottom, which I actually buried and reinforced with rock. It is always funny to go over and see the interesting things my Rickies have tried to get into the damn thing. Their latest attempt has included actually pulling back the reinforced wire at various spots...
Sooooooooo a thought occured to us as we were talking about possible reuse of the landscape timbers like good little greenies.
AND, to the left you have it! Suck it raccoon raiders! Suck IT. LOL.
We had some additional planks left and with those I am going to outline my pet cemetery and I will post pictures of that project as well.