After reading the article from the AARP Bulletin, which I posted yesterday about generating 50 tons of trash by the time we are 70, I decided today to see how much trash I generate in a day. I have been amazed.
For breakfast, I finished off the last of a large bag of raisins. The raisin bag isn’t recyclable, so I put it in the trash. Luckily, I compost the coffee filter and the grounds from my morning coffee.
While dressing, I put the plastic dry cleaner bag in a bag to take to Publix for recycling. The wire hangers I’ll take back to the dry cleaner. The safety pins I keep and reuse. Any paper generated from the dry cleaning goes into the paper recycling bin.
I needed a new roll of toilet paper. I recycled the cardboard tubes and the paper wrapping around the new roll of Scotts Tissue. No, the used toilet paper is flushed away. I’m crazy, but not that crazy.
Before lunch, I discarded a CD at work. Is there anything we can do with CD-ROMs? At lunch, I used three paper towels (something I have eliminated at home) which added to the trash. Parts of the tomato I was eating was thrown away. At home, I would have put the inedible parts into the compost.
I also trashed the tea bag that I used at work, while at home this would have gone into the compost bin. We can’t compost at work because our office in an office building. It’s a miracle that some office paper is collected and recycled. When I suggested setting up plastic and aluminum bins for recycling, I was rejected. Personally I use my own cup, dinnerware and flatware at the office. I refuse to use the styrofoam offered by my employer.
Through the afternoon, I added to the trash bin gum and an apple core (again, something I would add to the compost heap at home). After a trip to the ladies room at work, I realized that every trip there added two paper towels (as well as that unusable toilet paper) to the trash heap today.
After working late, at home I found a mound of mail, both junk and necessary. Fortunately, all is paper, and all will go into the recycling bin.
While preparing dinner, any vegetable scraps went into the plastic tub for the compost pile. We don’t eat meat, so we don’t have fats and bones to discard.
I throw away and accumulate less “trash” at home. I’m not sure if I collected 4.5 lbs. of trash today, but I realize now that I generate more trash that I thought. I’ll be traveling Friday through Sunday. It’s very hard to be green while flying and staying in a hotel. Everything is disposable.
I suspect that the 50 tons may be underestimated, since more disposeable items are available now. Someone born in 1980 will definitely produce more trash than someone born in 1940. In 1940, there were no disposable diapers. Unfortunately that person born in 1940 might wind up in disposable diapers afterall.