EcoChallenger Conducts Personal Waste Audit, Works Towards Zero Waste

EcoChallenger Kelly Merrick assesses her trash for the 2013 EcoChallenge
EcoChallenger Kelly Merrick assesses her trash for the 2013 EcoChallenge

EcoChallenger Kelly Merrick from Portland, Oregon has been blogging about her 2013 waste reduction EcoChallenge. See below for video highlights from her EcoChallenge and click here to read her blog about her EcoChallenge journey!

The 2013 EcoChallenge has begun! And to celebrate, I started by digging through my trash.

No, really, I did. But don’t worry, I wore gloves.

Josh and I completed our waste audit yesterday to get ready for our 2013 Northwest Earth Institute EcoChallenge. That meant sorting through two weeks of trash (we left out the bathroom garbage for sanitary purposes) and identifying what we could avoid during the challenge and beyond. We also went through our recycling to identify items we could avoid. After all, recycling does come at the end of the three R’s for a reason: it’s better to reduce first…

Here is what Kelly found during her EcoChallenge Waste Audit per trash she and her partner generated over two weeks:

  • To-go containers: we pledge to order smaller portions of food to avoid leftovers or bring our own container.
  • Plastic wrappers: I got sick and bought Emergen-C packets without thinking. In the future I will not purchase individually-wrapped items.
  • Plastic shells from tools: Josh had to purchase a few tools for house projects and they came in plastic shells. In the future we will either borrow, buy used or find tools that are not sold with packaging.
  • Swiffer dust pads & filter: We have decided to use old rags as dust pads and stop using the vacuum function. That’s what a broom and dust pan are for!
  • Cotton balls/cotton swabs: We will avoid cotton swabs for the challenge and I will avoid using cotton balls for things like removing eye makeup. Instead, I will use an old (clean) sock
  • Plastic bottles and containers from face care products: I have already purchased new products without packaging or with completely recyclable packaging…

Before I go any further, let me say that we have already produced a few pieces of trash. I am obsessed with flossing my teeth so we have some dental floss in the garbage and Josh accidentally used a cotton swab after his shower. I also bought a jar of pickles that had a plastic wrapper around the lid so that also had to be thrown away. So immediately we aren’t zero waste, but it’s a process, right?

*To follow Kelly and Josh’s journey and to read the full post about their recycling and waste audit (and view their recycling video), click here. Thanks Kelly for sharing your journey with the NWEI community!

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