Sorry if this post is a little incoherent but having just spent an hour on the phone to my web host server trying to get my crashed site back online has fried my brain a little.

Last nights dinner and beers resulted in a few bits of waste, but overall I am not yet surprised at my personal waste stream three days in.

Today’s A to Z of gratitude Instagram letter, ‘J’, from @thegratitudejournals challenge fitted in so well with the Waste Weigh Up challenge I thought I should share it. Junkies Magazine is a aimed at sustainability minded people who like to ‘rethink’ the way they consume and ‘reduce’ the need for consumption by ‘reusing and recycling’ what they already have. Kind of a perfect fit for this months challenge!

As promised here are a few reflective questions to ponder at the beginning of your month long waste analysis. Just copy and paste them into a document of your choice and answer as you see fit. I have provided my personal responses for you to ponder (sometimes an example gets the brain moving).

What do you hope to achieve by completing this month long waste audit? 

My overal goal is to increase my mindfulness when it comes to making purchases as to how their packaging will affect my waste output. Ideally achieving the goal of ‘zero’ waste would be a dream, but I would be happy to settle for an outcome of ‘recyclable waste only’ as my output (especially if this output was minimal). A side goal of this process is having a greater understanding of the composition of plastics, finding packaging free alternatives for currently consumed products, discovering the process of waste removal and recycling in my local area, and the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with others.


Do you have any concerns or fears about the project?  

My biggest concern is that by analysing my personal waste stream I will discover regularly used items that I cannot find better packaging alternatives for. Being someone who has a very temperamental digestive system who also experiences skin allergies from certain cosmetics and cleaners, the though of feeling that I can no longer purchase an item that works for me due to ‘packaging guilt’ is a scary one! So much work (and pain) has gone into finding the ones I currently use.

What do you predict will be your repeat offenders when it comes to packaging waste? 

Coconut water and berries. These two items are things I consume on a daily basis that are packaged with little to no way around packaging. Coconut water has been one I have had difficulty coming to terms with purchasing. Despite my best efforts I cannot find it sold in any useful ‘bulk’ format other than tetra packs. Last time I visited the recycling plant here Tetra packs were non-recycable. From the looks of it things have changed but I am waiting to talk to someone within the month about it. There is a brand that sells coconut water in glass bottles but unfortunately they are out of my budget. Some may say ‘don’t drink it if you can’t find the right packaging’ but the last two years of coconut water consumption has dramatically reduced my episodes of dehydration and heat exhaustion (something I am extremely prone to living in the sub tropics as a heavy sweater despite my best efforts to stay hydrated). The berries are used to aid absorption of Iron from leafy greens in breakfast smoothies so they are something I truly enjoy and wouldn’t want to give up over our winter berry growing months! I feel relatively comfortable with purchasing them as they all come in recyclable plastic here so it wouldn’t be too awful of me to keep up with this ‘breakfast indulgence’.

Do you think there will be any surprises? 

Toilet rolls! The cores from toilet paper are one of those sneaky things that all look the same so you never really know how many of them are floating around the recycling bin. This challenge should be a real eye opener as to how much of it we really use (my man is aways complaining about how much girls use even from way back in his share house days).

On a scale of one to ten (one being very little and ten being ‘expert) how much would you say you know about the process of recycling and waste stream management in your local area?

Around four years ago I would have given myself an eight out of ten as I was heavily involved in a recycling study on campus and had visited the recycling plant as part of my studies. Given how fast technology moves (we now have video cameras on our garbage trucks to monitor waste) my score would now be a four out of ten!

Lastly are there any areas you would really like to know more about? 

Sadly there is so much waste at every level of manufacturing that we cannot have any control over without a transparent supply chain. It would be nice to know exactly how much the end use ‘household consumption’ part plays in the overall manufacturing process and what we as consumers can do to not only decrease our personal waste output, but demand greater transparency throughout the whole manufacturing supply chain so we can make fully informed decisions when purchasing. No sense in looking high an low for an items with no packaging if someone has taken its plastic transport wrapper off in the back room to display it on the store shelf. That just means the plastic is in someone else’s trash can intead of yours. It still exists as a result of your purchase.

If you are feeling brave you can post your answers in the comments section below!

Tomorrows challenge prep: Get your mouse mat and keyboard, or swipe and type finger ready for tomorrow. We are gonna go surfing!!!! Wooo… On the internet (not really as much fun as the ocean but full of knowledge not jelly fish). 


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