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Ashi, Teri & Liz take on May for their Zero Waste Challenge!


Day 1 – May 1, 2018

Our family consists of 3 individuals who are all dedicated to the 3 R’s –recycling, reuse and reducing our waste, especially plastics.

Meet the team:

Ashwini Bartolucci, Lopez High School Senior.  Ashwini has volunteered for many years at the LSWDD or dump. She is also working on the Re-Make project to develop a method to turn #1 PET plastic into filament for the school’s 3-D Printer. She will present her findings on this project at her Senior presentation.

Teri Linneman has worked as the Transportation Supervisor and bus driver at Lopez School for 35 years and has a commitment to the students that she meets in her everyday work. She is an extraordinary chef sourcing local ingredients whenever possible. She does most of the cooking in our household and is committed to purchasing products with either no packaging or minimal packaging and regularly shops at local farm stands.

Liz Scranton has a small painting contracting business called Custom Wood Finishes and works on many large job sites where there is a lot of waste. At home she tries to practice the 3 R’s as much as possible and hopes after this challenge to take some of what she learns to the job site.

In our household we have started to look more critically at the items we buy, especially since China stopped taking our plastics. Part of the reason we signed up for the Zero Waste Challenge is to push ourselves to reduce our global footprint and find alternatives that will help us achieve this goal.

Here are some of the things we have started to do:

  • We have begun to look at all the items we buy and choose the ones that have the least packaging or not buy the item at all if there is a better alternative.

  • We have begun buying more things in bulk but one thing we wonder is how does the bulk item come to the store. Take rice as an example – is it packaged in a large plastic bag and placed in a box? Also, if 100 people use a plastic bag to purchase their bulk rice – are we really reducing waste by buying bulk?  This has not stopped us from buying bulk items but it is something we wonder about.

  • We have stopped buying some items altogether due to the packaging such as the rice crackers that we enjoy.  These crackers come in plastic packaging.

  • Bring our own bags to the store when we shop – not just our shopping bag but also the bags that we put fruit, veggies and other items into.

  • Using a coffee cone that does not need a paper filter.

  • We have realized that there are some items that we will continue to buy that have waste and we will discuss this over the month.

  • We stopped our “paper towel habit” over 15 years ago and have never looked back.  We use rags for wiping up spills, dry our hands on towels. The rags are washed or thrown out, depending on what they were used for.

Here are some things we hope to accomplish this month:

  • Liz is going to write to some of our manufacturers and request that they change their packaging.

  • Remove ourselves from junk mailing lists.

  • Teri is going to make cloth bags for our bulk items – right now we use plastic bags that have already been used half a dozen times but eventually they get holes in them.

  • Inventory our purchases to determine where we can reduce our waste.

  • We like the Traditional Medicinal line of teas but the packaging is plastic coated paper and is not recyclable. Ashwini is going to try and source the ingredients and make our own tea as similar to the ones we buy from Traditional Medicinal. This will reduce the energy that goes into the packaging and reduce the waste going into the landfill.

Also, part of the May Zero Waste Challenge is to compost. We have been composting for over 25 years and have quite extensive compost systems at home. We will elaborate on our compost systems and submit some photos later in the month.

We’re excited for this Zero Waste challenge – so here we go…


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