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Kristina Moen, Day 15 of Zero Waste Challenge

Day 15 of the Zero Waste Challenge - Eating Out Edition

One thing I didn’t anticipate with the Zero Waste Challenge is how much I eat out - at restaurants, at work, and at other people’s homes. Now that I am trying to take my trash home with me, it is more apparent how much trash I produce outside my home. I wasn’t really aware of how much trash I created because it was spread around. My rule of thumb has been not to discard anything in a trash can anywhere except my jar - so if it’s compostable or recyclable and there’s no receptacles for that, I take it home. I’ve learned that compostables and paper won’t truly break down in a landfill and just becomes trash. I didn’t know this before! It has sure cut down on paper towels that I use at work. Now I air dry my hands after washing them or use a cloth napkin that I brought from home.

Eating out can be problematic because I know there’s unseen waste associated with food preparation. My efforts to mitigate that has been to bring my own plate and cutlery, my own to-go drink containers, my own cloth napkin, asking for no straws, or getting food “for here” rather than to-go. I am keeping an “eating out kit” in my car. I take any trash home in my bag, like compostable food or napkins. When I’m eating at a friend’s home, I have tried to take the trash from food that I brought to the home (like cheese wrappers). I know the goal of this challenge is not necessarily to capture ALL of my waste (that’s impossible) - but the attempt to capture and curb my waste is making me more conscious. And I am figuring out what is sustainable for the future (bringing my own cloth napkin to the Galley – maybe not. But bringing my own plate to the taco truck – yes!).

Before the challenge, I had bought items that produced waste and then consumed this month- so in a way, this is almost a precursor to my true zero waste challenge. Certain things have just been such a pain in the butt to fit into my jar and I won’t be buying them in the future. Chip bags, for example. Sure, I can try to reuse them, but they still end up in the landfill. I don’t even LIKE chips that much, they’ve just always been an easy snack. The plastic pump on my lotion bottle. I will be getting lotions and shampoo/conditioner without the plastic pumps from now on. Bags of pasta - why not try bulk instead? On that note - we have great bulk coffee at Blossom. The same coffee I would buy in a bag, I can buy in a jar instead. It’s so easy! Sadly, I haven’t found a good way to eat ice cream without producing waste unless I make it myself. I welcome ideas! I did find a frozen banana soft-serve maker at the thrift shop, though. You put frozen bananas into a machine, and out comes a creamy frozen treat. To no one’s surprise, it tastes like banana.

One thing that has surprised me is how many bits of plastic come on EVERYTHING. Yes, a container might be recyclable, but there’s a ring of plastic around the top. I don’t know how the human race lived before plastic. Also, I am a big fan of cheese and that is always covered in plastic. Even my glass milk bottles have a plastic top and plastic ring. And then there’s all the paper/foil that is coated with plastic (like milk cartons, foil from cream cheese, etc.). We’re living in a plastic universe. I’ve included photos of my jar at day 5 and day 15.

Day 5

Day 15

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TIOLI closed Friday, January 12th

Due to safety concerns with the current weather system, we have decided to close TIOLI this coming Friday (the 12th). All other Dump services will be available.

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