Trash Challenge Week 1

So I’ve finished week 1 of the trash challenge I have set myself for February. I decided to collect all the rubbish I generated this week, to see where I can make changes to continue my eco-friendly journey.

Trash Challenge Week 1

I’m not sure if it’s more than I expected, but it was definitely a shock when I laid it all out today! If you’re interested, here’s a list:

  • 8 individual chocolate bar wrappers and 2 outer wrappers
  • 4 sweet wrappers
  • top from a packet of chocolates
  • 6 yoghurt pots and lids
  • 3 tins
  • food packaging: 2 turkey containers, 1 sausage packet, 1 bacon container, 1 pie tray, 1 fish finger box and 1 pizza box plus thin plastic wrap and polystyrene circle from the pizza
  • 2 bread bags and 1 tortilla bag
  • 3 veg bags
  • 1 egg box
  • 1 milk bottle and 1 juice carton
  • 1 apple sticker
  • 2 cardboard toilet rolls and plastic packaging
  • 1 cardboard kitchen roll
  • used ink cartridge and wrapper
  • 2 batteries
  • 2 contact lens packets
  • assorted papers, including 8 receipts, 5 print-outs, 1 leaflet, 4 letters, 10 old cards, 1 invitation, 1 envelope, 1 expired voucher and 6 pieces of scrap paper reused
  • plastic wrapper from a magazine and paper advert contained within it
  • clothes catalogue
  • plastic wrapper from a congratulations card
  • bit of white plastic not needed from a set of drawers
  • prescription bag plus prescription paper

And this isn’t including the things that it was too impractical to keep, such as food waste, toilet paper, paper towels, kitchen roll, sanitary towels, contact lenses, foil from a butter tub, 5 paper cake cases and items disposed of at work (wrapper from a packet of printer paper, and some envelopes).

I found it quite hard to see all of this, but it’s also great because it’s shown me that I produce most waste from the food I eat. This is going to hopefully be my focus for the next few weeks, so I will be looking out for differences in my weekly photos!

This week I’ve decided to make desserts from scratch, instead of buying individually-wrapped chocolate bars (as you can tell, I have a bit of a sweet tooth!) I’ve also bought a 450g tub of yoghurt instead of 85g individual portions to try and reduce packaging from that.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by this but I’m reminding myself that I have already made a lot of changes in my life, and by being conscious of what I throw away I can make more. I also don’t throw all of these things away every week (the ink cartridge, letters and other papers, for example), so that’s something to take into account.

Anne over at Minimalist Sometimes is doing the Plastic Free Challenge too, so pop over and check out her post! Have you done something similar? Or perhaps you have tips on how I can cut down my waste? I’d love to hear from you!

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17 thoughts on “Trash Challenge Week 1

  1. You’re doing great, I would be in more trouble if I was going to do all the trash, like you 😉 This time around it’s only the plastic.. but I am kinda keeping an eye on the overall as well (just not writing about it). Paper is the kicker for me as I have not yet put a “no unsolicited mail” sticker on my mailbox. (I kinda use this as a means to keep up on good deals from my food stores).. but I’m considering putting the sticker on and finding another way to see what good deals on food they have. Fortunately, we have good paper recycling facilities here…

    • Yes, the junk mail is a problem for me at the moment too…we got so much this week! We have good paper recycling but can’t recycle as much plastic so a lot of it has to go straight in the bin. Are you doing the challenge again this week?

      • I see you posted your week 2 🙂 did you want me to do the same? I could you know, since I did take a picture and wrote all the items down 😉 I was thinking I would make a February post showing the plastic from each week put together in a collage, and list the weeks stuff, and show how much it amounted to all bundled up (I filled a mason jar again.. this week)… What u think?

      • Hmm, I think it’s up to you! I just wanted to do each week to track my progress and get myself back into blogging again, but if you have photos and lists then you could do it at the end of the month 🙂 So impressed yours is still fitting in a jar!!

      • Yeah, but remember I’m only doing plastic… But it is kinda fun it fits in a jar.. Except I’ve got a couple of orchids going into the trash soon, and the pots are plastic and no way I’m gonna fit unless I cut them into a “million” pieces 😉

      • The orchid was done, no more flowers left and from experience I never can make the them flower again 😦 so out to the compost it went…

  2. I agree you are doing fantastic. Just being aware of your trash is the first step to reducing it. I have been purchasing my toilet paper from Amazon by the case to avoid plastic packaging. Unfortunately the last time I purchased my case it was wrapped in plastic so I need to find a new brand. One brand that was brought to my attention was a new design by Scott’s tissue. They were able to create a roll that doesn’t need the cardboard insert so there is no waste at the end of the roll.

    As for the paper towels I went to a thrift shop and found a large box of fabric for $2 that I was able to make 50 napkins for each of my adult children’s home plus a stack for myself. You can also ask at the salvation army and other thrift shops for the donations of clothes that are soiled and they will be tossing instead of trying to sell. Tshirt material makes great rags.

    We live in such a disposable world that it’s hard to live without producing any waste.

    • Thank you so much for the comment! I agree that awareness is the first step…having it all laid out brings it home to you a bit.

      We currently use Andrew Eco toilet paper which is made from recycled paper and uses recycled plastic packaging but this Scott’s one with no roll sounds great…will check it out!

      The paper towels were mainly from work, so I’m trying to use the hand dryer instead, and I’ll look into the fabric idea when we’ve used up our kitchen roll at home (thankfully we don’t use it much).

      Thank you for your suggestions! 🙂 Hope you’re well.

  3. Bravo! Did you feel self-conscious about what to buy/eat/throw away through the week, knowing you would have to photograph and post it? I think I would have. You are very brave and honest, making us examine our own lives and waste.

    • SO self-conscious…food shopping is a nightmare at the moment because I just feel surrounded by plastic! But it’s good to be aware. Thank you, it’s been a challenge so far!

  4. Well done! I think I would have so much more rubbish! As an alternative for disposable sanitary pads you can use Cups or cloth pads (the crafter in me loves the fact that I can make designs the way I want to and all those colours!) I only just started using reusable products and I love it. you can leave the cups in for such a long time and I only use pads as back up. easy, saves money and so much less waste! https://www.youtube.com/user/preciousstarspads has a lot of info on both!

    • Thank you! I do have a mooncup but I’ve been struggling to get used to inserting and removing it, but I’ll definitely keep persevering…thanks for the reminder and the comment 🙂

      • maybe you need a differnet brand/size… the first cup I had wouldn’t want to pop open… so I got a smaller, stiffer one (I figured my pelvic muscles were too strong) and this one works a lot better

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