I made the first real changes in my lifestyle to help me minimize my trash production this last week.

To eliminate paper towels (and keep my clothes free of damp hand marks) I started tucking a cloth napkin into my pocket.  I am sure it looks a bit odd having a blue napkin hanging by my side, but it works.  I am hoping to switch to handkerchiefs soon.

I also finally picked a new dental floss called “Eco-Dent.”

My new dental floss

As lots of other folks out there have written blogs about their experiences minimizing waste, I am lucky to reap the rewards of their research and experiences.  Colleen sent me a link to a woman named Beth Terry who is doing what she can to reduce the plastic in her life: http://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/.

Beth did a lot of research on dental floss and chose “Eco-Dent” as the best over all option.  I took her advice and am trying it myself.  So far so good.  The downside is that the floss itself it is still made of nylon, thus not biodegradable.  The great side is that there is no plastic container to throw away – the cardboard box IS the floss dispenser!  How ingenious and smart of this company.  When I am finished with the floss, I will be able to throw the dispenser in my new compost container (after taking the very small piece of metal off that is used to cut the floss).

Speaking of which, I also “built” my first trash can compost container.

Trash can compost container

I got an old trash can I wasn’t using and drilled holes all over it (actually, my boyfriend did the drilling – thanks Adam!).  Different websites didn’t agree on how large these holes needed to be, so we just used the biggest drill bit my roommate had (thanks Dana!).

Inside compost container

I then filled it with leaves from the yard, some old grass clippings, my fruit peels and veggie scraps, and topped it off with the bag of compost-able materials I have been saving for two weeks, and strips of newspaper.  I watered it, rolled it around a bit, and put it on a few bricks in the sunshine.  If all goes well I should be able to just add materials, make sure the mixture remains damp, but not wet, and roll it around once a week.   Sounds suspiciously too easy.  We shall see.

As for my other goals for this week:

  • Research places to by bulk items:  I did check out Whole Foods in Kahala and Down to Earth in Kailua for options.  They actually don’t have too much to offer that I am interested in, unfortunately.  I just finished my last box of cereal, so that is on my mind. These places have granola in their bulk food sections, but I am going to research how I can make my own.  Anyone out there have recipes they have tried and liked?  I would also like to see if I can make my own energy / snack bars as my box of Cliff Bars from Costco is now empty.  Again, please pass on any favorite recipes you may have.
  • Experiment with compact take-out containers: I did not do this yet, however I did remember to bring a container to a restaurant last night.  So I guess it is top of mind, which is a step in the right direction.

So all in all it was a great week.  I will admit that I did produce some trash, though. I was caught off guard, at a bar with some friends watching the Ducks play a great game in the national championships, when I ordered a couple drinks and both came with – plastic straws.  I didn’t realize until almost the end of the game what had happened.  The restaurant experience got me again!

I will be spending this week playing with my compost container and continuing my search for packaging-free food.  Again, I would love any granola and / or energy bar recipes!  Thanks!