It has been over three months since I have started this experiment, so it is about time for another trash update.  Below are photos from my last trash update and my current trash.

trash in bag

Week 7 trash in bag and floss roll

trash week 15

Week 15 trash in bag and floss roll

trash break down

Week 15 trash break-down

Since my last trash update, I gained a few more straws from unprepared restaurant drink orders.  I am getting better about saying “no straw, please,” but sometimes I forget.  Personally, I think that the straw should be an added bonus that the waitstaff asks you if you would like or not.  “Would you like crushed ground pepper and a straw with that?”

My “food / drink” trash increased partly due to my purchase of TAZO tea bags.  I thought I was making a trash-free choice by purchasing a box of this brand of tea.  It was the only box of tea bags in the store that was not also wrapped in plastic. However, trash-free it is not.  Although I can throw the paperboard container and tea bags into my trash can compost bin, the tea bags are individually wrapped with paper that has a thin, plastic lining – which is not compostable.  Once this material is damp, the plastic is easy to separate from the paper, but I am still left with trash. Time to switch to loose-leaf tea.

My “medical/dental” trash has also increased.  It seems difficult to get around trash if you wear contacts or take any sort of medicine.  I am hopeful that I will find a place that can at least recycle the plastic bubbles from my disposable contacts and the caps from the contact solution.  The non-profit, BEACH (Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii) has set up plastic cap recycling at local Salvation Army sites around the island of Oahu.  (I neglected to remember this in my last post when I bemoaned the fact that couldn’t purchase cooking oil without creating trash from the plastic caps).  I will look into whether or not they will include these items, too.

Trash-free surprises
These great cloth “Snack Saks” were sent to me as a “surprise trash-free gift” last week by an old friend of mine who happens to have an incredible Etsy site dedicated to green items: LiveGreenGiveGreen.  I absolutely love these bags that are lined with nylon fabric and can easily be wiped or cleaned in the wash.

Snack packs

Snack Saks by "Live Green Give Green"

I have also been pleasantly surprised recently at how many food vendors will work with my trash-free requests.  Saint-Germain’s bakery at Ala Moana shopping center (by Foodland) has freshly baked bread behind the counter not wrapped in plastic. They have no problem putting their bread into my cloth bags.  Safeway Kailua let me use my own container to take home turkey sandwich meat and the Foodland in Haleiwa put an entire sandwich into one of my containers.  The folks at Ninja Sushi by the Ko`olau Theaters in Kaneohe even gave my boyfriend and I sushi rolls to-go with no packaging at all.  The chef came out just handed us our mini-california rolls!  This was perfect since we wanted to eat them immediately as a snack before heading over to a movie.  (I so wish I had my camera to capture that trash-free moment)

The “I Love Kailua” festival also offered me a couple trash-free surprises. The Buzz’s Steak House booth had no problem serving me up their yummy chicken stir-fry in my own collapsible bowl.

Collapsible bowl

Collapsible bowl perfect for using at street fairs

food in collapsible bowl

Buzz's chicken stir-fry, trash-free take-out

And Na’Ono filled my water bottle up no questions asked with their refreshing pineapple tea.

Na`Ono tea
Na`Ono tea to-go is ono and trash-free

As always I love to hear from folks about their trash-free experiences and ideas. Here’s to a Trash-Free Earth Week!