Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 25


  • Mail
  1. Valpak savings coupons (reuse)
  2. insurance offer (reuse)
  3. 2 magazine offers (reuse)
  4. An informative letter from my local school district (reuse)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. Medicine bottle (reuse)
  2. 3 food cans (reuse)
  3. 1 orange juice carton (reuse)
  4. pasta box (reuse)
  5. popsicle stick (reuse) and wrapper (garbage)
  6. cottage cheese seal (garbage)
  7. 4 soda/beer bottles and bottle caps (reuse)
  8. coffee cup (reuse)
  9. small paper bag (reuse)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 24


  • Mail
  1. ADVO mailing (reuse)
  • Food packaging
  1. juice carton (reuse)
  2. guacamole container (reuse) and lid (garbage)

Used a couple of eggs cartons as drawer organizers, and a guacamole container to hold some small toy parts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 23


  • Mail
  1. Catalogue (reuse)
  2. Another catalogue (reuse)
  3. Magazine offer (paper: reuse, plastic wrapping: garbage)
  4. Bill (reuse/file)
  5. Bill (reuse/file)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. juice carton (reuse)
  2. medicine bottle (reuse)
  3. tissue box (reuse)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day 22


  • No mail today...if only every day were Sunday!
  • Food and other packaging
  1. orange juice carton (reuse)
  2. plastic grocery bags (reuse)
  3. 1 ginger ale soda bottle and cap (reuse)
  4. egg carton (reuse)
  5. glass milk bottle (return) and cap (reuse)
  6. tea bag and packet (reuse/compost)
  7. 2 "biodegradable" plastic bags (garbage--already reused once or more and quite well-worn and dirty)
  8. plastic seals on 2 resealable plastic bags (garbage)
  9. Straws--may reuse the actual straws, but I also cut the bottoms off to get them down to 4-year-old cup size, then cut the straw bottoms into small bits to string onto an old shoe lace. This occupied my sick son for a time.
Other: Started up the third tier of my worm compost pile today. I have one tier full of great compost and one tier ready to rest for a while.

I've started sorting through and trying to organize my reuse piles, and to come up with a better system for this so that I don't drive my husband crazy before the end of month 1. My biggest issue is clearly going to be beer and soda bottles, so this will be the first reuse and alternative project I tackle. The main thing I find myself throwing away is plastic wrapping from food and other packaging. Although I am reusing plenty of plastic bagging, I am bringing in more than I can reuse, and much of the plastic isn't suitable for reuse as packaging.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Day 21


  • Mail
  1. - 3. 3 generous offers (a.k.a. junk mail)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. toilet paper roll and paper packaging (reuse)
  2. orange juice carton (reuse)
  3. cheese wrappings (garbage)
  4. sour cream container (reuse)
  5. 2 medication bottles (reuse)(for my poor sick child)
  6. aluminum foil (reuse/garbage)
Other: more cleaning out of my child's room. I used another food can for his crayon stubs, and added some paper bits to the reuse piles. But mostly just hung out on the couch soothing him and his poor running nose and warm body. I can't seem to convince him to use a tissue more than once, so we'll see how he takes it if I ask him to use a handkerchief. He actually preferred a soft cloth over tissues as a baby...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 20


  • Mail
  1. magazine (to read)
  2. bill (filed/reuse pile)
  3. another bill (filed/reuse pile)
  4. yet another bill (filed/reuse pile)
  5. postcard ad (reuse)
  6. another postcard ad (reuse)
  7. subscription offer (reuse)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. 3 spice packets (garbage)
  2. Plastic bag (garbage--"biodegradable" and already reused at least once)
  3. Two cardboard pasta boxes (reuse)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day 19

My collection

  • Mail
  1. A catalogue in plastic wrap (reuse/garbage)
  2. 4 pieces of mail delivered to the wrong address (an ongoing problem)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. jalapeno jar (reuse)
  2. rubber band and twistie tie from radish bunch (reuse)
  3. receipt from grocery store run (reuse)
  4. plastic seal from glass milk bottle (reuse)
  5. plastic seal from rice milk container (reuse)
  6. plastic seal from sour cream container (garbage)
  7. bandaid and bandaid wrapper (garbage)
  8. coffee cup (reuse)
Reuse: I made vegetable stock from scraps today.

Other: Garbage day tomorrow! I have nearly half of a tall kitchen bag full--mostly some food scraps that couldn't fit into or wouldn't be good for my compost bin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 18

New Collection

  • Mail and other papers
  1. 2 bills (filed parts I need, the rest in reuse pile)
  2. 4 junk mail letters/offers (reuse)
  3. my son's art--1 large piece of paper (reuse)
  • Food packaging and other
  1. food can (reuse)
  2. pretzel bag (garbage)
  3. plastic carrot bag (garbage)
  4. 2 vegetable bouillion cube wrappers (garbage)
  5. bandaid (garbage) and bandaid wrapper (reuse)
  6. My husband brought home a few knick-knacks/swag from a business meeting: handheld fan, notebook, pen, paper bag and a bit of packaging. All for use or reuse.

Donated 2 half gallon milk containers to my son's school for an art project today.


Cleaned out a couple of drawers today. Several paper scraps and a few miscellaneous bits went into reuse piles; 5 plastic wrapping scraps and an empty foil pill wrapper (garbage).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Day 17

My collection

  • Mail
  1. 1 magazine (of the type I will read and keep for a while), annoyingly packaged with an ad (reuse) and wrapped in plastic
  2. 1 catalogue (reuse)
  3. Various papers (reuse)--I cleaned my son's room and closet out today, and found multiple little paper scraps, pages from books he has destroyed (by accident, I'm sure), as well as...
  4. Various bits of plastic wrapping (garbage)--also from my son's room. A few tiny pieces of some kind of packaging.
  • Food packaging
  1. 1 food can (reuse)
  2. soda/beer bottles and caps (reuse)

Cleaned a tin can for hold chalk for my son's chalkboard (opened with an opener that leaves a smooth edge, of course)


Researched glass bottle reuse and garbage statistics. Post(s) coming soon on fr(ECO)logism...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Day 16

My growing collection

  • Mail, flyers and other papers
  1. ADVO Shopwise ads (reuse)
  2. bill (files and reuse)
  3. 2 school handouts (reuse)
  4. my son's art: 5 large pieces of paper (reuse)
  • Food packaging
  1. 3 bottles and bottle caps (reuse)
  2. 1 tin can and the can's paper wrap (reuse)
One reuse

My son broke a little knick-knack--a glass square weight with a small metal stick sticking out of it and holding up a two-piece glass magnet. It is meant to hold a picture or paper. I pulled the metal stick out of each glass piece and have repurposed the magnet set as refrigerator magnets. Still looking for a use for the metal stick and the glass square.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day 15

Garbage and reuse pile

  • No mail (Sunday)
  • Food and other packaging
  1. yogurt container (reuse)
  2. 5 soda/beer bottles and lids (reuse)
  3. 2 chip bags (garbage)
  4. toilet roll (reuse)
  5. paper wrap for new toilet roll (reuse)
  6. receipt (from grocery store run)(reuse)

Day 14

List of things acquired, discarded, and placed for reuse today:

  • Mail
  1. bill
  2. credit card offer
  • Food packaging
  1. plastic sour cream seal (garbage)
  2. plastic jar seal (garbage)
  3. bandaid and bandaid wrapper (garbage)
  4. 2 butter wrappers (garbage)
  5. butter box (reuse)
  6. beer box (reuse)
  7. 2 six pack/soda cardboard carrier (reuse)
  8. 12 beer/soda bottles and caps (reuse)
  9. tea packet (reuse)
  10. flour bag (reuse)
  11. olive jar (reuse)
  12. peanut jar (reuse)
  13. sour cream container (reuse)
  14. 4 plastic produce/bulk bags (reuse)
  • Other
  1. receipt (from grocery store)(reuse)
Things I reused today: 4 plastic produce/bulk bags. Also, I went to the grocery store, carried the groceries in my own canvas bag, and avoided using produce bags when possible. The store I went to uses biodegradable plastic bags for produce bags, but I am still trying to minimize and reuse these.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 13

Things I put into the garbage or reuse containers today:

  • Mail
  1. 2 magazines. It is a weekly magazine, but for some reason I got to issues today. I plan to read them and then put them in the paper reuse pile.
  2. 1 weird kids language course product magazine/offer. There is a phone number in it, so I will put that on my list of people to call next week, and put the magazine itself in paper reuse pile.
  • My son's art: four large pieces of paper, one small piece, to be placed in the paper pile to use again for the reverse sides. I worked at my son's preschool this afternoon, and one of the other parents asked if I wanted to take home a painting that was just barely a line, and about the fifth painting of the day. I said no, then realized that if I took it home I would reuse it, whereas if I left it there it would be stuffed in the recycling bin. Too late, though. On the positive side, I was told one of the morning teachers is collecting half gallon milk containers for an art project. I have two or three I will be able to take in next week.
  • Food packaging: a tea packet (reuse pile), a really disgusting piece of candy in its wrapper that my son found god knows where and brought to me (garbage), a candy bag, beer bottles (reuse) and lids (reuse).
  • Other: a cd The Destroyer (a.k.a. my four-year-old) broke (reuse), more dryer lint (dryer lint pile)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 12

Things that I put in the garbage or reuse piles today:

  • Mail. All pieces I don't need to keep for my records went into paper reuse pile.
  1. A credit card offer
  2. A bill
  3. A postcard verifying that I removed my name from ADVO's mailing list. The postcard gives the details of my "delete status", which is effective for five years, then warns: "Please note that by removing your address you won't receive valuable ShopWise coupons and sale information from area grocery stores and retailers." Yes, that's the idea. I may keep this one for my album rather than putting it in the paper pile.
  • My son's art: 4 large pieces of paper with paint on one side that we will reuse for more art. 1 small piece of paper that is already used on both sides, put into paper pile. 1 sour cream container lid with sequins glued on it. Hmmm. For now, this is sitting on the end table.
  • Food packaging, etc.: 2 pasta boxes (to reuse pile), 2 spice packets (garbage), that little plastic seal ring from the milk container (reuse, I guess), a tea packet (reuse?--tea bag went into the compost pile), butter wrapper (garbage), coffee cup (garbage--from a day trip a few days ago), 2 chip bags (garbage), yogurt foil seal lid (garbage), beer bottles (reuse), 2 paper grocery bags (reuse).
  • Other: some dryer lint (!) (into dryer lint container, i.e., a reused tissue box).
Other things I/we did today: My husband went to the grocery store and took a canvas bag, though also needed two paper bags (mentioned above). He took back a few glass milk bottles. Our local dairy rocks.

A note: This is the first day that I have posted on this blog, although the project began on January 7. I will be backdating posts from previous days--until now I have been jotting things down in my notebook each day. I'll capture the first days of the project as well as I can.

I am still adjusting to this, and working out the logistics of this plan. When do I write things down, for example? When they come into my home, or at the moment I would otherwise be throwing them into the garbage or recycling? For now, I have decided to make a note of mail and other papers, along with any gifts, magazines, and anything else I plan to keep for some period of time on the day they enter my place. Most food packaging and other consumable packaging (e.g., shampoo bottles) I will log on the day I would have thrown them away or recycled them. Similarly, things like toilet paper, tissues, etc., I will log when the roll or box is empty rather than one square or tissue at a time. I will see how that works. Maybe it will be better to log things I am planning to reuse less than daily. This is more difficult that I thought it would be. Try logging everything you put in the garbage for a few days and you will see what I mean.

I wish you all blissful garbage disposal...

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day 1: A seed is planted

Sunday, January 7, 2007. I'm something of a procrastinator, and I'm just now getting around to pulling together a few New Year's resolutions. This year, I am focusing on the renewal of my pledge to The Compact, considering how compacting fits into my life and my family's life, and adding a few resolutions on top of not buying new things for the year. One of the things that led me to join the Compact in July 2006, and that my involvement in the group's email list has continued to inspire, is my desire to be more mindful of the impact of my life and lifestyle on other people and on the planet. I am reminded each day to be thoughtful about even the smallest choices--from what I do with an empty jar to how much soap I squeeze into the dishwater.

I am particularly impressed by the volume of the little things coming into my home with the groceries and the mail and leaving my home in the garbage and recycling bins. I've been gradually finding myself hanging onto potentially useful bits and pieces I might once have gotten rid of. With this in mind, I write the following, which you will find buried near the end of my resolutions:

I'll continue my ongoing attempts to reduce the amount of garbage I have through recycling and reuse. My goal is to compost more, and to reuse at least once things that I might have otherwise thrown away or recycled. If I can't reuse it myself, I'll collect and freecycle.
This is how the fr(ECO)logy project begins. At the moment I have no real concept of the magnitude of this resolution. Then, on January 8, I bring the mail in, and it hits me...

Written January 29, 2007, and adapted from my journal entries from the first days of the project.