Sunday, January 2, 2011

My 2011 Minimalist Resolutions

For 2011, The Minimalist is going to minimize even more (never saw that coming, did you?) Inspired by Béa over at Zero Waste Home, I'm going to see if I can bring the garbage cans to the curb once a month, rather than once every other week.

We already consume less than the average American, and thus have less waste. We put the trash out every third week, but the recycling still needs to go out ever two weeks. Last year I didn't worry too much about this, after all, it's recycled, right?

Well, most of it probably isn't recycled. It's just landfilled like everything else. I don't think it's practical or even possible to be zero waste, but I do think it's possible to lower my footprint even more, and reduce expenditures at the same time. A few things I'll try or ramp up:

1) Buy in bulk, either at Whole Foods or Sprouts or the Farmers Market or Milk Pail. This is cheaper anyway, but sometimes less convenient.

2) Bring my own bags (not just reuse old TJ bags, but use my own cloth bags that hold more stuff and need to be replaced very very rarely).

3) Buy less stuff with packaging. This will make TJs runs difficult, but they do have loose items, and when I do buy loose items, I'll try to make sure that the entire package can at least go into the recycling.

4) Buy local. No shipping means no box full of non-recyclable packing foam.

5) See if there are more options like Stauss Milk. I can return the bottles for a bottle deposit, and they get re-used.

6) Buy less stuff. This is the best way to go! Since I'm already signed up with Mint, I can check in with my expenses periodically and see if my spending is going down.

The point of this is to focus on the two somewhat harder aspects of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The last one is brainless, just sort out the recycling (not part of the foreplay, but still very important). The first ones ask for a bit more brain power. For instance, I used scrap wood to build my bird nets for our garden beds, which was good on my wallet, too.

Of course, now I that I've said all this, I've already had to go off and order a package through the post. My stove broke and needs a new ignition. That's already a piece of metal recycling as well as a bunch of cardboard for the paper bin as well as probably some plastic trash. But the year is young. I'll log how often I put my bins on the curb, and see if I can lower my footprint.


  1. Milk Pail gives me claustrophobia. Do you have a recommendation for a good way to compost without too much work? Our garbage could be cut down with composting but I don't know anything about it!

  2. I feel claustrophobic there as well. Composting might have to be its own post, and I'll have to get better at it in the mean time :-)

  3. Hey Ada! Most cities offer free composting classes on a monthly/quarterly basis. Check out your City's website.

  4. this is true, i took the composting class through the city of sunnyvale and got a discounted bin. we love it. i had a thought though... i used to buy strauss milk (or a similar one) and then i started wondering if it really was the better choice? those bottles add a lot of weight to the product and they have to be shipped twice (first it comes to the store where you buy it, then it has to go back empty to strauss). it doesn't seem like that would be less impactful (is that a word? :P) but i only thought briefly about it. thanks for making us think about these things! i really need to visit more often!