Today, I am presenting my family’s trash for 2016 (October 2015-October 2016).
As mentioned in my last trash tally post, I expected to end the year with a bigger jar than the previous one. When I wrote that post, I had just broken our tape measure. I had taken it apart and recycled the metals parts, but I was left with a large 2”x1” bit: a hard plastic casing containing a metal spring, that I could not opened (and yes, I did try pounding it with a hammer). I am careful about buying things that are made with materials that can be dismantled to facilitate repair and (at the end of their life cycle) recycling. But the mechanism of this tape measure was so well bound that I had relinquished to putting the whole thing in our landfill jar. It sat in it all year, until I decided to take a tally for this post.
I emptied the jar on the white towel, the mechanism rolled out of it with a “stomp”. Leo just happened to be walking by, and out curiosity, I asked if he had a suggestion for taking it apart. “This?”, he asked. Before we could even discuss options, he grabbed it, threw it on the concrete, the whole thing came apart, the casing split in half, releasing the spring in the air. Leo is 15 now, and has become much stronger than I am but you should have seen the surprise on his face when the spring went off -a bit a jack clown popping out of box)- I only wish I had had time to videotape it
So, our trash for 2016 fits in pint size jar for the second year in a row! And you can feel lucky you don’t get to take a whiff of it: this is the stinkiest one so far!
Here is a rundown of my family’s household waste in 2016, clockwise:
Kitchen: produce stickers (lots of them this year! since I traveled a lot on Fridays I missed quite a few Farmers’ market days), plastic labels from cheese wheels, 3 bubble gums, the plastic wrapper of a cookie (given to the boys?), ripped jar gasket.
House repair: Dried paint and bits of tape from my latest mural (I reuse painter’s tape until it no longer sticks, more on that here), old silicone caulk and toilet paper used to wipe my mess, bits of paint, electrical tape, white piece of duct tape (brought in stuck on someone’s shoe from the outside), bits of electrical wire, broken spray from my spray bottle, the broken antenna of our solar converter.
Shipping: Bits from different shipments received, incl. a dryer sheet that an eBayer sent to add scent to her shipment (!?), 5 silica gel packets (a record! and yes, even when you buy secondhand, you get them), the strip from the cardboard envelope used to send me a toothbrush sample.
Kids: A taped school cover, an empty pen refill, a cheap freebie (remember Max’s airplane? Leo did the same with a yellow sticky ball toy at the same age!), a piece of foam from one of Max’s computer parts (he built his own this year).
Bathroom: A medicinal packet given to Scott by his doctor, contact lenses stickers, a Band-Aid (we don’t buy them, but Max wiped out at a biking event and was treated with one), the bristles of wornout bamboo toothbrushes (contrary to manufacturer’s claims, they are not compostable), the plastic labels of my SPF tinted moisturizer (I sent three back to them), the broken spoolie of my mascara wand, a broken hair tie.
Hobbies: A deflated balloon that landed on our property (so unfair), the holiday card from un-reachable long lost friends (but I finally got hold of him on Twitter!), pieces of bike repairs and seat post label.
Wardrobe: Clothing labels (I can’t stand them, they’re so itchy!)
Misc: Tags and warning labels of all sorts.
We’ve already taken steps to make sure that some of these do not land in next year’s jar. I thought about replacing our broken tape measure with a secondhand one. Instead, I opted for one that supposedly comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty, so I would not be stuck with the same conundrum as I did this past year. The store said they would replace it no matter what, but I just read something different on their site, so I won’t vouch for them until I actually put their warranty to the test. But hopefully I’ll never have to!