My Zero Waste

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the environment. The best way to reduce Community Gardengarbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits. The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

Source: Environmental Forum of Marin

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox). DON’T use  throw-away bags.
  • Use REUSABLE containers (preferably ceramic or glass). DON’T use plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. DON’T use single-use cartons or cans.
  • Use a CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use. DON’T use paper napkins.
  • Use SILVERWARE to wash and re-use. DON’T use plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you’ll eat.

Source: Global Stewards

Lunch Waste Facts

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years (try composting!).
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles EVERY HOUR.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:Zero Waste Week

My Zero Waste
My Zero Waste is dedicated to making the world a cleaner place. The overall purpose of the site is to help households reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill. They show on a daily basis HOW they are reducing their own landfill waste by highlighting the pitfalls and sharing their mistakes and successes.

Zero Waste Week started yesterday, September 2nd and goes through to the 8th. Visit http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/ to find out more and pledge to reduce your landfill waste and save money at the same time!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the environment. The best way to reduce Little Greek Goddess Drinking Her "Coffee"garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits.The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

Source: Environmental Forum of Marin

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox). DON’T use  throw-away bags.
  • Use REUSABLE containers (preferably ceramic or glass). DON’T use plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. DON’T use single-use cartons or cans.
  • Use a CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use. DON’T use paper napkins.
  • Use SILVERWARE to wash and re-use. DON’T use plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you’ll eat.

Source: Global Stewards

Lunch Waste Facts

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years. Compost that food waste instead of throwing it away.
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

My Zero Waste
My Zero Waste is dedicated to making the world a cleaner place. The overall purpose of the site is to help households reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill. We show on a daily basis HOW we are reducing our own landfill waste by highlighting the pitfalls and sharing their mistakes and successes.

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And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”~from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

GREEN TIP: Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra ton of garbage per week. Give the planet a gift, take control of your waste this year.

The Use Less Stuff Report offers a checklist of simple things you can do to reduce waste while you eat, drink, and make merry this holiday season. Here are a few:

  • Turn down the heat before your holiday guests arrive. You’ll save energy while the extra body heat of your guests will warm up the room.
  • After your holiday parties, don’t throw away the leftovers. Put them in containers and send them home with guests.

At least 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year – or over 100 pounds per person. Putting one less cookie on Santa’s plate will reduce his snacking by about 2 million pounds.

  • During the nation’s busiest shopping season, bring your own shopping bags.
  • Consolidate your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store on your shopping rounds.

If each household canceled 10 mail-order catalogues it would reduce trash by 3.5 pounds per year. If everybody did this, the stack of canceled catalogues would be 2,000 miles high.

  • Plan your shopping in advance. Consolidating your shopping trips saves fuel.
  • Rather than piling up “stuff” under the tree, think about what friends and family really want or need. Try giving gift certificates if you don’t know what someone wants, or simply make a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity.
  • Give gifts that encourage others to use less stuff, like a book about making crafts from reusable items, a cookbook for leftovers, a reusable tote bag and so on.
  • For kids, start a savings account or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
  • Donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts that the kids have outgrown, to charity.
  • When buying electronic toys and other portable items that are used regularly, remember to buy rechargeable batteries to go with them.
  • Make new tree ornaments out of things you already have around the house, or from materials you might find in the backyard: twigs, bark, flowers and herbs, pine cones and so on.
  • Old clothes and jewelry make a great dress-up box for kids.
  • Tools and gadgets make a great idea box for a young inventor.
  • Give the gift of an experience: tickets to concerts, tickets to a museum, tickets to a sporting event, gift certificates or even gifts of your own time.
  • Tie a bow around oversized gifts like bicycles or CD racks, instead of wrapping them in paper.
  • Wrap gifts in old maps, newspapers, Sunday comics or fancy holiday gift bags. Kids’ art work is a perfect wrapping for presents to proud grandparents.
  • Use brown paper grocery bags to wrap small-to-medium size boxes that have to be mailed.

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

  • Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables and their peels, pits and seeds are all perfect for composting – a great natural fertilizer.

Source: Use Less Stuff

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Saving Naturally
An awesome site that aspires to help all of us live healthy and sustainable lives while living within a budget. Their daily posts are filled with deals on bulk groceries and natural living products, coupons relevant to a whole foods diet, frugal living tips, and all other manner of bargains that fit with your healthy and organic lifestyle.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the 

environment. The best way to reduce garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits. The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

Source: Environmental Forum of Marin

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox). DON’T use  throw-away bags.
  • Use REUSABLE containers (preferably ceramic or glass). DON’T use plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. DON’T use single-use cartons or cans.
  • Use a CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use. DON’T use paper napkins.
  • Use SILVERWARE to wash and re-use. DON’T use plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you’ll eat.

Source: Global Stewards

Lunch Waste Facts

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years (try composting!).
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles EVERY HOUR.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

My Zero Waste
My Zero Waste is dedicated to making the world a cleaner place. The overall purpose of the site is to help households reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill. We show on a daily basis HOW we are reducing our own landfill waste by highlighting the pitfalls and sharing their mistakes and successes.

Read wonderful articles like How To Reduce Food Waste and find out about the third annual National Zero Waste Week, September 6th – 12th 2010.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Rachelle Strauss is a writer living in the UK with her husband, daughterRachelle Strauss and assorted four legged friends. Rachelle writes about environmental issues for a number of national and international magazines and is the author of two books.

During 2008, Rachelle and her family created My Zero Waste, which chronicles their journey towards reducing their landfill waste. They invite readers to join them as they endeavor to show how to reduce waste by making better consumer choices, choosing products with recyclable packaging, creative reuse of items and composting.

The environment needs to be saved, and together we can do it. ~Rachelle Strauss

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

I think the most important thing we do is to separate our needs from our wants where possible. BEFORE purchasing anything, we look at its end life and what will happen to it. We also ‘make do and mend’; salvaging things from unwanted materials for future reuse and ask ourselves if we really need something or whether we are being swayed by society / advertising. Subsequently we create less than 100gms per week of landfill waste.

In addition, we try and be respectful to the earth and to one another. We try not to be greedy or take more than we need. I’m not saying we achieve it, but having an awareness of this helps us to make better choices. I remember one of my own favourite mantras which is ‘co-operation is better than competition’ whenever I go about my day.

Then there are basic ‘green’ things we do like making our own toiletries and home cleaning products; or using eco friendly ones, eating local and organic food where possible, buying clothes from charity shops, switching things off standby and my husband is currently making LED light bulbs to run off a solar panel, which is really exciting!

You comment on your site that for years you, like many other households, have been throwing away one or two bins worth every week of rubbish, but in recent years you’ve become more aware of the impact this is having on our environment, wildlife and our health. What facilitated this awareness?

There are four main things that pulled together to facilitate this awareness.

First, giving birth to a child changed my perspective on life. No longer was it just about me; it became about the health, safety and future of my daughter and her children.

Second, we were involved in the flash flooding at Boscastle. Seeing people’s livelihoods washed out to see was devastating and had a profound impact on me. I realised the fragility of the things we deem as ‘important’ in our lives – namely, the acquisition of ‘stuff’ – and how it can be taken away in an instant. It puts into perspective the things that really matter. No one lost their life and that was the most crucial thing.

This event also bought it home to me that climate change might just be real and we have to do something about it.

Third, I was inspired by other people doing great things to reduce their waste such as Mrs Average over at the Rubbish Diet.

Finally, we read a piece about the effects of plastic on marine life. From that moment my husband declared ‘no more carrier bags’ and we were off on our zero waste journey!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your journey towards zero waste?

Maintaining a positive state of mind. It’s very hard when you feel you are swimming upstream. It’s very challenging when you are doing your bit and you look at the amount of stuff manufacturers are throwing into landfill. It’s difficult when checkout staff start packing your things into carrier bags without even thinking about what they are doing.

However, we have some wonderful support through our site and we believe that everyone doing their small bit adds up to significant change. We also believe that positive change is gathering momentum and more and more people are becoming aware of the impact they have on the environment.

95% of the time this holds true for me and I’m an optimist. But the other 5% when I’m having a bad day; is pretty tough going!

What has been the most gratifying part of your journey towards zero waste?

I think it has been the amazing amount of support and encouragement from our readers. These people, who were once strangers and have rapidly become friends, know how to reach out and make such a difference to me.

The beautiful thing is, I don’t expect one of them realises how much they have an impact on the things I do in my day to day life. I feel very blessed.

Also, knowing that our daughter is growing up with such an awareness is very humbling. This week she went out to pick litter from our road. In shops she’ll pick up things with more packaging than product to show me. She is making conscious choices, even as a young child and I’m so proud of her.

For more information about My Zero Waste visit their website. It is full of great information, here is an example: Reuse plastic bottles for slug collars (video)

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: When grilling during the summer (or any time) WDAY Green Tipsensure that you are doing everything you can to green your BBQ!

According to Greenzer.com, on the Fourth of July alone, an estimated 60 million barbecues light up nationwide, consuming enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year. And this number doesn’t even take into account the waste of paper, plastic, and food that goes into barbecuing.

Here are Greenzer.com’s Top 5 Green Tips for Green Grilling

1. Green your grill
Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.

2. Avoid toxic materials
Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release VOCs into the air.

3. Stay size appropriate
Be sure your grill fits your needs—the larger the grill, the longer it takes to heat and the more energy it expends. When stocking up on supplies, be sure to know how much you need. Confirm how many people you are catering for in advance so you avoid wasting food.

4. Set an eco-friendly table
If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware. Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a vegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers.

5. Keep it green when you clean
Keep your grill in top condition by scrubbing it down after use with an all-natural grill cleaner. If you serve bottled or canned refreshments, be sure to have recycling bins on hand. Have leftovers? Box them up in glass or stainless steel food storage containers.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

My Zero Waste
A wonderful site which encourages you to participate, share, learn and help the environment stay beautiful.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am every Wednesday at WDAY.com. UPDATE: Starting fall 2010, the segment will be moved to 1220pm (central).

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