Days 365+48c Week 3 wastePerhaps it is wishful thinking but I do believe that we created less waste this second week of Lent than we did the first week. This may be due to us learning more about what we can recycle, the fact that Jim was away for 3 days, or maybe we’re just wasting less. My photo marks the level of unrecyclable garbage from Week 1. The clear jar with the red lid shows what I collected during Week 2. It may look the same but I didn’t have to squish the garbage down this week to put the lid on. (The red ruler is there to give perspective.)

Several ways that trying to Waste-Less impacted my life this week were:

  1. Pizza: I knew that a pizza box could be recycled with paper as long as it didn’t have food residue on it. While Jim was away, my son and I went out for pizza one night. There was one piece of pizza left so I asked for a box. I carefully put the slice on the wax paper liner in the box and cautiously drove home so as not to jostle it. SUCCESS. I got home and nary a smudge was on the box so I put it in recycling guilt free. The more I’m becoming conscious of pre-cycling, however, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t even have needed the box if I had just consumed the last piece at the restaurant. Oh dear, I think I’m over-thinking this stuff.
  2. Days 365+48c BoraxDryer sheets: Today was laundry day. I was about to toss a fabric softener sheet into the dryer with the first load when I remembered they are not recyclable, terracyclable, or compostable. The sheets are so thin I knew that it wouldn’t raise the level of my garbage container, but I decided this was an opportunity for research. I googled alternatives and found out about Borax, white vinegar, magic balls, and tennis balls. I decided to do an experiment.
  • Load #1 was my control: I used no fabric softener in the washer or dryer. Result: worked just fine for cotton underwear. No static and clothes were soft.
  • Load #2: I added ½ cup Borax to the rinse cycle. (This was because I didn’t find this trick till the washer was just starting the rinse cycle. Result: worked fine on my colored wash (mostly cotton) but some synthetic socks had a lot of static and Jim’s 100% cotton slacks would need ironing if I were picky. (The Borax did get a stubborn stain out that my detergent wouldn’t touch.)
  • Load #3: I put the ½ cup Borax in the beginning of the wash with my detergent. This was a permanent press load of delicate synthetics. Result: lots of static cling – I presume because of the different fabric.
  • Load #4: I used no Borax but put two tennis balls in the dryer. (This is supposed to help soften the clothes and prevent static cling. Result: the balls made some noise and may have reduced the wrinkles on the cotton slacks slightly but not quite enough. (Jim said that even with the dryer sheets he has to iron these slacks.)
  • Conclusion: I can probably just skip the dryer sheets except when doing a load having a lot of synthetic fabrics. PS: When washing sheets I hang them outside on the line to dry. So there –  you purists who were about to criticize me for using the dryer at all!
  1. Facial tissue: I learned that technically used facial tissue is compostable but you might want to consider what gunk you used it to clean and whether you want that in your compost. I’m going to start carrying a handkerchief. Clean facial tissue is recyclable, but if it’s clean why are you not using it?