The mason jar of trash (typically the trash produced in 1-2 years time) has become the unofficial icon of the zero waste movement.
I have heard some critique over it, including the jibe that it’s just a cry for attention. Firstly, if the attention is paid to the cause (any cause) and not the individual, then it is a good thing. It’s educational.
But, I still was a bit hesitant to adopt the jar none-the-less. For this challenge, I have started one. I hope to get through the challenge with just one jar! (So far, it isn’t looking good. 😦 ).
The Rules for Keeping This Jar:
– just the waste I produce or contribute to (not my family’s waste, we’ll get there)
– I will try to keep extending the time it takes to fill the jar
What’s in there and what I learned:
1 – organic sweet potato packaging : I’ve already started to buy package-free produce, this is waste from the past that I finished today. I hate how organic produce is almost always wrapped in plastic where I live!
2 – brown rice bag : I am still trying to figure out where I can go to buy from bulk, but this is a great candidate.
3 – teechino bag top : trying to quit coffee for personal reasons so, hopefully, this waste isn’t reoccurring.
4 – produce stickers from bananas and avocado : fruits I won’t be getting from my garden or farmers market so this may end up being a necessary evil.
5 – dental floss : I get Eco-Dent dental floss which cuts down a bit on waste (not a lot, unfortunately) and is vegan but is made from non-compostable nylon.
So, in 24 hours, the jar has helped to highlight some changes I need to look into (buying rice from bulk and searching for the perfect dental floss). I would say that it is useful and I hope it takes me a lot of time to fill.
How About You?
Do you jar your trash? Are there other benefits to the jar that I missed? And has anyone found a vegan dental floss that is low waste? Let me know in the comments below!
A Year Later…
The jar I described above was filled before the end of the challenge. Honestly, I didn’t know how little I knew and I was a tad optimistic by introducing the jar so early.
The kitchen and office are areas that produce the bulk of the downstairs waste. I really need to tackle these areas before I can begin to think about introducing the mason jar. A lot of our habits need to be overhauled.
I now feel as though I can introduce the mason jar trash can to the upstairs bathroom. This is one area in my life that I’ve really revamped and I’m quickly getting to a point where the waste is limited. The waste I do produce will come in small quantities so finding alternatives will be a lot less overwhelming. Today, I’ll be starting one for this area of the house (all the upstairs and the bathroom).
- all recyclable items will go instead to the recycling bin I have in the bathroom (this includes plastic that we can recycle in my area)
- all compostable items will go in the compost bin I have in the bathroom (toilet paper tissue can go in the compost or in the toilet)
- all non-recyclable and non-compostable trash, no matter who produces it, will go in the jar with one exception.
- exception: we will use up our current stash of disposable diapers and then remove the waste basket from the bathroom. This means I will have to buy 3 pocket diapers for my eldest for night time (he is otherwise potty trained). We will thereafter continue with cloth diapering.
Until next time, keep that talk walking!