Monthly Jars

January's Trash Jar

One of the biggest things I come back to whenever I talk to people about living sustainably is progress over perfection. I'm back again posting a monthly trash post nearly a full month late and have to remind myself of this mantra - every little bit of effort and awareness of one's impact on the Earth is helpful and despite being late to post this summary of the landfill trash I made this month, I am very proud of the progress I've made!

Fair warning - typically I organize my trash by common objects i.e. receipts, tags, produce stickers etc. However, it seems that when I took my photos for this month I was a bit scattered and not as efficient - the numbering ends up making it look like more items then normal even though I think I made slightly less trash than previous months! I'll just be over here repeating my progress over perfection mantra ;) ...

Biggest win? Even with a few out of the ordinary items (*cough* ceramic giraffe ring holder and a Jelly Belly wrapper *cough*), I seem to be producing the same, if not a little bit less, trash each month

Biggest lesson? Rubbery produce labels are very wasteful and not recyclable; I try to buy produce with plain elastic bands that can be re-purposed and am hoping to find out if the labels pictured under #5 can be somehow returned to the supplier for reuse...

1 | Giraffe Ring Holder

This is the trash jar resident I am perhaps most bummed about! This beautiful giraffe ring holder was given to me by one of my best friends for my birthday several years ago and met it's demise by way of cat antics - Tiger was exploring one of the bedside tables and knocked it off. I tried to repair it, but several small pieces of ceramic had shattered off, meaning that the parts don't fit together as well anymore. I may try and re-purpose it into something cool and artsy, but for now it lives in the jar.

2 | T-Shirt Tag

As supportive as my family was of my sustainable lifestyle over the holidays, I did receive a new t-shirt that had clothing tags on it that aren't recyclable. I did my best to recycle the paper parts of the tags, but the rest ended up in the jar.

3 | Bulk Barn Receipt

As thrilled as I am that Bulk Barn is so supportive of the zero waste movement with the launch of their Reusable Container Program, I do wish that they would stop using thermal paper and either have completely recyclable receipts or change their machine settings to never print a receipt for the customer unless asked.

4 | Clothing & Gift Tags

As I mentioned for #2, some of the new gifts I received over the holidays had labels or tags that were not completely recyclable.

5 | Produce Labels

While making an effort to eat more greens in January, I ended up collecting more of these rubber-based produce bands. I hope to find a way to return them to the supplier in the future, but for now they stay in the trash jar.

6 | Plastic tape

Some tape came on an envelope - I recycled the envelope but the tape is not recyclable.

7 | Leftover Fabric

While I was cleaning out my desk drawer one weekend, I found this scrap fabric leftover from cutting up an old dress into reusable tissues for the bathroom (super easy to do, just make sure you cut squares or rectangles that are large enough to use like a typical disposable tissue and then wash after use).

8 | Black Plastic Cap

I recycled the glass dropper jar that housed the Argan oil that I use to wash my face in the evenings. However, the plastic lid from the bottle is not recyclable because it is black plastic (not recyclable in City of Toronto facilities).

9 | Jelly Belly Packaging

My boyfriend, Matt, and I got a wonderful holiday care package from his Mom and I couldn't help going after the Jelly Bellys - it was too tempting!

10 | Lint Roller Papers

I think I am getting a little bit better at using the reusable lint roller, but I still often end up using the more wasteful lint roller out of convenience. This is definitely an area that I would like to work on.

11 | Pill Packet

Still hoping to figure out a way to recycle these...

12 | Printer Cartridge Package

While HP has a recycling program for their printer cartridges, unfortunately the foil-based packaging that the cartridge comes in does not.

13 | Thermal Receipts

Unfortunately, some receipts are unavoidable. To quickly test if a receipt is recyclable, swipe a nail or coin across the page - the friction will produce dark spots on the receipt if it is thermal paper, meaning it is not recyclable.

14 | Produce Stickers

I managed to avoid more produce stickers this week by being really adamant about sorting through the produce that happened to lose their stickers while on display at the store!


And that's it for January! Stay tuned for more Monthly Jar posts coming soon!