Bob and Camille had been participating
in a Zero Waste Challenge instigated by Shaun Stenshol,
president of Maui Recycling Service. We had been
talking about a Plastic Free Month and I
thought, Why not take it a step further and aim for a
Waste-Free month? Shaun explained. Both households
were already composting all their food waste and recycling
most of their other trash. Read the whole story below:
Bob and Camille with their 4 pounds of trash (in front) and 86 pounds of recyclables from April. Shaun Stenshol, Zero Waste Challenge winner with his tiny, one-pound bag of trash in front and 99 pounds of recyclables. (Although for two people to have almost as little trash/recyclables as one person is actually more impressive! pm)
The Armantrouts had been participating in a Zero Waste Challenge instigated by Shaun Stenshol, president of Maui Recycling Service. We had been talking about a Plastic Free Month and I thought, Why not take it a step further and aim for a Waste-Free month? Shaun explained. Both households were already composting all their food waste and recycling most of their other trash.
Zero Waste really means Zero Landfill. According to the Grass Roots Recycling Network, Zero Waste maximizes recycling, minimizes waste, reduces consumption and ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace. Shaun, Bob and Camille would love to see Maui join Australia, New Zealand, and Toronto in their commitment to achieving Zero Waste.
Bob stressed the importance of sustainability. The goal of this experiment was to produce new practices for both households as opposed to winning the challenge one month for the smallest amount of trash. They couldn't cheat by eating out because they had agreed to bring home all disposable containers from outside meals. The changes they made this month would have to be changes they could sustain over time. Suppressing consumption for one month would have been wrong because it would have caught up with them in another month.
Thats why Bob went ahead and bought a new scanner in April. I thought about waiting until after the challenge, but decided to go ahead and get it. He said. When he got the scanner home, Bob discovered that it was packaged with two blocks of Styrofoam which could not be recycled or composted. This Styrofoam doubled their contribution to the landfill. Bob plans to contact Hewlett Packard and encourage them to use recyclable packaging in the future.
At the end of the month, the Armantrouts had generated 86 pounds or 7.4 cubic feet of waste that couldnt be composted. Imagine if we had to bury this in our front yard every month! Said Camille. Fortunately, they will be able to recycle all but 4 of those 86 pounds. Four pounds for two people sounds pretty good, but Shaun won the challenge. His total came to 100 pounds, but only 1 pound of that will end up in the landfill. He recycled 99% compared to our 95.4% of total generated waste stream by weight. These figures would be much different if both households hadnt composted all food waste and paper products.
This exercise allowed them to pinpoint stress points in their personal waste disposal system. The big offenders were beer bottles and non-recyclable plastic. Even though the beer bottles are recyclable they constituted 35% of our waste stream by weight. Camille explained, Nearly all of what we sent to the landfill was non-recyclable plastic such as dairy containers and Styrofoam.
Above written by: Camille Armantrout, friend and recycler extraordinaire...
Challenge a friend, or just by yourself...
Keep track of what you get rid
What can you do without?
Let us know what you find out...