We are on week 3 already! In this post, I share our waste results from the past week, AND, I walk through the super simple 3-step method we use in case you want to start your own challenge or follow along with us as we do ours.
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In case you are new or need a refresher, here is a quick review of the past couple of weeks.
Week 1 – I talked about how our family was selected to participate in an 8-month long zero waste challenge, and go over the details of the challenge.
Week 2 – was our very first weigh in, and I shared statistics on how much waste Americans produce each day.
Today we start our third week on the challenge, and here are our results:
We expected our trash count to be a little less this week for a couple of reasons:
- We ended up being out a lot so we weren’t home to produce as much trash/recycling
- We ended up eating a LOT of take-out. So even though we weren’t making dinner as much, we produced a lot of trash in the sense that take-out produces SO. MUCH. WASTE.
- During week 1 we did a major clean of our fridge and freezer, therefore producing a lot more waste and recycling than normal.
This past weekend, I hopped onto Facebook Live and gave a quick 2.5-minute demo on the method we use to weigh our trash. I thought there may be others out there who fall into one of three camps:
- those who would like to start their own zero waste challenge on their own time
- those who want to simply become more aware of how much trash they produce
- those who would like to do the challenge with us
Here are 3 simple steps to start your own zero waste challenge:
- Get a scale: to start weighing your trash/recycling and other waste, you need some sort of scale (obviously!). Our local county sent us the one pictured above, but you can find them on Amazon fairly cheap. It is helpful to have the ‘hook’since most trash/recycling bags have handles on them. The one linked below was the closest one I could find to the one we are using:
Digital scale – up to 110lbs
- Get Weighing – before you throw your waste out, remember to weigh it. Sounds pretty obvious, but it was more difficult to remember then I thought it would be. We had to put a sign up to remind ourselves the first week. If your scale has multiple measuring units to choose from, select the one that makes the most sense to you. We set ours to pounds, put the waste/recycling bag handles on the scale hook (remember how I said to get one with a hook), and hold the scale from the top handle until the screen reads ‘hold’. That is your weight!
- Record – find a way to easily record your data. We use a google doc spreadsheet because we can easily access it from anywhere. Do whatever makes the most sense to you whether that is post-its, a journal, or a notebook.
Beginner’s tip: Before we started weighing, we completed a trash audit (it took about 5-10 minutes) so we could get a better idea of what type of trash we were throwing away the most. The audit really helped us determine how to move forward reducing our trash.
Check out my post here which includes a free, printable trash audit worksheet, and also has 12 resources you can implement in 5 minutes or less to reduce your trash.
***Note – on our scale we have to hit ‘reset’ after each weight. Make sure to follow the instructions on your scale to ensure you are getting accurate readings.
That is it!
As part of the challenge we are in, we are weighing everything for four weeks straight so we can get a good sense of our trash patterns (we are currently starting our third week). In a couple of weeks, we will meet with the challenge coordinators and talk about what our next steps will be to start reducing our numbers.
If you are thinking of doing your own challenge, feel free to do it along with us and let me know if you start! If I get enough interest I can start a Facebook group to chat about our journey and support each other along the way.
Otherwise, start weighing your waste for a set amount of weeks to get an idea of your waste patterns. After the set amount of time, research a couple of ways you can start reducing your waste. There are tons of articles on Pinterest talking about going ‘zero-waste’ as a starting point.
Implement and continue reducing, weighing and tracking (we will be doing this part of the challenge for six months). After that set amount of time is up, weigh your waste for the same amount of time you did at the beginning, and then compare how much you’ve reduced your waste!