Kitchen towels
The CSA box

What’s Going Right


I’ve decided to take a little break from documenting my weekly trash.  Partly because collecting it all can be tricky logistically and I sorta screwed it up this week but also partly because I’m just tired of taking pics of trash.  Moral of that story is that yes, I’m still creating about the same amount of trash but it’s a different reason each week.  If I do a good job with receipts then it’s a bunch of stuff I got in the mail that needs to be thrown out and if it isn’t mail it’s single use stuff that I ended up using because I was caught out in the world without my reusable mess kit.  Each week does teach me a new lesson and I’m definitely grateful for all the lessons.  However, I’m very much looking forward to the week where there are more wins than lessons.


This week I wanted to focus on some of the things I’m doing right.  I have talked about them in some of my posts but I wanted to round up all of the things I am already doing that are working and share them with you because it’s also important to share the wins.  When I was taking a picture of my trash a couple weeks ago my roommate was amazed that that was “All the trash I made in one week!?”  She was impressed but she also doesn’t have the goal of fitting all of her annual trash into a mason jar pinned in her head.  It reminded me that while there’s still a ways for me to go, I’m doing a lot and I get to pat myself on the back for a second for my efforts.  So here goes:


Compost Bin

Compost Bin - What's Going Right

This is not mine, it’s my roommate’s, but we all use it in the kitchen and it keeps so much stuff out of the trash can.  I’m lucky in that Los Angeles has a composting program so we can put our veggie scraps in the correct bin and it gets turned into mulch.  I do have a goal of creating my own composting pile some day but, for now, I’ll leave it to the experts.  We keep this bin next to the sink and the fact that it’s kinda cute helps.  If it were ugly I think we’d be less inclined to keep it on the counter where it’s easily accessible.  But because it’s so darn cute, we keep it out where it’s a no brainer to use.


Kitchen Towels

Kitchen towels - What's Going Right

These kitchen towels perform so many functions.  They are oven mitts, trivets, drying racks, they cover bowls of fermenting dough and dry everything from hands to pots.  They are a million times more durable than a paper towel and I get to use them over and over again.  We have so many in our kitchen but I have certain towels that I prefer to use for certain tasks.  I like the terry cloth ones to dry dishes with and to pull hot things out of the oven.  I like the flour sack towels for drying my hands and wiping down the counter and I like the cotton ones as trivets for hot plates or casseroles.  Towels are great because they are all readily accessible and can be used to do so many different jobs.  I will occasionally use a paper towel in emergency situations such as when one of the dogs throws up (it’s gross, I know, but that’s my life) or when I have a sneezing attack in the kitchen and can’t get to the bathroom before my face explodes all over everything.  Other than that, dish towels to the rescue!


Filterless Coffee

Coffee Pitcher - What's Going Right

This used to be a Chemex that had paper filters and I loved it.  The way coffee comes out of a Chemex just makes my taste buds tingle.  I wasn’t sure if it was the pour-over action, the paper filters or some other kind of magic but I loved it.  This is past tense because it broke in a drying rack incident and was replaced by the pitcher pictured above.  As much as I loved the Chemex I was tired of having to buy replacement filters and also it seemed wasteful even though I put them in the compost.  They still had to be made and then shipped so there was some waste there.  I searched online for a replacement that had a reusable filter and came across this Japanese filter made of felt.  People raved about it but I couldn’t help but think it sounded like filtering coffee through a sock and I just couldn’t get past that.  Then I stumbled upon a Chemex style pitcher that had a metal filter… bingo!!  Reusable and also very easily washable and no wet sock to contend with.  It makes three cups of coffee max which is perfect since there are three of us who live in the house. Most of the time it gets used to make one cup for one person at a time so we each get to have hot coffee when we want it and don’t have to run through all those filters.  This was a big win.


Shopping Bags

Shopping Bags - What's Going Right

Plastic shopping bags are illegal in Los Angeles so even if I hated the Earth and wanted to watch it burn, I could not do that with plastic shopping bags.  I have this great cooler bag that I use for a lot of things but it is especially handy when I get cold things at the store or the farmer’s market that need to stay cold.  We also have a large variety of fabric shopping bags and totes that we store in the kitchen so they are readily available when heading out to the store.  I also always keep a compactable one in my purse so that if I’m out and about and I just HAVE TO HAVE something, I can take it home in my own reusable bag.    


Fully Equipped Lunch Bag

LunchBag - What's Going Right

I usually bring my lunch to work in this bag but I also bring this bag with me if I know I’ll be out for a while and will want something to eat.  It has all the things I need in it such as a fork, spoon, chopsticks, a napkin and a glass straw.  Ok, “need” might be strong (do I “need” a straw?) but having all this stuff with me makes it easy to avoid single use items when I’m out.  I still have moments where I’m caught without it and end up using a single use items but those times are fewer and farther between than before.  

There are some people I know who ask me how to reduce waste and for some tips and tricks and these are some!  If you do any or all of these things or if you do more, give yourself a pat on the back and leave your tips in the comments.  Let’s all learn from our struggles and wins!

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