and i'm like, forget trash can

When you spend a large chunk of your time at your office, it's important to remember to be green there as well as at home. And it's easy to make small changes to be greener during your 8-5. From printing less, printing double-sided and using a real coffee mug, you can cut down on a LOT of trash every week.

In my office, everyone has their own trash can. It always has a liner, so when the cleaning crew picks up our trash, they leave a fresh liner. Even if there's literally one tissue or yogurt lid. And most of the time, that's all I have.

I've been inspired by the Brooklyn blog Trash Is For Tossers, where blogger Lauren can fit a year's worth of trash into one mason jar. While I pride myself on not creating a lot of trash, I am still WAY far away from her commitment to zero waste.

But, with her in mind, I took a look at my desk trash can and thought about that darn liner. It pained me to see a fresh liner each morning when I only had one or two items from the previous day. All those good trash bags going to the landfill while 99% empty.

I couldn't bear the thought of contributing to that kind of waste, so I made a few changes.

First, I upgraded my recycling bin from a shoebox container to an old trash can. I have literally had that blue trash can since I was 10 or 11 years old. It was my bedroom trash can as a child and in both my apartments. I've had it at the house since I moved in, but it wasn't being used, so off to work it came. This way, I can collect more recycling at my desk without having an overflow bin every few days.

Then, I separated my trash can and recycling bin and moved the trash can a little more out of my way, so I wouldn't be as likely to use it. I left the recycling bin where both bins used to sit, so it would be more of a habit to throw things that direction.

I consciously make an effort each day to avoid using things that cannot be recycled, but sometimes I can't. The biggest culprits are green tea bags and Kleenexes. But instead of dumping them into a clean trash can liner, I found an alternative.

I often have yogurt cups in my recycling bin, so I started putting them to good use and reusing them. (Reduce and reuse before you recycle!) They become my "trash can" for the day. It inspires me to only have enough trash to fit in a yogurt cup, and at the end of the day, I bring it to our kitchen or copy room trash can, where there's already a lot of trash. One week I used a Taco Bell cup, which is practically the size of a trash can anyway (and don't judge...about once a year I am weak for a chalupa.)

Boom. And that's how I keep my trash can liner clean, saving at least three liners a week. It feels so much better to consciously save GOOD material from the landfill. I mean, really. Why use an entire trash liner for garbage that fits in a yogurt cup!?

After I empty my temporary trash can, I throw it back into my recycling bin. I fill that up much faster, and share department recycling take-home duty with my boss at the end of each week.

I'll start sharing tips for going green in your own office, and if you're in the mood for some reading, you can peruse all my past workplace blog posts!


Unknown said...

You are an inspiration to be better. Thank you.

Caitlin said...

Thank you!! <3 <3

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