Ditch the tea bags 

My favorite tea is peppermint and raspberry leaf. Instead of buying prepackaged bags of tea, I got a couple tea pots (one for home and one for the office) and bulk bags of organic loose leaf tea on amazon. I mixed my tea in large mason jars to keep on hand. Voila! No need for tea bags or their trash anymore! And I’m drinking more tea because my system is so useful. 

The trash that resulted from this is the packaging from the amazon shipment (most of which got reused), the fuel used to transport it to my house (which was still efficient, assuming the delivery man made many stops along the way), and the two empty bags when I (eventually) finish all this tea (in, like, 3 yrs). Also, I can now compost my tea instead of tossing it in the trash with a tea bag. This system bypasses the manufacturing and disposal of all the little tea bags and boxes they go in, and is a fraction of the cost. Here are the products I bought (these aren’t links): 

What are your favorite teas? Can you find them in bulk somewhere? 

Less-Waste Salad Kit

Okay, peeps. Here’s my shameful, wasteful indulgence of late: salad kits.

I am SO busy. Like, don’t stop working busy. In total, I probably work 50 hours a week at my jobs, then put on top of that household chores and organizing, taking care of a baby, and trying to take care of MYSELF (for example, sleeping). My biggest zero-waste downfall (and I think most people’s) is the kitchen. The kitchen produces the most waste of the entire household. Food packaging waste is SO hard to avoid without tireless effort.

Our vastly busy lifestyles make for a really hard time with the groceries. On top of the stress and lack of time, I have a VERY strict grocery budget. With budgetary and dietary issues I have some serious constraints on my grocery trip to begin with, and sometimes I just cannot add the constraint of zero-waste (and remain sane).

I know I’m not the only one. Can I get an AMEN???

So, let me drive this home and be clear. I’m just going to admit this to the world right now: sometimes I’m so worn out and stressed that I throw zero-waste by the wayside when I’m grocery shopping. Sometimes I actually DO NOT consider the waste associated with my grocery basket. I become reckless with the waste that will result from my shopping trip, in the name of sanity. So, believe me, anyone who says they don’t have the time or energy to reduce their food packaging waste, I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.

But what if I did an experiment?

Salad kits. SALAD KITS. How genius, right? Someone just put together a delicious salad for you, and all you have to do is remove it from its various plastic wrappings, put it together in a bowl, and voila! Lunch! A busy woman’s dream. I just buy 5 salad kits at the store, take them all to work with me on Monday, and I don’t ever leave the house in the morning wondering what I’m going to eat for lunch. It’s brilliant, but for that pesky trash…

What I have done is recreated the salad kit, except in a zero-waste or less-waste way.

And it’s cheaper. Score!

I bought romaine, a few brussel sprouts, and red cabbage. I already had carrots, so I didn’t need to buy those.

I chopped it all up like they do for the bag salads, and put it in a big bowl for tossing.

Transferred a large enough portion for a few days into a container, and lunch is ready to go! I will take the Annie’s goddess dressing with me, as well as the container of nuts, seeds, and raisins. When I’m finished with the dressing, I’ll recycle it. (I have other large containers with better to-go lids, they’re just not available to me right now. This glass lid rigged with rubber bands is obviously not my first choice.)

Okay, now for the cost break-down:

6 bagged salad kits = $23.14 before tax

(From a previous shopping trip: 3 Dole chopped salad kits and 3 Eat Smart salad kits)

Buying produce and making my own: $10.21 

(Brussel Sprouts (.75 lb): 2.09; Red Cabbage (1.84 lb): 1.45; Romaine hearts: 3.98; Annie’s Goddess dressing: 2.69; things I already had on hand: 1 carrot, sunflower seeds, raisins)

As you can see, buying the pre-made salad kits is about double the cost of making your own. It really only took me about 10 minutes to assemble everything and get it ready to go for Monday. I know the internet is full of “ways to simplify your life” and “easy to-go lunch recipes,” but honestly, if you like salad kits and want to reduce your waste, I think this is a good way to go!

Cooking Spray Replacement

You don’t have to buy expensive and wasteful cooking sprays. All you need is oil and your hand.

 Put a tablespoon or so of oil (your choice, I cook with olive oil) into your baking pan or dish. Use your hand to distribute the oil onto the surface of the pan.

 Next, just rub the oil into your skin–voila! Hand cream! Olive oil is incredibly nurturing to skin. Many other cooking oils are, as well.

Detroit Dirt


Read this article from Martha Stewart Living about an awesome social entrepreneur in Detroit.

It’s about time Tulsa had some kind of food waste diversion program, right? Who is going to start a municipal composting business?? I, for one, would love to do something like this in Tulsa.

Edited to state: The City of Tulsa operates a yard waste disposal program, which is sometimes called the city “composting” facility. When I refer to “municipal composting” above, I refer to an all-encompassing composting operation which is not limited only to yard waste. Just wanted to make that clear for all! When I hear “compost” I think of food waste, not yard waste. In my opinion, it’s a given that yard waste is composted (and not necessarily in a “composting facility”). Read more about my yard waste opinions here.