Plastic Free July Challenge Post #2 - Hibak Warsame

I talked to my family about going zero waste and we all agreed that we obviously had to make a few changes. When brainstorming and researching some solutions we decided to start by buying a reusable cup to use when we go out (mostly used by me), then we did some research surrounding what we can and can’t put in our recycling and compost bins. We also tried to avoid purchasing products in unnecessary amounts of plastic when we went shopping, and if we had to, we tried to purchase plastic that we could reuse or recycle.

This week I made sure to note the trash me and my family created when we went out of the house as well. Before garbage day I went through all of our trash and here are the results:

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We swapped paper towel for a reusable towel.

We swapped paper towel for a reusable towel.

The most noticeable difference between this week and last week’s garbage was that my family only used about 16 paper towels, which is a pretty big difference compared to last week’s 113. I decided to count how many we were using even if they were going in the compost just to track our progress. We recently bought some cloths for us to dry our hands and our dishes, and to clean messes, so it's nice to know those were being used. If we did use paper towels or tissues, then we made sure to at least put them into the compost, where they belong. 

Garbage day, surprisingly, gets a lot easier when you know exactly which bin something is supposed to go in, I've been using the Durham Region Waste app for a few days and it does make things a lot easier.

I did find a bit of plastic food wrapping in our trash, mostly popsicle wrappers, butter, Doritos and yogurt. We went shopping for some veggies and decided to avoid the plastic bags they offered us at the store, and we also got one big tub of ice cream instead of individually wrapped popsicles, so hopefully, that will diminish the amount of plastic food wrapping we accumulate for small snacks.

While that's the garbage counted at home, when we go out our family still does make waste. This week I went to watch a movie with my friends and I realized that my ticket was going to be waste, so I bought it online instead and convinced my family to do the same when they went to go see a movie.

I also ended up getting a plastic cup when I went to A&W, so I bought one of Starbucks’ $3 reusable cups for me and my family to use. I've been keeping it in my bag ever since just to make sure I don't forget it! 

While I am happy that my family is creating less waste, I feel like the main reason is that my family isn't around the house as much in the summer. With everyone in my household working or in summer camp, we’re not really at home often enough to produce waste a large amount of waste. But I do hope that with some of our changes, our family can reduce the amount of waste we create even when we are home.

Here are both tables beside each other so you can see the big difference between this week and last week.

Week 1: Total = 178 pieces

Week 1: Total = 178 pieces

Week 2: Total = 35 pieces

Week 2: Total = 35 pieces


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"Hello! My name is Hibak and I’m a high school student who’s recently become pretty interested in our environment, especially after I found out from the Love your Lake program how much plastic and waste goes into Lake Ontario each year. I’m still pretty young but I would like to make a difference and help where I can!"