How to manage waste without failing?

Hi guys!
I’m again feeling overwhelmed by rubbish. I try not to buy stuff online, but sometimes, I have no choice. Once I get the stuff, I spend a lot of time unwrapping them, making sure that the packaging can be reused.
Then there’s stuff in the kitchen. Though I buy wet food from the market, everything else comes with packaging. That usually needs to be washed and dried. I don’t have help, so everything is really on me.
Now I have a lot of plastics around the house in various stages of processing. It really is too much and there are days when I just want to give up and do like what the majority of people do. Just throw everything “away”. Then I think of the landfills and the oceans and the damage we have already caused to our beautiful earth.

Do you have some tips to help me manage all this in a better way? I would really appreciate it.

Hey there!
Yes, this can be difficult and rather frustrating sometimes, I’ve dealt with the same for many years already. I’m in FL so it’s best to lay out what we can and can’t recycle here:

  • Normal mixed recycling - our process is sorted, so we are able to mix paper, plastic, and other “recyclables”. Important to mention things like paper milk cartons w/plastic nozzles. You have to remove the plastic nozzle! (Or wrappers, paper labels, etc - remember to sort before the machine sorts!) Sometimes packaging companies don’t make that EASY. I have found myself choosing the brands I know are easier to recycle after experiencing this. Be conscious in the grocery store!
  • Styrofoam and plastic wraps. We are fortunate to have Publix and Target here - I keep all of this in my car to drop off in small amounts when I’m already there. Less trips! Check out Foam Recycling: Find Foam Recycling Centers Near Me or do some research on this one :slight_smile:
  • Packaging/ Bubble wrap - I actually run an Etsy shop so this is easy b/c I reuse all the packaging for fragile items. Be creative with this one! Use for storing X-mas ornaments, etc. And some packing peanuts are made of cornstarch now! You just run them under hot water.
  • Misc. - Terracycle items, jars, mascara wands, twistie ties, etc.
  1. Look for the terracycle label on multilayered packaging: you can look at what collection programs there are. Some companies offer it for free to send in the products or recycling (another great reason to research brand loyalty). Other stuff you can request the right envelopes and wait 1-2 weeks (for free) to send in. Big businesses can buy large Terracycle boxes to send in!
  2. Jars - I reuse them ALL! Especially like shaker jars and shampoo bottles b/c they are super handy at the bulk store when I’m getting dry shampoo or dish soap, etc.
  3. Mascara wands - you’re a guy…but pass this tip along :slight_smile: Terracycle and Wands for Wildlife have donation programs b/c these wands help remove oil and debris from wildlife!
    & Beauty spatulas or jar spatulas help you get every drop from every jar.
  4. Lastly, twistie ties - just save them in a jar by your cups! They come in handy. I like to use them to twist my flowers to hand upside down when drying. Or just hold something together.

Sorry for the long post, I’ve had a lot of experience with this. Hope that helps!

Stephanie, you are awesome! Thank you for taking the time to explain all that helpful information.

I didn’t know about the Terracycle Collection Programs, so I will check them out for sure.
And of course, I will tell my GF about the mascara wands, she will love that tip.

Thank you!

All great ideas. Segregating garbage is strictly enforced in my area. Not only will your garbage not be collected for the day, but you will also be fined if you keep doing it.

I think managing waste is great. It is something that needs to be done. I also think it is playing catch up with a literal mountain of garbage already there with more piling up. I totally agree with banning single use plastic bags and ecobags are used for groceries. Every time we have food delivered, we make sure there are no plastic utensils with our order so that helps in less plastic entering the household.

Another big factor that reduced plastic waste in our household was zero soda intake. We used to drink a lot of soda at home. The larger bottles usually come in plastic. 2 to 3 bottles a day was the usual consumption. You can imagine the impact on our health and the tons of plastic bottles accumulating in our home. After a few health issues that came up, we quit cold turkey. We still drink soda nowadays, maybe a couple of times a week, if at all. I am overall healthier and we don’t have mountains of plastic bottles. That was over a decade ago. With a proper diet and regular exercise, I lost around 30 pounds.