Weekly Weigh-in 2: There's No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

So starting now, my weekly weigh-in posts will have two sections: the weigh-in and a journal entry. Several people have said that they are interested in the "journey" aspect of this blog.  So the journal entries will feature my success and failures in going zero waste each week to give a less filtered view of what this whole process can be like.  Luckily for you, this week I managed to create a massive scene at a grocery store.



My trash total this week was: 27 g

This was way less than last week by quite a bit! But the amount of plastic also went up. This was in part due to buying electronics for school, buying electronics to replace the laptop charger the puppy chewed, and the plastic that some of the hardware associated with the compost bin came wrapped in.

Now all that looks pretty darn good. But if you read my journal below, you will discover that quite a bit of waste was generated at my expense at the grocery store.  So I will count those in as well.

  • 1 glass milk bottle: 780 grams
  • 1/2 roll paper towels: 142 grams
  • 1 plastic grocery bag: 5.5 grams

So, given this, my new grand trash total would be: 927.5 g  ...ugh...

However as many people in the zero waste community will say, in one form or another: this isn't about being perfect, it's about giving it your best shot.


This week, as you may have guessed, I had an small dairy-related incident.  I have switched to buying a local, glass-bottled milk.  We go through about 1/2 gallon a week.  As I walked up to the cash register, I was feeling pretty good about the grocery store trip we had just made.  

We were grabbing what I had forgotten earlier in the week: milk and coffee. Of course, as with almost any grocery trip with my significant other,  we ended up buying more stuff than planned. But we were able to keep it all zero waste, even his candy request!

But then things went terribly, terribly wrong...

I set down my basket on the ground so I could grab the empty milk bottles out of the bag I was carrying.  But when I set the basket down I must have done so at just the right angle/force/pressure/other science things to break the bottle!

A whole half gallon of milk went spilling all over the checkout aisle, glass and all.  I quickly tried to grab the remaining items out of the the basket, but some milk did make it onto my cotton bulk bags, and therefore on the items in them (nothing was ruined though!).

The checkout girl was incredibly nice and understanding.  My boyfriend went to grab another bottle, while I attempted to help. Although, honestly, I was probably making matters worse at this point given the onlookers that were gathering around to watch us struggle.  On top of it all, the checkout girl thew a ton of paper towels down to halt the movement of the milk before a mop was brought to the scene. 

So, in my attempts to reduce my plastic use, I managed to waste a half gallon of milk, a glass bottle, and about half a roll of paper towels, and a plastic bag that aided in the cleanup process.  It felt like I had taken 1 step forward only to take 3 steps backward. 

The reason I am rambling on about this is that I want anyone who is thinking about going zero waste or reducing their impact to realize: this is not a picture perfect process.  As I mentioned earlier, the overwhelming sentiment in the zero waste community is: it's not about being perfect.  Well I definitely wasn't perfect this week, but onto the next!