I have to save and store (or reuse) all my trash, recycling, and leftovers for seven days. It will be my priority to avoid contributing both landfill and recycle waste.
But Lacey, why save your recyclables? Isn’t recycling good?
The short answer: no, recycling isn’t good. It’s better than the landfill, but it isn’t good.
In theory it’s a great process. But most plastics today get downcycled, meaning they are made into something else that cannot be recycled. (Plastic beverage bottles, for example, are never made from recycled plastic.) Additionally, some companies ship their recycling off to China, where unregulated recycling plants pollute the natural environment. Besides that, many things that people believe can be recycled are not truly recyclable.
I’ll hold on to my recyclables because they are part of the waste problem, too.
As I’ve learned by watching Sustainable Dave’s progress these last six months, health and sanitation must take priority over saving trash. This means NOT saving hygiene items such as toilet paper, tissue, band-aids, tampons, and any hospital-related trash (tongue depressors, underpads, paper gowns, etc.).
I’ll also make exceptions for the unmeasurable – exhaust from my car, or the dangerous – smoldering coals.
P.S.: Diva Cup
Although technically tampons and pads don’t count as trash under these rules, there are alternatives to disposable menstrual products for women! The Diva Cup is one of those alternatives. It’s a washable, reusable silicone cup. I use it and would recommend it.