Sorry I didn’t tell you ALL about my first waste-free day. It’s because I failed. Already.

I thought this would be a breeze. Nope. I got out of bed. Poured some cereal (the box of which is almost empty), and reached for the milk. Sealed. Dammit! I did a groggy little angry dance (something I’d repeat throughout the day with varying degrees of enthusiasm).

I really wanted cereal, so I put the seal on the counter, too ashamed to throw it away. Later, I pinned it to my bulletin board with Sunday night’s fortune cookie fortune: “You have the ability to analyse and solve any problem.”

I’ve had several slip-ups in the past two days.

  • Coffee. Yes, I broke down and bought coffee — but I brought my own mug. And then reached for a sugar packet. Wait. Nope. Try again. Half and half? NOPE. No stir stick. Gah!! Angry dance (still groggy). Black coffee it is.
  • Public bathrooms. Automatically wave hand under automatic paper towel dispenser. Rip. Dry. Throw awa — GAH! Noooo! Do angry dance with fist pump, cursing the automatic paper towel dispenser. Angrily shove wet paper towels in book bag. Proceed to explain situation to professors, roommate, and others who see me carrying around wet paper towels. Pout.
  • Lunch. I immediately feel guilty for throwing all my trash away the night before. Yeah, I have tuna salad and bread, but what can I eat that never came in a package? An onion? My green pepper? I don’t see anything else. However, a week without waste means no waste. No matter if I’ve already cheated, I can’t throw away any food in my fridge.
  • Hummus. Again with the seal! I thought I was in the clear, because I’m going to save the hummus bowl to reuse. But no. Stupid. Seal makes one more non-compostable item. BUT, ask me what I ate with my hummus. Homemade whole wheat bread, Indian style. It was delicious, nutritious, and produced NO waste.

Paper towels are the hardest to avoid. I make a conscious effort now not to grab one after washing my hands. Luckily they’re compostable, so I saved the two I used yesterday. I put them in a Tupperware container with two apple cores and some pepper stems. At the end of this week I’m going to compost everything in The Box (see photos above). Although, I might relocate it. It’s starting to smell.

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