Inbound vs Outbound #11 – August 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

I was packing to move this month. I tried my best to keep track of things but there’s a chance a lot was missed. Really tried to only to move stuff I want to keep (spoiler: mixed results).

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • A bar cart;
  • One T-shirt;
  • One legging and sports bra set; and
  • One vacuum.
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Two jewelry design boards (FB Marketplace);
  • A carry case filled beading supplies (FB Marketplace);
  • A fishing tackle of beading supplies (FB Marketplace);
  • Two glass Terrarium (FB Marketplace);
  • Two outdoor chair and stools (FB Marketplace);
  • One Fijifilm Instax and three packs of film (given to a friend);
  • Two packs of scrapbooking paper (given to a friend);
  • One Gameboy with games and carrier (eBay);
  • More random bag of beading supplies (Buy Nothing Group);
  • A bag of knit slippers my grandma gave me three years ago (hospital NICU);
  • About 4-5 bags of clothing and household items (donated);
  • A office/school supplies (Buy Nothing Group/Gifted);
  • 100 paper bags (FB marketplace);
  • One crochet bear (Buy Nothing Group);
  • One plastic Christmas tree (Garbage);
  • One plant my friend found on the side of the road and left at my old place (returned to the side of the road);
  • One bean bag chair (gifted to my roommate);
  • One dinning table (gifted to my roommate); and
  • One pocket Neopet (eBay).

As predicted in my July post, lots of movement this month. I’m at the new place and there is a lot of unpacking to do, which will discuss in future posts.

Plastic Free Update #2

You can read my two previous posts about Plastic Free July below:

I’m Gonna Try ‘Plastic Free July’

Plastic Free Update #1

As mentioned in my previous update, it was harder than expected. Now that it’s late-August, I can confidently say I didn’t do a great Plastic Free July. Below is an overview of the second half of the month:

July 19: McDonalds drink and fries

July 21: McDonalds coffee

July 22: Brough my own bags to the farmers market, but not enough, so I had to use some of theirs. I also got a container of microgreens and bread in a plastic.

Farmers Market Haul

July 23: I got plastic bag and plastic fork that came with my lunch order.

Later that day I dropped off my pile of black plastic take out containers I’ve been hording. There’s a take back program in Toronto, Case Reuse, that sanities and redistributes them to restaurants. So I brought my pile over to them.

July 25: Plastic clingwrap on some veggies that I received in my Too Good to Go order. It’s an app that partners with bakeries, grocers, restaurants to sell food that’s about to spoil at discounts in a sort of goodie bag. So the things I received would have gone to garbage anyways, so at least I was able to divert some of that waste.

July 26: Harvey’s drink with my post work snack of a veggie burger.

July 27: Did groceries and brought my reusable bags, but forgot the bags for my veggies.

July 28: Ordered Freshii for lunch on site, a compostable bowl but plastic lid. Strange…

July 29: A plastic bag came with my Mr.Sub order for lunch on site.

So ended up using single use plastic for more than 50% of the days. Beyond what was listed in the two updates, I’m pretty confident I forgot stuff so the reality could be worst.

Me after looking over my notes and seeing how bad I goofed the challenge. Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

I am proud of some of the things I’ve done. Like I finally got rid of the weird pile of plastic I was hiding from my roommate (although I might have to start a new one, since I saw some ramen bowls in our recycling again).

That’s pretty much the only goal that I achieved. Which is disappointing since I was really confident that I could do better. That why in my original post I added stretch goals, I was really sure that Plastic Free July would challenging but doable.

I could give a bunch of excuses to why I broke my own rules, as well as a challenges. But I can really summaries it as lack of planning and lack of fortitude.

The lack of planning one I’m hoping to fix, for a variety of reasons that aren’t only related to my plastic usage.

But my lack of fortitude is a bit harder. That can’t be solved that with a planner and a To Do list (although it might help). As I suspected in my first post, a lot of the plastic waste is coming from eating take-out. Some of that is due to the nature of my job, which involves a lot of site work and driving. But that doesn’t explain the takeout coffees and after work fries and pop. Those were just me wanting them now instead of waiting until I was at the office or home for a drink and snack.

So although I don’t think I did that well, I do think this is a interesting baseline measurement. Either for future Plastic Free Julys but also for other months. I might track it September and see how it compares. If I was a massive data nerd, I could track it for the next year and make some cool graphs with what type of plastic I’m using and where I put it at end of use. I would love to tell you I’m that kind of person, but I far too forgetful. So don’t look for that in the future.

So what now?

If you are new to Plastic Free July, their website has a lot of decent swaps for reducing plastic waste in the home.

But for the most part just planning a head so you don’t do what I do and impulse buy takeout. That’s better for the environment and ones wallet. I’m too nervous to even look at my bank statements to see how much money I spend this month on take out (minus the reimbursable stuff from work).

In my first post, I mentioned that I wanted to look in to the City of Toronto’s recycling program to learn more about it and maybe lobby for it to include black plastic. I haven’t done that. I still fully intend looking into that and Toronto’s composting program. May I update this post, or write a separate one when I’ve gotten the time to do the research. 

To wrap up, still a bit disappointed in how I did but I think that this was good eye opener that despite thinking I know a lot about waste reduction and plastic alternatives, I don’t fully practise what I preach and can improve.

Did you do Plastic Free July? How was it for you? I would love to read about it in the comments.

Inbound vs Outbound #11 – July 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Two work shirts;
  • Hard hat;
  • Safety vet;
  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg;
  • Landfill by Tim Dee; and
  • Five self watering planters.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • One picture frame (Buy Nothing Group);
  • One lunch box (Sold on FB Marketplace);
  • Two blouses (Gifted to my friend);
  • One Peperomia Frost (Sold on FB Marketplace);
  • A bunch of black plastic takeout containers (case reused drop off); and
  • An old month guard (garbage)

I’m pretty sure I’m missing a few items this month. I posted a lot of things online and waiting for them to get sold. So hopefully I can get the outbound list a little longer in August.

Inbound vs Outbound #10 – June 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

I brought in a cars worth of boxes of things that were previously being stored at my aunt’s house. You can read about that here.

Other items that came into my life:

  • One Peperomia Hope;
  • One Philodendron Birkin;
  • One ceramic planter;
  • One ergonomic keyboard;
  • One laptop stand;
  • One multi USB connection thing;
  • One ergonomic mouse pad; and
  • Sweatpants from Knix.

(you can tell this is the month I committed to the WFH lifestyle)

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Paper CD cases (recycled);
  • Plaques from races I won (Garbage);
  • Soap with a mustache pattern (gifted to my partner);
  • The book ‘Turtles as Pets’ (gifted to my partner);
  • A bunch of copper wires (Buy Nothing Group);
  • Random children books (little library and a donation box near a local church);
  • Random note book of yarn samples (garbage);
  • Guitar case (sold on Kijiji);
  • Manga/calligraphy set (gifted to roommate);
  • One roll of wrapping paper (Buy Nothing Group);
Off to do a Buy Nothing hand off

  • 5 rolls of duct tape (Buy Nothing Group);
  • A bag of textiles that’s been sitting in my car for easily 6 months (textiles recycling bin); and
  • 5 Pixar prints (Buy Nothing Group).

That’s it! Lots of things moving around in and out of my place. Sorry about the late update on this, I wanted the car post to be listed before this, and it took at while to write and edit.

Trying to Reclaim My Car

My car’s name is Dorian. Due to the fact that my car is gray. I love her! She’s my first big adult purchase and I use her pretty regularly to, ya know, drive.

I know The Minimalists say to love people, use things but I think I can love both.

But as of late, I’m not treating my car like I love her… Since I moved (back in July 2020), I’ve had some random boxes just sitting in my car because I didn’t want to clutter my apartment. This doesn’t make the clutter go away. And it being out of sight definitely did not made it easier to remember to actively take steps to intergrade or remove the crap from my life. I now totally understand why every decluttering book warns against off site storage. Out of sight, out of mind is a very real phenomenon.

Anyways, my life has recently reached a new, more cluttered point. Earlier this year, my parents moved and put some of my extra stuff into my aunt’s basement, as she still lives close by. I was texting her about something unrelated, and she mentioned I still have many boxes sitting in her basement.

That was a sign that it was time to get the stuff out of her house and take true ownership of my crap.

And oh my! I have soo much crap!! Poor Dorian was struggling as I was driving her home. I truly needed to clear out my car and make her usable. Since it was filled, including the passenger seat with boxes.

Step One was just clearing out the car. It took a couple trips, even while we used a cart to lug stuff up from the parking garage to my unit.

Step Two is looking through the contents of the box. That’s where it got a been a harder. There some stuff that I can declutter but a lot of it is stuff I don’t have space for, but also don’t want to get rid of. The majority of these boxes are are still sitting in boxes in my room as I write this.

But that can’t stay that way. Mostly because I want my room back, but also because I’m moving later this year and I don’t want to waste space in the moving van on stuff I don’t even want to keep.

Step Three has been getting rid of stuff. 

Donation centers have been closed off and on for the better part of a year due to lockdowns in Ontario. Although they are currently open, they are overwhelmed with donations. So the whole system is way less efficient than usual at redistributing donations.

As much as possible, I’ve been avoiding creating a donation pile. My current system is much slower and one that pretty much no one would recommend, due to it being so inefficient.

I’m currently selling cloths and home goods online on a variety of websites (eBay, Depop, Vinted, etc…). Any items that I don’t think have a resale value higher than it’s shipping cost are being posted in my local Buy Nothing group or FB Marketplace.

It’s been a pretty slow process. I’ve gotten faster at taking, editing and uploading product pics. And for the most part people have been coming to me for pickups. Since I work from home most days so I can just pop down to my building’s lobby and do the hand off. So the active time involved isn’t that high.

A bunch of tapes off to their new home

My friends have been really impressed by my patience in this process. Like the one time a no-buy pickup was about an hour late. Or the person that didn’t read when I mentioned three times I wasn’t available until after 12pm show up at 11:30am looking to trade.  

Those have been the most annoying trades, and they are rare instances. The majority of the time, everyone is punctual and extremely nice. Which is the main reasons I’ve been keeping up with it.

But that’s pretty much where I’m at. My Inbound vs Outbound for June (posted late, but better late than never) will better detail where I’ve been diverting my decluttered items.

I really need to pick up the speed. I really want to have my space reclaimed, right in time to pack it all up for the next place in about a month and half.

I’ve also been recording this process in more detail on my phone. So I need to learn how to edit videos and I’ll post that here as a separate update. So look out for that in the coming weeks to months.

Since the cleanout, I vacuumed the car and it was empty for a short period of time… Unfortunately, the car is currently filled with work equipment, a rain coat, and a copy of Pretty Little Liars I found at my local little library. I plan on dealing with that soon…

Plastic Free Update #1

This is an update to my last post (I’m Gonna Try ‘Plastic Free July’) you can read it here.

Not off to a strong start…

Below is a summary of the days were I failed (and, like, two times passed) at Plastic Free July and how:

July 1st: I was sitting in a park with my partner and we both wanted some coffee…

We thought that the café nearby was doing outdoor dining and we could use their mugs. Unfortunately, it was doing take-out only. Knowing this, we still both got an ice coffee and a popsicle.

So in the quest for caffeine, we created two take-out coffee cups and two popsicle plastic bags worth of waste. Also this was place was friggin expensive. We probably should have planned a bit better and brought coffee on the road with us before hanging out.

July 2: Went for a walk after dinner around my neighborhood and stopped by the grocery store. Got toilet paper because we ran out. As well, a pint of strawberries since they are on hella sale. Both items were wrapped in plastic.

July 6: Doing a bit better, I haven’t brought new plastic. I’ve mostly been eating in. I even stopped myself from just getting take-out because I was out of the house running errands.

I’ve used plastic products tho. I’ve finished two dips that were in plastic packaging, which I washed and recycled.

As well, I did have to throw out a bread bag since that isn’t accepted in our recycling system.

July 8: Upside: Got my coffee in my reusable mug. Downside: Second Cup has not fully brought back their Lug-a-Mug program. So my barista had to pour my coffee into a paper cup and pour it into my travel mug.

So the waste was generated even if I didn’t have to throw it out.

After my barista finished pouring my coffee, he showed pictures of the steak with basil chimichurri sauce he made the night before. It looked nice (unfortunately I couldn’t include the pic here).

Later than day, I ordered a donut and pizza for takeout. Both packaged in cardboard. Although the pizza box is too oily to be recycled. Not plastic, but I did break my own rules of not ordering out cause I’m weak willed and hungry.

July 9: I got a coffee from Timmies on my way back from a site for work. I took the drive-through so I couldn’t ask if they would fill my mug.

I will fully admit this plastic waste could have been avoided if I was less lazy and waited till I got home for coffee.

July 10: Went to a small grocer near my house. I brought my own plastic bags from previous trips and used them again. The cashier didn’t noticed.

July 13: Broke down and:

  • got an iced coffee.
  • used plastic bags since I forgot to bring down all my reusable ones from my apartment into my car before I left for the store.
  • bought mushrooms wrapped in plastic since they were on sale, instead of the loose option.

Overall not a good day…

July 14: Got two To-Go containers of Timmies coffee for the client and construction crew I was working with. And I helped myself to a coffee that was in a paper cup, since I forgot my own travel mug.

July 15: Honestly the photo captures how the month is going. But, like, in a bad way…

Changing lives by destroying future generations…

Also it seems that Tim Hortons’ now gives paper straws with orders. This is a very small and somewhat performative step from one of Canada’s larger sources of litter.

So that’s where I am at the halfway mark of Plastic Free July. It turned out to be harder than expected. Mostly due to my own lack of planning. I want to say that it gets better in the second half of the month. But that would be a lie.

Are you doing Plastic Free July? Or do you know of ways that I can stop forgetting my travel mug every time I leave the house? Love to hear about it in the comments below.

I’m Gonna Try ‘Plastic Free July’

I heard about Plastic Free July, last year through Instagram. As the name suggests, the idea is to reduce (ideally eliminate) the use of plastic for the month of July. From there you, hopefully, have developed some habits that you will stick with to reduce your overall plastic consumption long term.

As mentioned in my most recent post, I feel my largest waste generator comes from food waste. I think my largest plastic waste comes from take-out containers. I don’t have the best habits around take-out. They aren’t the worst, but there’s massive room for improvement. I consider take-out a rare treat, but I’m not treating it as such. Particularly this past year, where I justified take-out as supporting small businesses. But also order my meals on delivery apps that take around 30% fees from the restaurants. So how much was I really supporting?

Also, I get my groceries delivered sometimes and plastic bags are an unavoidable part of the process.

Anyway, my plan for Plastic Free July is to reduce my waste by doing the following:

  • No take out. There are more restaurants that are switching to cardboard packaging. But for the month, lets assume that all restaurants are using plastic;
  • As little plastic wrapping in the food I buy. I do live in a city with bulk foods stores, and its farmers market season. Two that are walking distance from my house. So this should be relatively achievable if I do some planning;
  • Donate the black plastic I’m hoarding. I don’t think my roommate knows that I sometimes take her black plastic take-out contains out of our recycling bins and add them to a hidden pile of take-out containers I plan on donating. The City of Toronto doesn’t accept black plastic in its recycling system and I don’t want her wishcycling. There are a non-profits that reusing them, as well as programs that specifically will redistribute black plastic take-out containers to restaurants in the City. So my plan is to get my weird little pile of take-out contains out of the house and somewhere, where ideally, they will be reused again before becoming trash. I also will bring my plastic bags to one of the groceries stores near my house that has a recycling/takeback program.
  • Write to the City of Toronto and ask to improve the recycling system to accept Black plastic (I understand their sorting machines cant see it, but I could be wrong) and other types of plastic waste. Or put a By-Law in place that bands the sale of black plastic take-out contains to restaurants in Toronto’s. Or something like that. I know that second idea would never happen, since it’s impossible to enforce. But maybe more education to restaurant owners about plastic and Styrofoam containers. And encourage them to order other biodegradable materials. I don’t really know. I need to some research before I write to my City Councilor.

My stretch goal, if I have time. Go out on a walk and pick up garbage. I see people on the internet that do it and I admire them. But I also think its kinda gross, and bad for my back.

I’m also making excuses. So I want to give it a try at least once. If I hate the process, I have a valid reason not to do it again. If it’s not bad or if I have fun, maybe it will be something I incorporate into my regular routine.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Looking at this list, it feels really reasonable. Almost like stuff I should be doing already as someone that claims to care about the environment. I’ve got the next four weeks to find out if it’s as easy as I think it will be.

The thing that will ensure that this month is successful is planning, which is something I’m terrible at in my personal life. My professional life involves a lot of planning, so I feels like I use up that energy that by the time I clock out at the end of the day. But for July, I will take the ten minutes to plan my meals for the week, so I don’t break down and order take-out. From there we’ll be golden! Or at least I hope so.

This month may also lead me to discover that I generate waste in other areas of my life. As listed above, I am working on the assumption that most of my plastic waste is generated around food. So this will be interesting to see if that is actually the case or not.

Have you heard of Plastic Free July before? Is it something that you want to try this month? The website does have an challenge with tips and guides if you are looking for ways to reduce your plastic waste. I signed up and might share some of their tips in update posts. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Inbound vs Outbound #9 – May 2021

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Two hot pepper plants;
  • One rosemary plant; and
  • One tomato plant.
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • One dead orchid (RIP); and
  • One pillow case sold on Depop.

Another month that keeps like it was just flying by. June will definitely have more movement.

Inbound vs Outbound #5 – January 2021

plane landing

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see if over time I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long term since I’m documenting when it’s arriving and can think a bit more critically about the whole thing.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound:

  • 1 string of led lights decluttered by my parents to me;
  • 1 phone case; and
  • 1 three pack of tempered glass phone screen protectors.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • 1 alarm clock that mimics a sunrise, given on my local BuyNothing group;
  • 1 dead rosemary (RIP);
  • 2 Tamagotchis, sold on eBay;
  • 1 winter jacket, donated to a clothing drive;
  • 2 winter/fall coats, donated to a clothing drive;
  • 1 hoodie, donated to a clothing drive
  • 1 bottle of micellar water;
  • 1 glove since I lost the other half of the pair;
  • 1 mitten since I lost the other half of the pair;
  • 1 half used Happy Planner for 2017;
  • One Rock Band instrument set, given away on my local Buy Nothing Group, including:
    • Rock Band 2; and
    • Beatles Rock Band.
  • 6 yearbooks;
  • 2 notebooks from highschool;
  • 1 friendship bracelet, sold on Depop; and
  • 1 keychain for the gym membership I cancelled 6 months ago.

Inbound vs Outbound #4 – December 2020

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see if over time I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long term since I’m documenting when it’s arriving and can think a bit more critically about the whole thing.

Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • 1 new phone, including a new charging cable;
  • 1 set of ear buds that came free with the phone; 
  • 1 Peace Collective long sleeve;
  • 1 backpack;
  • 1 messenger bag; 
  • 1 Callisia Repens Pink Lady; 
  • 1 bottle of plant fertilizer; 
  • 1 necklace with my starsign;
  • 1 cutting wood board;  
  • 1 puzzle of the history of Toronto 
  • 1 ‘House of Plants’ board game; 
  • 1 face cream;
  • 1 mug;
  • 1 jar of wood cutting board oil;
  • 1 garlic cutter;
  • 1 vegetable peeler; 
  • 1 USB stick with some courses;
  • 1 T-shirt;
  • 2 laundry dryer balls; and 
  • 1 print and frame.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • At least three notebooks worth of random papers found at my parents house; 
  • 1 sweater; 
  • 3 purses; 
  • 1 laptop case 
  • 2 old cellphones for electronics recycling; 
  • 1 wallet
  • About a dozen books; 
  • 3 children books found at my parents house; 
  • 2 books returned to my parents; and
  • 1 broken vegetable peeler.