Thursday, September 23, 2010

Going a little greener these days

This was totally unexpected... Going to a nearly-vegan diet somehow has inspired me to be a little greener these days. I blame it on all the interesting books and resources that I've been reading lately about the vegan diet. But it totally makes sense. If I care about what I eat, I should also care about how the food I eat has been made. If I care about what goes into my body, I should also care about the environment where all my food comes from. It's logical, right?

I'm not going to preach about how the farm animals have been mistreated here. Only if you are ready to be informed, you can check out the websites like ' - The Website the Meat Industry Doesn't Want You to See' and 'PETA's Vegetarian Starter Kit'. The information is not for the faint of heart. (I personally couldn't stomach it...)

I've been always interested in the idea of reducing waste and recycling more. It's just how I was raised in Japan. I don't like being wasteful... we call it "mottai-nai" in Japanese. Because living spaces are smaller there, people tend not to own more than they need. We have detailed guidelines in place on how you should separate your recyclable items for the public garbage service to collect. After living in America over 10 years, I got used to the idea of having more space and more stuff. I have a big garbage bin which gets collected every week... Who cares how much trash I produce, it's a big country, right?

In my post - '13 Unexpected benefits of this new diet' I wrote about 2 weeks ago, I mentioned as point #12 how my garbage doesn't have a rotten smell anymore. All of that awful smell was coming from meat and it's packages. (Well, we don't have stinky diapers to deal with in our house.) I remember having to take out my kitchen trash every 1-2 days, so that the house doesn't smell funny. But now I don't have any meat related junk in my trash, I only have to take out my kitchen trash once a week or even less. This got me thinking, hmmm.... I can start collecting food scraps for composting! Well, unfortunately I don't have a yard big enough to have a space for making my own compost, so I decided to recycle instead.

In King County, where I live, we can place all our food scraps (and even empty pizza boxes!) into our yard waste bin. Everything in the yard waste get recycled into compost. This reduces the amount of garbage and also our usage of the garbage disposal down to our water/sewer system. I've known about it a long time but I was hesitant to participate because I was afraid of the awful smell from my food-related garbage before. But finally, I was ready to make a change and I bought a small waste basket and biodegradable bags for food bags.

The initial investment was about $15. I know those biodegradable trash bags are more expensive compared to regular plastic trash bags... It's around $5 for 25 of 3 gallon bags and I think it totally worth it. For starters, you can check with the city or county's waste division to see if they give free samples. For example, King County residents can request a free BioBag sample from the county's website.

I chose the BioBag system because both their waste baskets and biodegradable bags are breathable, which means less bacterial odor. Notice how you can see through the waste basket? It's a little counter-intuitive. I would think I need tight closed trash bin to keep the smell trapped inside, but the opposite is true. The food waste creates heat and moisture that can not escape when placed in closed containers, which creates more bacterial odor inside. Also you can use this breathable bag to store refrigerated fruits and vegetables. It allows moisture to evaporate through and keeps fruits and vegetables fresher longer.

I normally keep it out of sight, under my kitchen sink, and bring it to the counter top whenever I cook and clean after the meal. It's convenient to have a small waste basket right where I prepare all my ingredients for meals. It's not a bad looking thing, but I personally don't think it's nice enough to leave it on my counter top.

I know it's a very small change, but it's still a change in the right direction and I'm proud of myself for doing it! What are you willing to do today, for better tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. Here's a comment from the company's rep. "Thank you for the positive word of mouth! Did you know there are only about 90 communities in the US that have compost programs? It is just too logical, I guess. Love the title of your blog!"

    I also received a box of Biobag in a mail today from Biobag! Thank you!!