talking trash: 4 months

vegan zero waste trash jar

Time is just flying by and it’s already time for another trashy post.  A few of you asked me to document my recycling this month too so I’ve added that…although I don’t know if I’ll do it every month because it was kind of a pain to keep it around this long… but I will if its really helpful/interesting for you.  Let me know.

This is everything my family of four wasn’t able to reuse, repurpose, or rot (compost) this month…so our landfill trash and our recycling.  For more info on how we keep waste so low, check out the first post in this series: month 1.  And for past months of trash documentation: month 2, and month 3.  For a post about a zero waste kit to reduce trash on the go, click here.

Lets get into it.  First, here’s all the actual “trash” or landfill waste we made.

zero waste landfill trash jar

landfill trash:

plastic seal from Just Mayo: I haven’t ventured to experiment with DIY vegan mayo but will when we run out of this guy.  I reuse the glass jars and plastic lids for storage and bulk buying.

tabs from Carmela thrift coats, Joel sweaters, Vin tops: we needed some clothes this month as it got colder and even though we thrifted them, they come with little plastic tabs that attach the paper tags. (click here to read how+why we shop secondhand for almost all clothing)

tape from copper pots- also at the thrift store I found this amazing set of vintage copper pots (not even a brand on them and so well made) and they had a bunch of plastic shipping tape wrapped around them to keep the lids together with the pots.

plastic for your protection seal from oregano oil- this is my go to, heal all potion for immunity, infection, my mom even uses it to remove suspicious sun spots.  I was out so I bought another (it lasts forever) and it had this plastic seal.  I reuse the bottles for my own tinctures and refilling extracts.

2 small pieces of scotch tape from the sleeve of handmade local soap: these bars of soap was minimally packed with a thin strip of paper, held together by a sliver of tape.

tag from a bunch of parsley: usually I buy these at the market but occasionally I forget or run out and this label was attached to the twist tie.  It has a #5 recycling symbol on it, but its so small I worry it will slip right through and get trashed.

Clearly kombucha label: my husband picked this up before our own kombucha was ready to drink and although it had a metal lid and glass bottle (which i washed and will reuse for our own brew), it had this giant plastic label on it.

Nature’s Bakery fig bar: this I found at the bottom of my daughters backpack and she said it was a prize for winning the reading contest in her class at school.  I’ve talked to the teacher and asked if I can bring in a few jars of various bulk treats for her to give out instead of the bars, goldfish crackers, and plastic wrapped toys she usually gives.  The teacher didn’t mind whatsoever and I’m so happy to have this option.

Volunteer sticker: I volunteer at my daughter’s school a few times a week (I co chair the garden program there) and usually I sneak by the office so I don’t have to check in (and get this huge plastic sticker) but this time I needed a key and was forced to check in, hence the sticker.

Produce stickers from avocados: thankfully the avocado stand from Southern CA is back at the market.  I recently read this piece about avocados and sustainability too that I found thought provoking.

Gold plastic seal from a sesame oil bottle:  I usually buy this in bulk but I ran out unexpectedly one night after being almost done with a recipe it was essential for- I will wash +reuse the glass bottle it came in for hot sauce.

2 plastic windows from mail: I have all my bills on paperless, and have followed this great post years ago to stop virtually all junk mail- but I did get 2 envelopes this month with plastic windows for a security alert from my bank and new membership to a local art museum.

2 non dairy yogurt starter packets: experimenting with ways to get consistent results on dairy free yogurts and I wouldn’t recommend this brand.  I could have not bought this but I’m really sad without good non dairy yogurt.  We have a couple coco yogurt brands in glass here but they’re expensive and not very good.  All others like almond milk and cashew yogurt are in plastic here.

Next, here’s all the recycling we had this month.

recycling zero waste


6 beer bottles + 3 beer cans + 1 wine bottle:  as you can see, this is the majority of the recycling.  My husband manages a restaurant here and receives free samples of beer and wine from alcohol reps and companies.  I wish he didn’t accept them and we bought beer and wine in growlers/our own bottles, but I’m working on it and at least there’s no plastic involved here.  If you’re in Sacramento area, Cork it Again, Revolution Wines, and Berryessa Brewing Co. all offer refilling.  All the beers are local to CA (where we live), and the wine is from Washington- better than from Europe or Australia, etc.

3 cans of coconut milk: I haven’t been able to make homemade coco milk as creamy as canned for texture in curries and such, but I’m continuing to experiment.

2 cans of beans: baked beans and chickpeas.  I make our own beans 99% of the time but I’m not above buying canned beans in a pinch.

assorted paper: from mail, Carmela’s schoolwork, cardboard 6 pack box from the beer.


That’s it!  If you guys have any questions about specific things, feel free to comment below or on Instagram @mamaeatsplants , I’d love to hear about what your biggest sources of trash are.


6 thoughts on “talking trash: 4 months

  1. I’m getting started with zero waste, shopping in the produce section, buying in glass, paper, or tins, even found several bulk options nearby, so the transition is going well so far. But I was wondering, what do you do with receipts? I’ve read that the paper it’s printed on is often coated with BPA or plastics, and isn’t usually recyclable. Do you have a way around this or any tips? I noticed receipts weren’t a part of your trash for the month, so I guessed you might have some insight! Thanks for all of the great resources; it’s been so helpful!

    1. Hi! Awesome job. Most all places around here ask before printing receipts; on the occasion I go somewhere that prints them automatically I simply refuse the receipt (a “no thank you”, or “I don’t need it, thanks” works) and then email or contact the business later to suggest politely that they move to paperless or printing upon request. Refusing is a big part of voting- in effect saying, “no, I don’t support this system”. Hope that helps a bit! xx

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