I’ve been inspired by packaging [day 28 & 29]

I’ve been inspired to create an art series, or maybe this will be a new addition to my Excessable series.  The extreme disposable excess in packaging baffles me.  In some cases, I understand where they’re coming from, however that equates to about 10% of my understanding.

mens-shirt-blank-canvasMen’s shirts.  I wrote a blog post about the ridiculous amount of packaging in men’s shirts.  It takes a good 10 minutes to take a shirt out of the package.  I’m thinking Whodini wouldn’t even be able to do it much quicker.

My idea is to use the shirt as my canvas.  I’ll attach all of the packaging to it to make info graphics to educate people about the waste.  Why buy a shirt that’s packaged like Fort Knox, using 13 different types plastic, paper and metal when you can just buy one off a hanger?  Then you can give the hanger back to the store for reuse?  Continue reading

Disposable stuff is art supplies [day 24]

art dumpsterYou know, I can complicate anything.  I didn’t have a blog post yesterday because I had written so much, I didn’t have the time to edit and organize it, much less find images for it.  Today is simple.  How much disposable stuff is imposed on us?  Receipts?  Flyers?  Napkins?  Bags?  Packaging?  Junk mail?  Magazines?  There’s a lot, although many retailers are now asking, “Would you like a receipt?” or “Would you like a bag?”  YES!  They get it.  Continue reading

Fast food without waste? [day 17]

I wonder when the fast food craze will end and the eco food will take over.  What?  It could happen.  Doing this challenge during a road trip was, well, a trip.  2,777 miles in 8 days.


I let my kids buy their own snacks and I didn’t make them participate in the challenge.  They did some of the time, and of their own free will, but I didn’t require it.  We mostly stopped at restaurants, not fast food places.  It’s pretty easy to keep with the challenge at sit-down places.  Our last trek home was a long one, and eating in the car was a good plan.   Continue reading

Still travelling, on a sugar high [day 11]

We reached destination #2 at midnight last night.  My sister’s house in Wisconsin, where the snow is piled high.  In a few minutes, we’re leaving for destination #3: my dad’s cabin in Somewhere, Wisconsin.  I really have no idea where it is, so I’ll just call it Somewhere.

rain drivingIn our 9 hours of driving, it rained for 8.5 of it.  We couldn’t make many stops, unless we wanted to get wet and drive until the wee hours of the morning.  Here are a few of the non-disposable situations I came across.



Breakfast was at First Watch, a local diner in the Kansas City area.  Nothing too eventful there, as they had regular plates and glasses.  The silverware was wrapped in paper napkins, so I didn’t use a napkin.  The food was awesome!    Continue reading

paper crap [minimalist challenge item #274]

[item] Old paperwork of all types

[purchase info] Junk mail and more…

[time in my possession] Approximately a week to I don’t know how long.

[last used] Does anyone ever use this stuff?

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy, just time consuming to go though it to make sure you’re not chunking your passport or something important.

[destination] Recycling bin

[replacement item] None

[info] This paperwork junk drawer gets so full I can’t close it.  Where does all this stuff come from???

dear fast food places, I miss you

For the first time in several months, I missed fast food.  I was craving a Wendy’s chicken sandwich and fries.  I was craving the food itself much more than the convenience of it, however that would be nice sometimes.  My anti-fast food thing is more about the paper waste.  I think we need to become less wasteful in our ways and this is my contribution to that.  It did make me think though…

  • What if I brought my own packaging?  Yes, this would be weird, but I wonder if the fast food places would use the things I brought?  They have strict rules to follow, not only corporate rules, but health department rules.  This might just be my next mini-challenge.
  • What if fast food places provided non-disposable options?  They would need more labor costs for washing dishes, but would save on paper supplies.
  • Is recycling enough?  No.  Most of these places don’t recycle, although they say their stuff can be recycled.  ??!!?  Look at us!!  We’re being green because this is biodegradable!  Great.  Huge landfills with lots of stuff that will still take many years to disintegrate.

Just a few thoughts.  Fast food is not evil.  Without my challenge, I might partake once or twice a month.  Every time I have, I feel terrible that I’m supporting something I don’t believe in.

Dear fast food places,

Please put those top CEO’s to work on coming up with some non-wasteful ways for you to do your business.  Our entire world will benefit from it, and you will too.

Sincerely,  A person that missed your food

is it really any different because you buy it somewhere else?

I said, “No fast food through the end of the year.”  Why?  Mostly because of the wastefulness of it.  The amount of disposable plastics, paper and styrofoam bothers me.  We do fast food places out of convenience.  I just wanted to see how badly I needed fast food in my life.  My kids have missed it a little bit, but not much.  I also miss it on occasion, but not too much either.

I had to work today, and right after work, I had to bring a main dish to a potluck lunch.  I went to Cane’s Chicken.  It’s clearly a fast food place, complete with a drive-thru and lots of paper waste.  I bought in bulk, only buying the tailgate 25 piece pack.  Now I could have stopped at Kroger and picked up some chicken that was already prepared.  It would also be in disposable containers, although I could have placed it in a reusable bag.  So my big questions is…

Is it any different buying prepackaged (prepared) food at the grocery store versus a fast food place?

I have to answer, “No.”   I will still continue my no fast food places, but I need to add on these simple shopping changes.

  • Compare.  If the paper waste is the thing that’s bothering me, whether I shop at the grocery store or anywhere else, I need to consider the waste involved.  Just because I buy it at the grocery store doesn’t mean that I’m not being wasteful.
  • Call it what it is.  The grocery store has fast food.  It’s in the form of deli sandwiches, sushi, fountain drinks and many other forms.  If I buy a ham sandwich already made at Tom Thumb, that’s the same as buying a burger from a fast food place.  Same container, same pre-made food, same waste amount.
  • Plan.  I should have done a better job planning ahead for my potluck meal.  I could have made something the night before and picked it up on the way over there.  My bad.

There’s a new container-less grocery store opening this fall in Austin, TX called in.gredients… if they meet their fundraising goals.  I love this idea!!  Listen to the radio talk about it.  This is such a cool concept!  See how it works.

This is greatness.  Maybe I should help them get rolling in Austin, then I’ll open one here.  Check out the in.gredients website.

snail mail tubes [minimalist challenge item #194]

[item] Cardboard mailing tubes

[purchase info] Purchased at the container store

[time in my possession] Approximately 7 or 8 years

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy, well a little more difficult than easy, just because I paid full price for them

[destination] Thrift store

[replacement item] None

[info] Wow, even I’m amazed at some of the crap I hang on to.

I just don’t get the purpose [minimalist challenge item #185]

[item] Gift bags and gift wrap

[purchase info] Received with gifts

[time in my possession] Several months

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a friend

[replacement item] None

[info] I know I go against culture, a lot, but I just don’t get gift wrap.  It just seems like a big expense, then a time consuming wrapping process, all to be thrown in the trash moments after someone receives it.  I just don’t get it.  If I give a gift, it will be unwrapped (yes, including Christmas presents) or it will be in a reusable bag.

the bureaucratic conspiracy [minimalist challenge item #179]

[item] A huge pile of papers from my kids school… from last year

[purchase info] Brought home from school at the end of the school year

[time in my possession] Approximately 3 months

[last used] 3 months to a year ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Super easy

[destination] Recycling bin

[info] I know this seems like an odd thing to have on the minimalist list of things to get rid of, but how many times have I saved paper stuff like this?  No time to go through it a pull out the important stuff.  If it’s so important, why is it sitting in a pile?  I do this with my personal paperwork, papers at work and even art paper stuff.  Maybe I’ll invent the ‘Ronco Residential Paper Mill’ and do commercials, or infomercials, on late night TV.  What?  I can use the Ronco name.  It was my grandparents last name.  I’ll make my own paper.  I have done that before…  Why does this world need so much paper?  Yes, some is necessary, but all this?