Photo of Pat McGovern’s one week, non-recyclable trash output

Pat McGovern, a New Hampshire Localvore and blogger about the Localvore Movement in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont recently told NWEI she decided to continue her waste reduction NWEI EcoChallenge. “It was a good consciousness raiser,” she said.  Pat shared this list of helpful tips she has been implementing in her efforts to reduce waste:

  • Plastic bags and small glass jars can go in your shopping bags for buying in bulk (tamari, peanut butter, walnuts, coffee, granola, sesame seeds, corn meal, flour, spices, dish detergent).
  • Use cloth napkins at home and don’t buy bottled water or soda. Rely on a stainless steel water bottle when away from home.
  • Don’t buy plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Use glass storage containers for leftovers.
  • Don’t buy food or beverages in cans (and avoid the BPA to boot).
  • Bring your own container for leftovers when dining out.
  • If possible, purchase milk from a local dairy that uses returnable bottles.
  • #5 plastic can go to Preserve Products for making toothbrushes, razor handles, etc. (Many grocery stores have a drop off station).
  • Consider composting worms to compost your vegetable peels, egg shells, toilet tissue tubes, cardboard cracker/cookie boxes, and restaurant napkins.

Pat notes, “A focus on local foods has definitely reduced my trash – I eat mostly whole foods – thus waste is mostly compostable. I have not yet solved the problem of plastic wrap around cheese or tofu, the plastic bags from bread, tortillas and English muffins (I bring them to the community garden for folks to carry their harvests home, but that only postpones their trip to the waste stream) or what to do with milk bottle caps and tortilla chip bags. I have started an album on my facebook page showing creative ways to keep trash out of the waste stream. I am also becoming more aware that trash reduction starts at the point of purchase!

I think the EcoChallenge is a great idea to activate folks and am looking forward to working with Barbara Duncan and NWEI’s partner organization Catamount Earth Institute in Vermont to organize EcoChallenges here in the Upper Valley.”

Pat also notes that foil tea bag non-recyclable wrappers were a source of trouble during her EcoChallenge (Pat enjoys Ginger Tea). A recent trip to the farmers market however allowed her to discover local ginger root.  “I am now making my own ginger root tea. No waste!” Click here for her ginger tea recipe.

Thanks for your inspiration, Pat!

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