Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Food Waste Audit

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we cancelled magazine subscriptions and took our names off junk mail lists. This kind of challenge needs revisiting from time to time, especially when it comes to junk mail which seems to sneak its way into our lives. The online services have helped us reduce most of the junk arriving in our mailbox ... contacting companies directly has also been effective. I've also noticed that one must be careful when buying things online or signing up for services ... there is often a pre-checked box that entitles companies to send you material. Diligence is key to managing this activity!

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Mrs. Green says that she's passionate about eliminating junk mail (and no, Mrs. G, that doesn't sound strange at all). In How to stop junk mail in 5 steps she offers some wonderful tips. Those of you who live in the UK will find them especially helpful as she includes links and information specific to your area.

Argentum Vulgaris shares a few photos of his garden in Change the World Wednesday – 21st Aug ... amazing what he grows in a small space. He also talks about junk mail in Brazil. The amount he receives might surprise you.

Lisa wrote Growing and Buying Local Pays in support of a previous challenge. She talks about why it's so important to support local farmers and/or grow your own food. She also addresses the biggest downside to families and offers possible solutions.

Kristina has written two wonderful articles on eliminating junk mail: No More Junk in Your Mail and More Ways to Reduce Your Junk Mail (And Stress). Both of these posts offer tips and ideas. She even includes ways to stop phone books from landing at our doors.

This was an easy challenge for Alicia who says, "We also have pretty much done this. We order no magazines or other subscriptions and recycle any other junk mail that comes to our box. This includes local grocery ads, furniture ads and coupons. We used to get the Sunday paper for the coupons but haven't done that for several years now since we don't buy any processed food. Just another good thing that has come from buying fresh and local." By the way, Alicia is hosting a giveaway for a beautiful piece of jewelry ... I'm not sure how long the giveaway runs so if you're interested, head over now and enter.

We got a headline spot in this edition of the Shopping Charity. Other great articles include Treasure Hunter: Thrifter turns castoffs into trendy boutique goods - Toledo Blade, Lung cancer pathology pattern may predict cancer recurrence after surgery - ONA and Oshawa family receives hate-filled letter directed at autistic son.

McBride’s Organic Farm Daily gave CTWW a headline spot, as well. This edition includes other interesting content like What if Food Labels Served as Warning Signs?, Upgrade Your Food Choices and Four Lessons from the U.S. for Countries About to Be Fracked.

The Flora Foster Daily included CTWW this week. Other informative articles include Best of the World Weekly -- National Geographic, Domains 101: Exploring the Domain Name System — Blog — and More Than 70 Percent of Undergraduates Get Financial Aid.

CTWW got a nice mention in the Sustainable Education Initiative. This editions also includes How To Grow A Salad Garden For The Whole Family |, Message in a bottle: 8 striking stories of letters sent to sea and 7 creative ways to reuse golf balls.

Lois shares that, a couple of years ago, it was difficult to cancel subscriptions to magazines and newspapers. Why? It has to do with the way she was raised. Read more about that in Change the World, Thursday?? where you'll also discover some startling facts about junk mail and the environment.

Sometimes living green (and well) is about balance. EcoGrrl shares this, "I admit, I'm a sucker for magazines, and have had hills and valleys with the number of subscriptions I've carried. Seems as soon as I get rid of them, I find a new publication that is fantabulous (and these are mags that are not at the library) like Origin and Yes! and Utne Reader. Honestly, I refuse to read books/magazines online, so that's not gonna happen (it's a tactile and stay-offline thing as I'm online most of the day for my work), but what I've done is count how long it takes me to read the magazine and if I've actually cut anything out of it (I'm a clipper). If it's taken me (less than) 15 minutes to read, or I've not cut out an article/recipe/garden tip, I don't renew the subscription. It's the only thing I get in the mail as I'm off the junk mail and my bills are all on auto-pay :) "

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @iamagoodsteward
- It's Wednesday -- you know what that means! #CTWW We support fossil fuel divestment and values based investing!

From @dusdifissette
- Last week's #green challenge = fantastic, grew sprouts & made Kombucha & bottled for winter! This weeks Challenge accepted!

From @HerbGir1972
- celebrating right now calmly crocheting hats for my #CapsForCancer 2013 Event. #MagazinesCancelled
- How much Mail Waste do you pile up each week...? Month...? Year...? It does add up. Do you receive magazines you rarely get to read? Are they worth your hard earned money just to trash/recycle them? Cancel 1/2 of your subscriptions and you'll be Reducing waste in your home by a great margin.
Go paperless on some bills or even catalogs, You'll be helping to Save the Trees and in return Saving the Earth.

From @GiveTreeGifts
- Treasure Hunter: Thrifter turns castoffs into trendy boutique goods
- 10 tips for helping the ocean at home #CTWW
- Can Plants Produce Polymers for Plastic Cheaply? #CTWW
- 5 Surprising Products That Are Tested On Animals #CTWW

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@_lyal_ @altcon @amotherlife
@beatepdx @beckymcneer @bestrawesome
@biculturalmama @bstoneblog @cfmommies
@changes4charlie @chrysalisdesign @cleansediva
@clothaddicts @counselorholley @craftgal
@crazedkitchen @dehelen @dusdifissette
@earths_choice @eco_novice @ecothrifty
@energysherlock @evelynmccpeters @events4bloggers
@factsabouttrees @familyfocusblog @fey1isleofskye
@florafoster2 @gigivaneyck @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @gr8fulgirl11 @greeneral
@greenglobaltrvl @greeningwestfor @groovygreenlivi
@guayaba @herbgir1972 @hismerecry
@iamagoodsteward @insignifblog @jbjourneys
@jenniharris4 @julialittlebit @kayelleallen
@laalicia @lady_bren @ladyjcmuses
@lorcadamon @mamapoolecooks @marjoriemcatee
@mcbridesorganic @mom2tle @mombloggerplr
@momgamerwriter @mommykoggiboo @mommyladyclub
@mygreenboston @myzerowaste @nebulousmooch
@notasupermom @rckweddings @realityarts
@rulesofgreen @s_m_johnston @sammyobeid
@sgenziuk @shannongrissom @shoppingcharity
@soulfullab @soundless2 @tammycurry
@treesgroup @wencdj @whopaysthepiper
@whywelovegreen @yfnjman @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

How many magazines do you save and read over and over? Do you treasure junk mail, saving it for years? Are there piles of newspapers on your shelf for future reference? Of course not! The fact is, most paper products are briefly used (if at all) and then tossed out. Waste of any kind is bad. Wasting paper products seems especially terrible when we consider the many environmental benefits of living trees. Here's a question to ask ourselves when we feel the lure of a magazine, newspaper or yes, even local ads: Which is more important ... that paper product or reducing CO2 in our atmosphere? That is the bottom line ... and our choice!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Zero Waste Week is less than a week away (September 2nd thru September 8th). Mrs. Green has a pre-event challenge for us designed to raise our awareness. Here you go ...

This week conduct a daily food waste audit. Pay attention to what is being tossed out, how much is thrown away, where it's ending up (compost, city compost, trash bin, etc.) and why it's being tossed out. You might find this Food Waste Diary helpful. If you're feeling truly ambitious, sort out the food waste and weigh it. This challenge is all about realizing just how much food we waste.

Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!

Until next time ...