Reduce, Recycle, Rot

25 Tue, 2011 § 9 Comments

We are pretty mindful consumers.  We eat seasonally, locally when possible, we do not have a lot of extra stuff & try to recycle — even in SLC, which did not make it easy.  Recycling drop-offs were not convenient — & glass drop-offs nearly non-existence — so some weeks were better than others.  Recycling is amazing in Flagstaff though.  Our complex even has two dumpsters reserved just for recycling.

As we have been able to separate our garbage & utilize recycling more, we have realized most of our trash is compost able.  It seems a waste to let it just sit in a landfill.

I have been inspired by a recent article in Sunset & am striving to create a zero waste home.  Obviously zero is not possible, but I am really throwing myself into reducing the amount of waste we transfer.  This means analyzing our day-to-day & being much more critical of our purchases.

I am tackling this room by room, starting with the kitchen.  Rather than inundating you with a lot of details at once — plus I am still initiating changes — I am going to be sharing a few of these at a time.


Our garbage can has become our recycling bin [with the stickers] & our true garbage can for waste is the little guy on top, which sits in the spare bathroom just off of the kitchen.

Making our garbage can so small is forcing us to be incredibly mindful of what goes in it.  No one likes taking the garbage out: the more slowly we fill it = the less often we take it out = the less waste we contribute.


Recycling is great but still creates waste.  If there is a feasible change we can make that means zero waste over recycling, I don’t see why we shouldn’t make it.  If you have recycling, keep a list of what you can & can not recycle near your bin [our list hangs above it in the closet].  This is more efficient because you do not have to guess & you are constantly being reminded of what is waste & what can be reused.  You can obtain this list from the agency responsible for collecting & processing your recycled items.  We cannot recycle glass in our dumpsters; so under the recycle-able list, I keep the page of glass drop-off locations.


I found a cute, ceramic, one-gallon compost bucket that now sits on our counter.  We easily fill it in a day.  Now, we just need to find a useful source for our compost.


Decreasing our waste was not the only inspiration I found in January’s Sunset.

I was also inspired to finally try a green I have wanted to cook with for a couple years now:


Dandelion Greens

Winter Greens & Mushroom Pasta

Dandelion greens are “super cleansers, rich in purifying chlorophyll, & helpful for reestablishing healthy intestinal flora.”  [Terry Walter, Clean Food]  They also boast several medicinal properties.

Dave commented how good this smelled when I was sauteing the vegetables.  Once a hater of mushrooms, he has come around & even craves them occasionally.  I made sure to go light on the greens in his portion; because dandelion greens are naturally bitter, I did not want to over-whelm him.  This dish is composed of one of my favorite combinations: leek, mushrooms, garlic, truffle oil [which I drizzled on top in place of olive oil] — you just can’t go wrong!  We also replaced the ricotta with mozzarella Daiya.  I did not find the greens too bitter & loved what they added to this dish.  Rice spaghetti varied the texture perfectly.

If you have not tried dandelion greens yet, this dish is a great introduction, granted you like mushrooms, leek, etc.


Are there recycling services available in your town?

Ever cooked weeds? 😉

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§ 9 Responses to Reduce, Recycle, Rot

  • Recycling is free and curbside in Cville. What is accepted is pretty broad but only 1 and 2 plastics. I, too, have been on a major campaign to reduce what I bring into the house in the first place. I usually forgo plastic bags for apples and things that I am going to take out of the bag as soon as I get home.
    I haven’t bought garbage bags…ever? I always use grocery bags (collected from those rare times when I forget my cloth bags).
    I grew up composting and still have a hard time throwing food waste away at other people’s houses!
    yum, dandelion greens! Did you pick them or buy them?

    • Allie says:

      You are doing an awesome job! I am having to decide which of the “little things” that create waste we are going to go without, indulge or make ourselves. Yogurt & fermented foods are a big one, which you are becoming a pro at! You made kefir recently, right? I’m bookmarking that. Plastics are so interesting: 2-7 is accepted here, but not 1. Strange. I am foregoing garbage bags as well; it means I will have to clean the bins out occasionally, but I’m ok with it. Dave uses plastic bags to dispose of litter, but I’m going to change that too. I love my mesh produce bags & will talk about them soon. I’m glad you understand my composting concern — it just seems so shameful when it could go to so much good!
      I bought the greens. It’s still a bit cold here, plus I am not sure where to forage to avoid chemical contamination.

  • Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m happy to say that cause it lead me to you site and it’s just beautiful. I’m intrigued with the deodorant. I have a disease in my sweat glands, so I don’t sweat, which is bad, but I would love something that makes my pits smell good. I’ll have to look further into it! Sorry that my first post is about armpits!

    • Allie says:

      Sorry your intro to my blog was about armpits! 😀 My sister-in-law is the same way & doesn’t sweat. I love the deodorant & recommend trying it. Thanks for swinging on over. I’m excited to read more of The Cutting Edge of Ordinary as well as be inspired by your beautiful photography!

  • Natalie says:

    We just got a curbside single-stream recycling program in Lawrence and it’s awesome! I can’t believe anyone would NOT recycle. Colin and I compost and he also put up a bunch of clotheslines in our basement. We hang dry everything and just fluff it in the dryer for a few minutes before wearing. I love feeling like we’re doing our part 🙂

    • Allie says:

      What do you do with your compost? Do you have your own garden/yard? I don’t know what to do with ours! A clothesline is great! That is what we will do once we have our own washer/dryer — which reminds me, you mentioned you have energy-efficient ones, right? Maybe you should do a review on your blog. 😉 I need tips while we are shopping around!
      You definitely do your part — you & Colin both.

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