Riot update January Numbers

I posted about the Riot for Austerity several weeks ago. I joined a group of people who are trying to decrease their consumption of resources by 90% of that of the average American. I have decided that I will start posting my numbers for the Riot on my blog once a month. For the full set of rules and guidelines, visit the Riot site by clicking the link. My numbers will lag behind because my meters are head halfway through the month and the other bills come around that time as well. So today I have my numbers ready for January.

Gasoline: 16.75% of average. Our family of four gets a monthly allotment of 16.6 gal per month if we want to be at an exact 90% reduction. We purchased 27.8 gal in January. Our running total since June 1st is 178.14 gal or  13.4% of US avg. This however does not include air travel which it actually should. Since starting the project I have flown one long haul flight and the rest of my family has flown a total of 3 long haul and 4 short haul round trip flights. I will see if I can figure up these numbers for next month.

Electricity: 21% of average. We used 188 kwh from mid Jan to mid Feb. We pay $15 a month extra for “green” energy. If we could get wind or hydro power we would get a 75% reduction. If it were solar it would be a 50% reduction. Our utility’s green energy is 95% landfill gas and 5% solar and wind. So I don’t even know if I get a reduction.

Heating/cooking: 15.6% of average. We use natural gas for water heating and cooking. We have a natural gas central heater and a natural gas fireplace. We used the fireplace once at Christmas and ran the heater once for two hours just for maintenance. Our gas usage was 13 therms for the month. We have a wood stove if it is really cold inside, lower than 60F. We also have a makeshift solar water heater that does work this time of year if it is really sunny and not too cold.

Garbage: 7% of average. For the month of January our family of four made 13.5lbs of trash and 28.5 lbs of recyclables. Recyclables are counted at 80% since they both decrease resource needs and create pollution from collection and processing. We compost all food waste.

Water: 16% of average. Our water is only measured in kilo-gallons. Mostly we are using 2kgal, but occasionally only one. Our old toilets need replacing and I would love to use rainwater for laundry. We will be working on both of those in the coming months.

Consumer goods: Not sure. I just started tracking this category begining Jan 1st. I spent $120.80 on seeds, goodness what was I thinking? I also spent $79.61 on other stuff. If I don’t count the seeds as consumer goods then we are at 9.5% of avg. If the seeds count 50% because they are homestead expenses, then we are at 16.8%. If they count as consumer goods, well then, we are at 24% of average.

Food: I have never really tracked food. I find it really tedious and would rather guesstimate. The rules recommend that your diet be 70% local, 25% bulk and 5% wet, luxury goods. We are not doing so well in this area. It is a big change from a year ago though, when we bought about 70% wet, luxury, frozen, processed food, 25% bulk and 5% local. I think right now we are doing about 20% local, 50% bulk and 30% wet, luxury.

Overall I feel like we are doing pretty well. I am working on increasing local food, but since grains are not grown in Florida we are doing a lot of bulk buying. With all the seeds I bought, hopefully we will be eating mostly from the garden. I just need to have a good kick in the pants to get the planting done.

Any advice, suggestions, comments?

Marathon of Waste

At my daughters elementary school the parents volunteer to help with a project called morning mile. Each school morning, the kids that participate, get to school 30 min early so they can run laps around the playground. Every lap earns you a straw and five straws is equal to one mile. It is a great activity for kids and helps keep them in shape. Each runner has a paper shoe with their name and every time they reach a milestone (5, 10, 15 miles etc) their shoe advances down the track displayed on the cafeteria wall.  This activity is what gets my child to school every morning.

If you were able to run a minimum of 25 miles between October and February, then you were eligible to participate in the “Five Points of Life Kids Marathon”.  (My daughter has run 75 miles so far. Oh so proud!)

This past Saturday was the marathon. The kids would run 1.2 miles, to add to their 25 miles, for a total of 26.2 miles. It was a huge event and all the elementary schools that had morning mile participated. There was even a regular adult marathon and half marathon the next day. Several businesses participated in the event and a lot of free stuff was handed out. Publix gave away bananas and bottled water. I think the local blood donation center was giving away peanut butter crackers and granola bars.

Here’s the part I did not like. All the waste ended up in trash cans.

Now I can’t expect everyone to compost. And I don’t even know what could have reasonably been done with all the banana peels, but gimme a break! Water bottles not getting recycled? It was a crime I tell you a crime! The event was on a college campus, and a college that is “going green”. So where were the recycle bins? We did not recycle any water bottles. Crime you say? No, because I have taken a pledge not to drink bottled water unless I am dying of dehydration. So we did not even need to recycle. We actually brought our own refillable, reusable, washable. Since it was pretty hot for a run at 3pm, my daughter did have a paper cup of cold water from a water jug(refillable 5 gal kind). I guess we need to remember to bring our own cups wherever we go if we want to seriously cut down on trash.

 So I intend to write those involved and let them know how disappointed I am in their lack of environmental forethought. Maybe it will make a difference for the next event.

Saturday Summary Week 3

Three weeks down and 49 to go for my “Year of Wearing Garbage”.  I’ve had no slip ups in the past two weeks. This challenge is actually really easy. So why do it? Well, It is really more about being able to say I could do it. It is about bringing attention the vast amounts of resources wasted. To show that there are so many clothes thrown away that someone could have a large wardrobe of perfectly useful and sometimes really nice clothes just from what people throw away. The real challenge is telling people I know that I am doing this. I am slowly divulging my challenge to friends and acquaintances. It is a little hard to just out myself. But I am working on it.

Last week I gave a young lady at my church a shopping bag full of really cool teenager/college type clothing. It was all way too small for me. She was able to pick out what she wanted and then share the rest with her friends. I told her Dad where the clothing came from and that I was doing my challenge, but I am not sure if that info traveled down to her or her friends. I love being able to share  the bounty.

From the bounty of clothing I’ve accumulated so far,  I discovered a velour top. A very outdated and ill-fitting top, but nice velour. As I mentioned last week, I made a hat from a shrunken sweater. Well it was a little itchy, and I wanted to find another garment to make into a hat. Since I am doing the Riot for Austerity, my house is occasionally cold. We only heat when it is freezing outside, which has only been about six times this winter. When we do heat, we use our wood stove, and use downed wood. When we don’t heat it can be 60F inside and I like to wear a hat to keep warm. So here is what I did after finding the velour pullover.

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I turned it inside out and cut the sleeves off. Then I cut along the side seam on the left side. Then using mostly the piece from the back of the garment, I wrapped it around my head to see how big to make it. I cut off the excess and pinned what was left, and tried it on, to make sure it fit. It is actually the back of the top folded in half with a little extra added to the side. I sewed a seam up the side of the whole thing, the side being the bottom part of picture number 3.

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Then I opened it up so the seams were in the middle, as in pic #4. Then I sewed across the top to finish off the hat. When I turned it right side out it looks like pic #5.  

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Picture #6 shows the two sleeves sewn together at the shoulder ends to form sort of a tube. Picture #7 is what it looks like turned right side out. A scarf!

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This is the finished hat and scarf. Not really needed today, but has been useful over the past several days. Especially since my cold still hasn’t gone away.

Goods 4 Girls

The feminine hygiene industry has set us all up to believe that the waste that is generated by our monthly cycles is a necessity. They would like to set that up in Africa as well. There is one woman out there who does not think this is a good idea and is doing something about it.

Deanna Duke is an amazing woman, not only can she get people to turn their thermostats way down,  eat local food, wipe with washable toilet paper and give up on disposable feminine hygiene products, but she can rally tons of people to care about feminine hygiene in Africa. Deanna has a blog called Crunchy Chicken . I don’t know when she started her blog, but I have been following it since last April. She is a passionate woman and really gets things done. After researching this topic and blogging about it, she immediately set up a website to help these women.
Here is what she had to say on her blog:
Last Monday, I posted my environmental concerns regarding the disposable sanitary napkins being sent to South African girls as part of a campaign being led by Proctor & Gamble. While I applaud their effort in helping the girls there continue to go to school, I am unsettled by sending over so many disposables into areas where incineration is the main method of disposal.

What are the big problems with this? Well, the first thing that ran through my mind when I saw one of the commercials was the environmental impact. In most of these areas, they have no solid waste treatment programs. In other words they burn their waste.As such, products that have synthetic components (like Always pads and Tampax tampons) would be incinerated. In fact, the bathrooms Femcare are building most likely will have small, sealed incinerators near the bathroom. Quite handy, I suppose, but what about the pollutants emitted from burning these products? They get inhaled by the students and teachers. The last time I checked, the pads came in a plastic wrapper so those would need to be burned as well as any other packaging.Additionally, there are cultural issues at play here, where in some parts of Africa it is believed that one’s blood can be used to cast spells. Hence, the incinerators being built near the bathrooms – they would be necessary lest you fear that your used pad be taken for nefarious purposes.

Many of Crunchy Chicken’s readers have pledged to make pads or buy them already made to donate to the cause. If this is something you are interested in, please check out the new site  Good4girls . There are links to patterns you can down load, as well as links to people who make pads for purchase.

And while we are talking about feminine hygiene…..how do you deal with your own? Or if you are a man, how do the women in your life deal with theirs. Using reusable products is not only cheaper in the long run, but so much better for the environment even considering the water used to wash them. For most healthy women, a regular wash in cold water is all that is needed. Some women soak their pads in water and then pour everything in the washer and spin the water off, then add more clothing to make a regular sized load.

I use the Diva Cup  .  Crunchy ran a Diva Cup challenge back in April of last year and I decided I would take the plunge. So I bought myself a cup and have been using it ever since. Now it isn’t a piece of cake to use, but it is a cake walk to care for. And while you can’t eat it like you can cake, it  just makes you happy every time you see it knowing there is no more waste.

Sick

I’m still sick and still going through disposable tissues like crazy. My head is full of gunk and I just can’t do an interesting post right now. Please stay tuned

Wardrobe Refashion

The Pledge

I, Cindy in FL, AKA Wasteweardaily, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of “new” manufactured items of clothing, for the period of  6 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings! Signed Cindy in FL

6 month pledge

I have officially signed the pledge provided by the Wardrobe Refashion blog site.   I  made a commitment to myself and my blog that I will not buy any clothing new or used for the period of one year, but the site only gives you the option of 2/4 or 6 months. You can of course renew your vows after each time period has expired. If you are interested, visit the site by clicking on the icon.

I also vowed to pack up all my clothing that did not come from a dumpster and start over, so as to have a 100% cast-off, reject, garbage wardrobe. Well, I had been doing really well with that. Finding clothes like crazy in dumpsters, but when I got sick this past weekend and was just freezing, well I put on a hat. I didn’t realize until I had been wearing the hat for 2 days that it was not a dumpster hat. My only consolation is that I did actually sew it myself. But even considering that, it does not fit within the parameters of my rules. Not because I made it and didn’t find it, but because I purchased the material new. So since I have not found a hat, I decided I needed to make a hat out of something I found in the dumpster. Here is what I found and how I made my hat.

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I found an Abercrombie and Fitch, mostly wool sweater, that had seen better and bigger days. The whole  sweater was shrunken or felted. Someone may have thrown it in their washer or dryer by accident or even on purpose not knowing what would happen. The body of the sweater was the same size as my head so I thought I would just cut off the sleeves and the top.  I put it on  and tried to pin along the curve of my head to get it to fit just right. Then I sewed it together using two strands of embroidery thread and an embroidery needle. I think it came out fairly well. It has some bumps in it where it just doesn’t fit that well, but I may still be able to fix it. It was a little itchy on my forehead so I think I will be making a more comfy hat a soon as I find some polar fleece that has been tossed.

Facial tissues vs Hankies

http://www.kleercut.net/en/

Since joining the Riot4austerity last July, I decided to make a switch to hankies. For some reason I had quite a few already that I wasn’t using, and I purchased a few more at thrift stores. I have been very happy with my decision. Until Saturday, when I got sick. The kind of sick where you are sneezing and your nose runs like a faucet. Well, after a couple hankies were soaked, I decided maybe illness is one of those times when you *should* use Kleenexes. So I decided to do a little research and came to the conclusion that I personally will never purchase another Kleenex product again. The following is from the Kleercut site.

Kimberly-Clark Fails Environment in 100 Top Corporate Citizens Ranking

Kleenex manufacturer destroys Canada�s Boreal ForestVancouver February 15, 2007 Paper giant Kimberly-Clark received low marks on the environmental protection in a recent ranking of the top 100 corporate citizens by Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine on the issue of environmental protection. The world�s largest manufacturer of tissue products including Kleenex uses large amounts of pulp from destructive logging operations in Canada�s Boreal Forest. The company has been under the spotlight recently for circulating misleading information about the company�s environmental impacts to its shareholders, customers and the US Securities Exchange Commission.

 

I pretty much had stopped buying the fancy tissues a long time ago and had switched to the house brand of our local grocery store that carries a line of recycled content paper products. Here is what they have to say about their facial tissues:

These soft and strong tissues are economical for you and made from 100% recycled material with at least 10% of the paper from post-consumer sources, which means it’s environmentally friendly, too. Plus, during the manufacturing process, a chlorine-free whitening process is used without inks, dyes or fragrances. This process is safer for both your family and the earth. Even during cold season, you can toss away the guilt when using Publix GreenWise Market Facial Tissues, knowing they’re nose-friendly, as well as earth-friendly.

Well I am not convinced you can ever toss away the guilt, but I agree that you can feel less guilty. And considering how many tissues I have gone through in these past three days, there is no way I could even have enough hankies to do the job. Well that isn’t really true. If I had 100 or maybe 200 hankies I could get through this cold, but lets face it most people don’t have that many on hand.

So what would I do differently next cold? Well I may stock up on more hankies and I may even make some of my own out of men’s shirts I find in the dumpster. I could even make some really pretty ones using women’s blouses.

For anyone out there that is appalled at the idea of using hankies, just remember there are proper ways of using them. If you take one with you everywhere you go, then when you have an occasional sneeze or crusted feeling nose you can take action. Most nose blows are not germ filled as in the cold or flu virus. I hate to tell you this but germs  are everywhere and some of them  are actually good for us. I think a lot of people don’t know that. Actually, according to this  Wikipedia site, germs are bacteria and viruses are not germs. Wow, I did not even know that. It also says that most people consider viruses to be germs. So there you go. If you do have a cold, something that is contagious, the best thing to do is only use your hanky once, washing your hands immediately. If you are unable to throw your hanky in the laundry right away or if you have to touch it again for any reason you should wash your hands. This is a reliable method for not transmitting disease. If you put a used hanky in your pocket with cold germs on it, just think petri dish.

Here are some links with information on the impact of tissue products:http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/05-03/clear-cut-old-growth-forests-article.htmhttp://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.asphttp://money.cnn.com/2006/09/26/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_gunther.fortune/http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/01/wipe_responsibl.phpTo download a wallet-sized guide to buying green paper products, follow this link:http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/tissueguide/walletcard.pdfSomething to think about…

  • If every household in the United States replaced just one box of virgin fiber facial tissues (175 sheets) with 100% recycled ones,
  • we could save 163,000 trees.
  • If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees.
  • If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.
  • If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.

Summary Saturday week one

I’ve made it through the first week of the challenge with no problems. As long as you don’t count not having a slip from the dumpster.  Basically I had said underclothing was exempt from the challenge. I hardly ever wear slips, and was not anticipating the need. Sadly a  friend passed away and I was an usher at the memorial service. I had saved a dress I found in the dumpster quite some time ago and it was a thin polyester material that really needed a slip. It was black with small red roses and green leaves. It wasn’t a designer dress by any means, but a Kathy Lee from I think Walmart or Kmart. A friend told me once that dresses with little buttons all the way down the front were out of fashion, well I thought it looked nice. I considered having a picture taken, but it just seemed inappropriate to brag that you wore dumpster clothing to a funeral. She was such a wonderful woman and all who knew her will miss her.

The coat that I found in the dumpster last week did not survive the wash very well. Patches of the PVC coating came off and left the coat very worn looking. I was giving some thought to just wearing it inside out since the inside is fairly nice. I would need to remove the label which would end up being smack in the middle of my upper back if I leave it. 

coatBefore img_0203.jpgAfterimg_0206.jpgDetailimg_0223.jpgInside out

Yesterday I did four loads of laundry, 95% dumpster finds. I hung them all out on the clothesline and they all dried. It was a beautiful day. I still have two loads to do today to wash all the clothes I found Tuesday. I had a very successful haul. I finally have enough pants now. Only one pair of jeans, but five other pair that fit. I even found five pair of socks, and a pair of sandals my size.

My daughter said she wanted to do this challenge with me. Then I reminded her that it would mean she could not wear any of the clothes she got for Christmas. So she said she will do it for one month. We haven’t picked which month. What I did realize is that even if my family will not pack up *all* their clothing and start over with just dumpster finds, that we can still make a compact to not buy any new clothing, maybe not even any used clothing for a year. I already bought my daughter some clothing from the thrift store this year. She is going to a wedding with my Mom and I bought her a pretty purple velvet dress. But then we found a long black skirt in the dumpster and a beautiful pink blouse that was in a box in the attic and she decided she would wear that instead. Live and learn.

Myfavoritedumpster

So far no difficulties in finding enough clothing to wear. I have two pair of identical jeans that are definitely from the dumpster but are pre-2008. I have not found any jeans this year yet that fit. It may take me quite awhile to find a wardrobe of clothes that I really love. Meanwhile I will wear clothes that fit but may not be my style.

img_0215.jpgThese are Myfavoritedumpsters

I went to myfavoritdumpster today to fill out my wardrobe. When I first arrived there were four people already there digging through the contents. One woman was already in the bin searching through the entire contents. She had come on a bicycle and had brought a boom box. It was nice to have company and dive accompanied by music. I climbed into the dumpster that was not occupied and started selecting choice bits. I found tights, a leotard and a pair of ballet slippers all in good condition. Sadly they were too small for my girl, but I know plenty of others. There was a lot of kids clothes and several nice little girl dresses, all too small again for mine.

Those four left and I took my opportunity to snap a picture. I returned to the second dumpster to peruse it’s contents when and a couple showed up who I had seen before, but not in some time. Another couple showed up and the man climbed into the bin and I couldn’t get too much more stuff standing by the side, so I climbed in too. Everyone was really friendly asking sizes and did you like this piece or that one. The second couple were college students looking for really cool clothing. They didn’t take much and they didn’t stay long. Another woman showed up that knew the couple that was still there. I asked if they knew of any other dumpsters that were this good. They didn’t confess to knowing of any. The woman who had just shown up showed me her “tool” for effective extraction of select goods. My husband tells me it is called a gaff. (and not the kind cross-dressers wear). It is a tool that fishermen use to hook the big fish. She said it came in really handy.

Before I knew it I had been there almost an hour and a half, but I really scored a ton of  usable clothing. I can’t wait to sort through it and wash it and find out what all I got. What I don’t keep for myself I give to friends or donate. I have a large box of clothing piling up with just that in mind.

img_0219.jpgMy trunk full of boxes and bags of thrift store rejects.

The Challenge Starts Today!

MY YEAR OF WEARING GARBAGE

Ready or not, my challenge to only wear clothing I find in a dumpster, starts today. I guess I am ready. I can manage with what I have so far. I won’t make it on the best dressed list and I even think I won’t make it on the worst dressed list. The funny thing is that the clothes I find are for the most part, not ones I would buy. Even if they were 25cents at a garage sale. That isn’t because they aren’t nice enough. In some cases it is because they are too nice, too preppy, too dressy. I am a very plain girl and mostly I wear jeans and t-shirts. Sadly I had to pack away all my tie dye shirts, probably a dozen of them, not to be worn for a year.

boxes of clothes not to wear for a yearBoxes of clothing to pack away for the year)

I made another trip to myfavoritedumpster yesterday with my kids. They really love the adventure. I brought home a box full of clothes. I found a really nice looking coat that is grey/silver PVC on the outside and fleece and nylon on the inside. When I was sorting clothes last night for washing, I read the care label for the coat. It said wipe with damp sponge. WHAT? What kind of care is that? Oh and it also said don’t dry clean. Well I would not have done that anyway, but what kind of real option do you have for washing this thing? I figure I will give it a spin in my front loader all by itself and see what happens. Except for ruining my washer what is the worst that could happen?

coatclotheslineThe coat, and washed dumpster clothes)

So my “new” wardrobe is made of of quite a few long sleeved button up shirts. I have maybe six sweaters, two pair jeans, tan pants, black dressy slinky pants(in photo on previous post) and two pair crop pants. I have a few pair of shorts that I don’t need yet, and I have about three night gowns and a PJ set(long pants and a tank). I also found a thick terry cloth bathrobe. So I do have quite a lot compared to some people, but not anywhere near as much as I had… say… a month ago. 

closetfolded clotheshanging and folded clothes in my “new wardrobe”)

I want this blog to be both interesting and informing. If you have any questions or want to see more photos of specific things, let me know. If you have any ideas for things you want me to post about, also let me know. I don’t have a shortage of ideas yet, but want to post about what people want to read. Peace