What I wore

This is a follow up to my post What to wear. My husband was given a five year pin for working for the same company, for you guessed it, 5 years. There was a dinner party planned for all the people getting pins for various numbers of years. You were supposed to dress up for this occasion and the invitation even said semi-formal or business attire. Due to my challenge, I needed to find something to wear from the garbage. Well I think I did pretty well in my selection. This is what I chose to wear.

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It was very warm outside last Thursday, so I did not want to wear the velvet jacket, but I still wanted some sort of cover-up. While looking for something else, I found this lace jacket that I knew I had but could not find. So I wore it to the event and brought the other jacket for warmth once inside. I never needed the warmer one.

After we arrived and had our picture taken and got drinks, the director from my husbands company called us over. She told my husband that she had a job for him. She thought he should be in charge of organising a bike to work day on Earth Day. I chimed in with “What about walking, busing or carpooling?”. Then she said I should be the co-chair on the project.

After we were seated at a table with four other people and had started eating our dinner, my husband brought up the Earth Day car-less idea. The others at the table were interested in how you could set up a carpooling project so people could find other people who lived near them. If we can figure out a system, we can use it at our church as well. We also discussed cloth grocery bags and how to remember to take them with you.

This was the first event with my husbands company that I actually enjoyed. We had to leave early so I was unable to ask about leftover food, but the Salvation Army was right next door so hopefully they have something worked out with them.

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Riot Update February numbers

I just realized that I needed to post my numbers from February. As part of The Riot For Austerity we usually figure up how we compare to the rest of the country in terms of consumption of resources. We are a family of four, living in the USA,  so our numbers are compared to the average American or average American household. There are seven categories.

Gasoline: We purchased 15.2 gallons in Feb which is 8.4% of average.    Our 9 month cumulative total is 193.2 gallons or 13% of average. And as reported last month, this does not include the airline trips taken in November.

Electric: We used 212 Kwh from Feb 14 to March 14. The average household uses 900 kwh/month so our usage is 23.5% of average.

Therms: We used 11 therms of natural gas from Feb 14 to March 14. The average household uses 83.3 per month or 1000 therms over the season, since much of it is used for heating. We are using no gas heat, but do heat water and cook with gas. Our usage is 13% of average.

Garbage: We created 6.75 pounds of trash and 19 pounds of recyclables in Feb. Recyclables count 80% of trash so we are at 4% of average. The average person creates 4.5 pounds of garbage per day. A typical family of four would then produce 540 pounds of garbage per month. We have the smallest garbage can the city provides and we could go a whole month before our can was full. I put our trash out every two weeks.

Water: We used 1 kilogallon from Feb 14 to March 14. I was so excited to see it drop. We have been at 2 Kg since last Oct. The average person uses 100 gallons of water per day. That is 400 gallons per day for a family of four and 12 Kg a month. Our 1 Kg is 8% of average.

Consumer Goods. We spent atleast $33.84 in Feb which would be 4% of average. That is twp purchases. $20 for bicycle tires and one dinner out when I was sick(excuses, excuses). I will concede that there may be purchases I don’t remember, but even so I am sure we are under 10%. The average American household spends $10,000 a year or $833 a month.

Food: This category is always hard for me. I just guess what I think we eat and spend money on and then I double check what my husband thinks. Last month was 20% local and I think that has increased to 25%. The bulk category has gone from 50% to 45% and I think the wet, conventional, processed food is still at 30%

In summary our gas use dropped in half from Jan to Feb, Electric went up 2.5 percentage points, Nat gas use went down by 2 therms, Garbage has been dropping and went from 7% to 4%. Water use dropped in half. Consumer goods is lower because I just have decided not to buy much. And the food category is pretty much the same with a move in the right direction….towards local!                              

What to Wear


I am hardly ever in a quandary about what to wear. However, my husband will be awarded a five year pin from the company that he works for and we have both been invited to the awards ceremony and dinner. For some reason it is a semi-formal event. Now what are the chances that I will find an appropriate semi-formal outfit? Well excellent if I could go shopping for one. But due to my challenge, I am constrained to do my shopping from a dumpster.

Well, you might not think that I could pull this off. But then you could be wrong. I actually have found quite a few semi and even formal dresses. My only hardships have been finding the right size.

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The above outfits are about the right size except the last one which is a beautiful  white suit in a 22w. I believe I have ruled them all out except for maybe the black sweater and pink skirt. The coral dress actually looks better on me than on the hanger and oddly the silver one looks much better on the hanger. The navy blue dress with the tie in the middle just got laughed at and the brown suit is a tad too small.

I have found a very nice dress that is just one size too large. It is a long dress with a high waist. The material is a dark floral sheer and there is a velvet ribbon along the bodice. It is sleeveless and very modest in front, but it does have a plunging V in the back that means a bra cannot be worn. I’m going to assume that I will be freezing, since I always am at these kinds of events. I will be wearing a velvet jacket, I think, over the dress. This may be the one I ultimately chose.

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As I have said before, I am not one for high fashion. I am a simple girl who prefers jeans and a t-shirt. Sometimes I enjoy dressing up a bit, but usually not to this extent. I sure hope the food is good. Maybe I will get up the nerve to ask what they are doing with the leftover food.

What do you think of my choice of outfit? I’ll try to have a picture taken of me wearing this ensemble so you can see just how beautiful wearing garbage can be.

Recent Aquisitions

I have been so busy with spring planting, oh and life, that I have not posted for a while. I did another few loads of laundry today and was folding some of the fantastic finds and I thought “I need to photograph some of these and post them”. So I did. If you click on the photos they will enlarge.

My latest trip to myfavoritedumpster yielded an enormous bounty. I found a 100% cotton creme colored king size fitted sheet. No stains and only one small hole that maybe you could get a pencil through.

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I found several dresses  near my size.

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Maybe 6-8 bras in various sizes, a couple that might fit. One is even a wonder bra. I haven’t tried it on yet. No picture of those.

I found a very colorful skirt with black trim and a black shirt to go with it. I wore them to church last Sunday. My minister was awestruck, (she knows about my pledge now). That is, my pledge to wear only clothes I find in the trash.

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I found a bag with material in it and another bag full of ribbon. I found quite a few large pieces of muslin type material, but only took the piece that did not have mildew on it.

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One very exciting thing was a box of brand new canning jar lids and rings. It was like the universe new of my plans to can this summer.

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Every single time I go to this dumpster I am amazed at the things I find. I am in a quandary about wishing the clothes were not thrown in the dumpster. If they were not, then there are a lot of people who would not get free clothing. Sure, I am one of those people, but honestly I can afford to buy what I need. There are people who can’t. I just wish the clothes could go to the people who really need them. I also wish the people who really need them did not have to dig them out of a dumpster. There has to be some other way for this to work. I’m just not sure yet what that is.

Do Not Mail 

Have you ever received a catalog and thought, “Why do they send me this, I’ll never order any of this stuff.” After saying that do you then throw the catalog in the recycle bin or worse the trash, and then forget about it till they send you yet another catalog? Well, there really is more you could do. You could call the 800 number at the back of the catalog and tell them you don’t want their catalog sent to you anymore. You could do that for every catalog you get. Well you say, “I get 100 different catalogs a month. There is no way I am calling 100 different companies. It is their waste anyway not mine”. Well if there is something you could do to stop it, it is your responsibility and your waste as well.

I was grateful to find Catalog Choice. I was able to enter all the catalogs I received into their database and finally am only getting a couple catalogs a week. There are a few companies that do not honor Catalog Choice and I will be calling one of them tonight to give them a few choice words. You are able to keep getting whichever ones you want, specifying those you don’t want. They even let you change your mind.

Now you say hey, “If they only did that for junk mail”. Or “What about a do not mail list like the do not call list?”  Well it is up to you and me and our Government to make that happen. If you would like to support legislation to help stop unwanted junk mail, check out this site. DO NOT MAIL.

Five years after the national Do Not Call Registry became the most popular consumer rights bill in history, conservation group ForestEthics launched its campaign for a Do Not Mail Registry to give Americans the choice to stop wasteful, annoying and environmentally destructive junk mail that also fosters identity theft. Please support this by signing their petition.

Recycling your catalogs and junk mail is not the answer. Most catalogs and junk mail are printed on virgin paper products. That means trees were cut down to send you mail you did not want. 100 million trees a year are cut down just to make junk mail. Save a tree, save a lot of trees. Stop the junk mail. Stop the waste.

In-Flight Recycling: Rethinking trash

One of my readers asked if I knew what airlines did with all their empty water bottles. I did some on-line research and found a lot of really useless information. A few things were interesting like this blog by a Delta airlines employee that is gung ho recycling.   

Delta Air Lines Blog | In-Flight Recycling: Rethinking trash Here is an excerpt.
One June 1, 2007, Delta became the first US airline to launch a comprehensive recycling program for our domestic flights into Atlanta, Georgia. Flight Attendants collect Aluminum cans, plastic bottles, “Enjoy” plastic trays, plastic beverage cups as well as newspapers and magazines for recycling. Catering and Cabin Service crews play a critical roll in the program by ensuring the materials are placed into dedicated recycling dumpsters.

I did not find any other glowing reports and sadly according to this article “Trash Landings: How Airlines and Airports Can Clean Up Their Recycling Programs”, The NRDC says:

The airline industry threw out 9,000 tons of plastic in 2004, and enough newspapers and magazines to bury a football field more than 230 feet deep. Nationwide, U.S. airports generated 425,000 tons of waste in 2004 — a figure expected to increase nearly 45 percent by 2015. Each passenger today leaves behind 1.3 pounds of trash, the researchers found. Seventy five percent of this waste is recyclable or compostable. Yet the industry-wide recycling rate is 20 percent or less — one third less than the U.S. average as a whole.

Now, that article was written several years ago, so things may have changed a little. Being green is becoming more popular and profitable. What I found out, is that some airlines do a little recycling and some don’t do any. It seems that Delta has the best recycling program right now. I flew Delta back in November and was impressed by the flight attendant’s efforts to collect recyclables. If you want to read more information about different airlines recycling policies, read the article at this link. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1594/is_5_13/ai_99118806

My personal policy is that if I have anything that is recyclable, I will carry it to wherever it will get recycled. Sometimes that means I carry cans or bottles in my purse or backpack until I get home or to a recycle bin.

Refashion with trash

I was able to visit myfavoritedumpster on Thursday. Then Friday it rained all day long. There were even at least 4 tornadoes here in North Florida. It is always best to go before it rains, because if you go after you may run into a lot of wet clothes.

I have broadened my vision in regards to what I decide to bring home. I signed up for Wardrobe Refashion and need to refashion something. So my sights are set on finding garments that have interesting fabrics or patterns. So I am going to be working on coming up with ways to combine pieces of clothing and make new ones.

I have spent several hours recently at the fabric store looking at patterns. I’m especially looking for ones that can be pieced together from two, three, or four different garments. I also am waiting for the patterns to go on sale. I have a couple that I could use, but can always use more. If you were wondering, I will not be buying any fabric, or even using any from my stash, to make clothing. All homemade clothing will be made from fabric and/or garments found in the trash.

There are several websites that talk about remaking clothes. This site http://community.livejournal.com/t_shirt_surgery, is all about how to remake t shirts. If your shirt is too big, too small, has a hole, a stain or is ugly, check out this site for some inspiration.

When I decide what I will be refashioning, I will post pictures of the before and when I finish, the after. If you know of any great sites, fill me in. Thanks.

BYOB-Bring Your Own Bottle

I recently wrote about all the waste produced at a local marathon. I emailed the race coordinators and this was the reply:

Cindy,

I wanted to thank you for bringing that to our attention. We plan on working with the city and our sponsors to make our race greener next year. We hope that the city will work with us to put recycling bins along the course and especially at the finish area. I do know after you brought it to our attention at the race site we started putting the bottles in separate bags to recycle them.

Thank you for participating in the Kids Marathon, we hope to see you at a greener event next year!

I am pleased that they intend to do better next year, but still, I don’t know how recycling didn’t occur to them in the first place. I have not heard from Publix yet. I sent them an email letting them know I was disappointed with their lack of foresight and involvement in getting the water bottles they donated recycled.

So I thought I would dredge up some facts about plasctic water bottles and bottled water. The internet can be a difficult place to do research and find reliable sources for facts. I will try to reference where I can. I found several sites that have campaigns to either end or reduce the use of bottled water. I personally took a pledge to carry my own water or to request tap water whenever I am away from home. I did that some months ago, but would like to pledge again via my blog. Please join me in pledging not to buy bottled water.

link: http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org/campaign/think_outside_the_bottle_pledge

I pledge to Think Outside the Bottle, which means:Opting for public tap water over bottled water; and Supporting the efforts of local officials who prioritize strong public water systems over bottled water profits.

Signed by:
Waste Wear Daily
Cindy in FL

 Because water is a human right and not a commodity to be bought and sold for profit;
 Because bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water and undermining people’s confidence in public water systems;
 Because up to 40% of bottled water in the U.S. and Canada is sourced from municipal tap water;

 Because some bottlers have run over communities’ concerns and the environment when they extract water and build bottling plants to get local spring and ground water;

 Because bottled water travels many miles from the source, results in the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels, and contributes to the billions of plastic bottles ending up in our landfills;

 Because worldwide there is a need for investments in public water systems to ensure equal access to water, a key ingredient for prosperity and health for all people; and

 Because solutions to ensuring water as a fundamental human right require people acting together and standing up for public water systems,

Here are some facts I found about bottled water. 

According to this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/magazine/27Bottle-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Americans will throw out more than two million tons of PET bottles this year. Even when recycled, it is hard to turn scrap PET into new bottles. More virgin material is always necessary. PET is a petroleum product; it comes from oil. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that 18 million barrels of crude-oil equivalent were needed to replace the bottles we chucked in 2005, bottles that were likely shipped long distances to begin with —from Maine or Calistoga or Fiji.

The following is from   http://www.container-recycling.org/plasfact/bottledwater.htm

But the price that consumers are paying for the bottled water itself pales in comparison to the price they’re paying for the environmental consequences of manufacturing, transport, and disposal of the bottles. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that making bottles to meet the US demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels [Correction: 15 million barrels] of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.

Transport and disposal of the bottles adds to the resources used, and water extraction – which is concentrated in communities where bottling plants are located – adds to the strains bottled water puts on our ecosystem.

What happens to plastic single-serving water bottles after they’re drained?

Only about one in six plastic water bottles sold in the US in 2004 was recycled, leading to a national recycling rate of about 17%. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) 4637 million pounds (2103 million kg) of PET beverage, food, and non-food bottles were sold in 2004. Of the 803 million pounds (364 million kg) that were converted to clean flake:

• 298 million pounds (135 million kg) were exported, primarily to Asia

• 505 million pounds (229 million kg) were used domestically to make new products such as polyester jackets, carpet, film, strapping and new PET bottles.

Only a small percentage of PET bottles sold are used to make new plastic bottles – approximately 4%. The paucity of closed-loop recycling means that new water bottles must be manufactured almost entirely from virgin petroleum resin, consuming vast amounts of energy and resources. Increasing the quantity of bottles containing recycled content would greatly reduce energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

The Coca-Cola Company has committed to using recycled content in 10% of all their plastic beverage bottles sold in North America. PepsiCo has committed to using 10% recycled content in their plastic soft drink and water bottles sold in the US. Other bottled water producers are silent on the issue. Although both Coca-Cola and Pepsi met their recycled content goals in 2005, plastics recycling experts doubt they will reach them in 2006 due to the lack of supply of collected scrap bottles.

The following facts come from, I think, someone else’s blog. Initially, I had seen theses facts somewhere, but could not locate them again or their source, so I just copied and pasted. I really wanted to show current data on annual consumption and lack of recycling. In comparison to the above 2004 figures, you can see that recycling rates are declining. This has been happening for the past ten years.       

 …bottled water (in all its flavors) has become one of the most consumed, yet least recycled beverages. For example, it is estimated that in 2005 alone approximately 30 billion plastic water bottles were purchased, with only about 12% recycled (in part due to out-dated deposit laws). The remaining 25 billion bottles were either landfilled, littered or incinerated. Obviously that’s a lot of bottles, but statistics involving “billions of bottles per year” can be difficult to put into perspective.

In summary, bottled water is evil. Well that is a personal opinion. It does seem that the facts point to bottled water use being out of control. For the most part bottled water is just filtered tap water which you can make yourself, with a filter, for a lot less. Using your own refillable container, whether it be plastic, glass or metal cuts down on the amount of disposables manufactured and eventually not recycled.

So please say “NO THANK YOU” to bottled water.

Quirky, Goofy, Tag, You’re It

I so wanted to post about something really important or educational, but it seems like today is not the day for that. I’ve been tagged with a quirky meme by Alexah at http://artbystrongheart.wordpress.com/

Here are the rules of the meme:

1. Link to the person that tagged you. 2. Post the rules on your blog. 3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. 4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. 5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Here are my six quirky non-important habits/things:

1. I like to plan and start projects but I rarely like to finish them.

2. I memorized “the definition of a function” in 7th grade and have never forgotten it.

3. I don’t like to put things away, but I get frustrated when things are not where they belong.

4. My first car was a bright yellow Toyota Corolla (I wish I still had it).

5. My first job was selling clothing at Lerners. I was 16 and made $3.35/hour.

6. A year ago, I did not even know what a blog was. 

I don’t ever participate in those emails where you have to “forward this message to ten people in the next five minutes or you will have bad luck for 93 years”.  I don’t exactly feel like a Meme is the same thing, but on the otherhand, it just feels weird to me to forward this on to six people when I really am very new to blogging. So I’ll just let it end with me and it can continue on in another vein.

I guess the important stuff will have to wait another day.