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One Can Challenge: Adult bedroom

Enviromomchallenge_2Next stop on the EnviroMom One Can A Month Challenge: the adult bedroom. Put on the Barry White CD. Add a little mood lighting. We're going into your bedroom. But don't worry. We're not going to try and pitch a crazy idea like reusing old condoms: "Just wash with white vinegar, blow them up like balloons, and there you have it: instant party!!" Really, that's a joke.

Note also that there will be a fair amount of overlap with what's covered in an adult and kid bedroom. We hope you're not feeling too overwhelmed, and after today, we'll take a few days' break, then focus on the kitchen next week.

Adult Bedroom

Here are some of the waste items that are typically generated in an adult bedroom:

  • Reading materials: magazines; those irritating subscription cards that always fall out of magazines; newspapers
  • Clothing & accessories: plastic dry cleaning bags, wire hangers and tissues from dry cleaning; paper sales tags, stickers, the plastic connectors from new clothing purchases; shoe boxes, silica gel packs, tissues, cardboard shoe forms; receipts; shopping bags; outgrown, stained or old clothing.
  • Birth control/accoutrements of your sex life: condoms and wrappers; lubricants; handcuffs; edible underwear, etc.
  • Other: Double-sided sticky tape from lint brushes; used facial tissues and band-aids.

Here are some ways to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE these items:

Paper Products/Reading Materials

REDUCE the amount of paper reading products you get. While many publications have online versions, take it from the bookworm I am, it's not the same reading online as holding paper in your hands. Cut down on the number of magazine and paper subscriptions you get. Make sure the ones you do get, you really, really love. With those, organize a magazine swap with friends and neighbors. You finish reading yours, and hand off to your friend. They finish theirs, they hand off to you. We still get to read all the latest titillating tidbits about Paris and Nicole, and whether Britney is actually, finally getting her life back together, but less paper used overall.

REDUCE sticky lint brush tape: Just use a cloth lint brush!

REUSE shoe boxes. Organize your shoes in your closet so they don't get all banged up. You will also be asked every year for at least one shoe box to make a diorama in each of your kids' classes from preschool on up to high school graduation. So you will need shoe boxes. Lots of them.

RECYCLE the paper products once everyone you possibly know has read them. I read somewhere that magazines are one of the least recycled paper products. Often people get hung up on early recycling notions and think glossy paper can't be recycled, and that's not true anymore. Most paper products coming from an adult bedroom can be recycled:

  • Magazines
  • Subscription cards
  • Clothing tags
  • Shoe box tissue and cardboard
  • Any paper wrapping from dry cleaning
  • Receipts (fax type paper can be recycled)

REDUCE disposable tissue use: Try hankies! While we haven't entirely given up disposable tissues, we have greatly reduced our use of tissues by using hankies much of the time: cutup old t-shirts, old flannel shirts, washed Kirkland wipes -- all of these make great hankies.

Birth control & sex toys

I don't know about you all, but my husband and I don't really need any bells & whistles. We're just grateful that we still have a sex life! For birth control, I have an IUD, so no need for condoms, diaphragms, spermicide goop, etc. Granted, birth control is a very personal matter, so do what works for your family, and forgive yourself if there's a waste stream generated. If you do opt for sex toys, buy high quality so they last and last and last...whoops, got distracted there.

Clothing & accessories/dry cleaning

REDUCE the amount of new clothing and accessories coming into our adult lives. We do not need to be slaves to fashion, particularly in light of this season's latest atrocity: gladiator sandals. Buy second-hand, buy classic, buy quality and it will last. If you need a reminder of how following fashion will betray you, go take a look at what you were wearing in your high school yearbook. Unlike our children who are constantly growing and changing sizes, hopefully us grown-ups are staying within a few pounds range, and not needing to change sizes very often. Remember your reusable shopping bags to cut down on new bags from stores.

REUSE and RECYCLE dry cleaning materials: Without a doubt, there's a lot of waste generated in the dry cleaning process. Find out if your dry cleaner will take back and reuse the hangers and bags. If not, most grocery stores will recycle clean plastic bags of this type. We are fortunate in that we don't wear clothing that requires dry cleaning on a regular basis, so that has eliminated a big waste stream in our family. Some folks can't do this, so shop around and see if you can find a dry cleaner who will reuse and/or recycle. Wire hangers, which are metal, can often be recycled curbside or at a recycling depot.

TRASH: stickers from new clothing and socks; silica packets from new shoe boxes; double-sticky tape from lint brushes; used tissues; used band-aids; used condoms and wrappers.

So this leaves precious little in your can. Nothing too yucky or smelly. Nothing bulky. Easy to only empty once a month. Our adult bedroom garbage can is tiny (on the left); our upstairs recycle bin is bigger and fuller (on the right). This is our total adult bedroom trash from the month of June:

Adult_can Upstairs_recycle What's in your adult bedroom can that I missed? Let's brainstorm on other wastes so that we can all get down to one can a month in this room.


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