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Heather & Renee discuss waste reduction on Nightline

We're just thrilled with this segment and grateful to Nightline for taking the time to delve into household waste reduction. Really, you can start working on reduce, reuse, recycle, precycle today -- and we're going to source out some of the products we referenced to get you started.

Food scrap composting: I use a stainless steel kitchen compost pail (which I've seen available in numerous online and brick & mortar stores) and the Earth Machine backyard composter. For more info about food scrap composting, check out EnviroMom's composting video. And honestly, you don't need a pretty, new bin for the kitchen. We used a large Rubbermaid tub with a tight-fitting lid for a long time and it worked just as well, but the kids couldn't open and close it.

Cloth napkins: Those cute lunchbox napkins that Renee talked about? She made them, and they are super easy. The blue napkins with brown polka dots are made from thermal knit fabric (you know, what those old long johns are made of), so no sewing is required because the material doesn't fray. But you can also find cloth napkins everywhere, particularly at garage and rummage sales. Cocktail-sized napkins are perfect for kids.

Bathroom recycling can: The one I used is from IKEA, and I made the label. Any smallish can will work -- the key is to have something in your bathroom to catch those recyclables!

Bins for plastics: Here in Portland, we can recycle just about any kind of plastic through Master Recycler Plastics Round-ups (which are temporarily on-hold due to the ailing plastics recycling market, which is directly influenced by the ailing economy). So we set up a system for the Lear Family using various bins purchased through Storables. We didn't have time to work with the Lears to reuse bins they might already own, which is far preferable than buying new. You can read more about setting up a similar home recycling system here.

There are so many people to thank for making this segment possible and sharing the reduce/reus/recycle love nationwide:

  • Mark, Wendy & Ike Lear, who so bravely let us come into their house and dig through their garbage! Three months later, and they are total composting converts!
  • New Seasons Market, who let us and the crew roam their store and discuss food packaging alternatives. New Seasons is a model for the way grocery stores should be run -- locally and sustainably. 
  • J. Lauren Norris, who coordinates the Master Recycler program in Portland, and is our recycling mentor. She taught us everything we know.
  • Jeanne Roy, the woman who only generates one can of garbage each year! Jeanne and her husband, Dick, are well-known in Portland for creating the Northwest Earth Institute and are model low-carbon citizens.
  • Our families, who put up with the frenzy in the days leading up to the shoot. Love you.
  • And, of course, everyone at Nightline!

Please post any questions below so that everyone reading can benefit from the shared knowledge. We're happy to try and help you start down the path to household waste reduction!


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