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Thanks for the link. I do think her audits are really interesting.

Posted by arduous | November 8, 2007 5:11 PM

Seriously, everything you write is waste.

Posted by Michael | November 8, 2007 5:13 PM

It's really, REALLY tempting to agree with 2... But I'm going with 1 (just this time).

Posted by Amelia | November 8, 2007 5:18 PM

Oh, Erica, I assume you read

That's one of my favorite enviro-blogs.

Also about a Seattle-ite.

Posted by arduous | November 8, 2007 5:19 PM

I like arduous' blog too... Even though she wears ugly shoes and is nice to Erica.

I must be in a good mood...

Posted by Amelia | November 8, 2007 5:26 PM

I agree with #1 as well... but I have a couple questions now. If they are looking at their environmental impact, are they going to trade down their SUV to a fuel-efficient vehicle? Or will they keep it and work on riding the bus more? And while there weren't a lot of water bottles, getting a reusable one is a pretty easy fix, and will save you money in the long run.

Does Seattle's trash pickup have a yard waste option, and if so, is it available at apartments/condos? Because I think you can compost pizza boxes now, if I'm not mistaken. I'd love to see some sort of composting pickup offered by the waste management companies, period. There's a lot that I throw out that could easily be composted.

Posted by Jessica | November 8, 2007 5:59 PM

Yes, there's a yard waste option, and you can put pizza boxes in it, along with all your food waste except meat and grease/oils. Soiled napkins and paper towels, coffee grounds, veg trimmings, nutshells, egg shells. Yes, it would be better to compost it yourself, but it's not always practical.

I'm really, really confused about her attitude towards recycling, though. She says she doesn't recycle anything except cardboard. If it's because her apartment house doesn't offer it, that's one thing, but if that's the case, then how does she recycle the cardboard? If she's not recycling because the trash chute is just right there and easy, that's ridiculous, and blows away her entire project in my eyes.

As does the SUV.

Posted by Fnarf | November 8, 2007 6:13 PM

Oh Fnarf...

Posted by Amelia | November 8, 2007 6:54 PM


I'm the author of Brave New Leaf. Thanks for the shout-out! I'm flattered that you guys are enjoying the blog so far.

To answer some of the comments posted here, I'm completely new to being green. Like many in this country, I never really gave it a moment's thought. But then I woke up.

So yes: right now, I drive an SUV, and I don't recycle, but I'm ready to change that. And I'm hoping that by figuring out what the right changes are, and chronicling the process, that I can inspire some other folks to change with me.

So please keep reading, and keep commenting! I'm learning about how to have a more sustainable footprint as I go, so ideas and feedback are welcome...

Posted by MJ | November 8, 2007 7:36 PM

It's YOU?! Nice.

Posted by Amelia | November 8, 2007 7:38 PM

wow. 6 posts. impressive.

Posted by jealous blogger | November 8, 2007 8:42 PM

I like the blog, but seriously -- recycling isn't really optional anymore. I don't know anyone who doesn't recycle. While there are interesting questions to ponder about the energy required to recycle certain materials, you should at least be chucking your aluminum cans in the bin. Of all the choices to make, that one requires the least effort of all...

Posted by seattleeco | November 8, 2007 11:29 PM


That may be true for Seattle (where I understand both you and the blogger are), but recycling is very tough here in the secondary-city South. There are no public recycling bins of any kind. When you have a Coke with your deli sandwich for lunch, you have to decide whether to cart your can until you get home or just throw it in the trash. There is also little to no social pressure that I've noticed to recycle.

The city picks up only aluminum and clear glass from residences. If you bring it yourself, you can also recycle cardboard, newspaper, and #1 plastic but no other kinds. The city provides no paper recycling other than newspaper.

Recycling isn't a no-brainer everywhere... And not everyone everywhere is doing it.

Posted by bolo | November 9, 2007 5:18 AM

MJ darling, I adore your blog. It's very interesting, and your efforts are admirable.

I do take one teensy-weensy exception to it, however. I work for Your Friendly Local Utility, and you say:

"Our local power companies ensure all of the power lines are hung precariously above ground, perched right next to the tree lines."

If we were to underground all of those lines, the city would rebel: It would quadruple the electricity rates, it would take MUCH longer to restore power after windstorms, and it wouldn't reduce the number of outages, as the power still has to come from far-away places. Plus, the carnage to vegetation and disruption to traffic as we buried the lines would be epic, and would take years. Acres of bad poetry would be written about it.

And in the case of a big earthquake, it would be a matter of months or years - as opposed to days or weeks - before the full power could be restored.

Sorry to be wonkish, but people regularly whine to me about overhead power lines, so I feel it my duty to educate whenever possible.

Carry on darling - and drink more beer and less coke. That "coke" stuff will kill you.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 9, 2007 7:03 AM


i live in view ridge, where our power is underground. we have fewer power outages than anywhere else i've lived in seattle.

Posted by max solomon | November 9, 2007 9:24 AM

So, Fnarf, vegetarians (or heaven forbid vegans) are jerks because they advocate an all-or-nothing approach to dietary responsibility, but her being a normal person who is slow to realize the importance of recycling and not driving an SUV completely blows away her admirable project of assessing her impact and doing something to fix it?

You can be really smart and right-on sometimes, but usually I think you're just way too into being a total dick for your own good.

Posted by Levislade | November 9, 2007 9:30 AM

You should read Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte (2005). She also dissects her garbage (in NYC)and follows all kinds of waste around NY to the various landfills, etc.

Posted by M | November 9, 2007 9:56 AM

@9 - you can buy a 36 mpg SUV right now - there are some from Ford, Saturn, and other vendors. FYI.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 9, 2007 3:42 PM

Max dear, your neighborhood was designed and constructed for underground service. Coincidentally enough, a lot of it is failing, as is Laurelhurst and parts of the CD. I hope yours doesn't, as that's a pricey, messy proposition for a homeowner.

But my point is that you're only as good as your laterals and feeders, and those are all overhead. I live on Beacon Hill, in an overhead service district, and have only lost power once (last year's windstorm) and only for a few hours.

The differnce is this: a tree pulls my line down, the crews come out and put it back up. An underground line fails, and the homeowner has to dig it up, and probably install new conduit.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 9, 2007 6:51 PM

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