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Friday, January 23, 2015

What's in the Garbage?

Who wants to talk about garbage?  I don't see any hands raised. Hopefully you'll stick with me anyways.

Garbage pick-up at our new place is a little different than what I've been used to.  Instead of paying a set fee to a sanitation company, we pay $2 per big yellow bag (with a 50 pound limit), and set those out on the curb each week.  I like this, because it means that those who create less waste pay less, while those who have a lot of garbage pay more. (Plus we don't have to buy any regular garbage bags!) can also add up quickly if we're not careful.  When we first got here, we were filling up 1-1/2 to 2 bags per week.  We knew right away we wanted to get that down to 1 bag a week, if not less.  In order to lessen our garbage, first we need to know what's in the garbage?

After keeping a closer eye on our garbage for the past few weeks, here's what's inside:
  • Diapers.  Easily our biggest offender, with Elizabeth and Hannah still in diapers, and Matthew in overnights.
  • Food scraps.  The kids scrape their plates after dinner (Hannah is going through an "I hate carrots" phase), the veggie scraps after I've made broth, crumbs from plates, etc. plus the occasional yucky leftovers, although I'm trying really hard to catch those things before they go bad.
  • Food packaging that can't be recycled.  Meat packages are the biggest offender here, although there are some other things.
  • Plastics, mail, receipts etc. that can't be recycled.
  • Broken toys, random junk I find as I declutter.
We do recycle plastic, glass, and cans, so that helps.  We also have a member who takes all of our cardboard/paper recycling for his burn pile, so that helps too.  But still, the garbage adds up quickly.  

Our biggest focus, then, is going to be reducing the garbage from our top two offenders: diapers and food scraps.  Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks to see how we're doing!


  1. Sounds like you either need a garbage disposal or a compost bin! Amanda and John have a compost bin that they throw food scraps in (everything but meat). Then they use it for gardening. It doesn't create a ton of dirt, but it something!

    1. That's kind of what we are thinking. Some sort of compost or worms.