Trash Talking

I'll admit it, I wish the trash and recycling guys came later in the day. Not that I mind the early pickup, necessarily, but I really just want my trash to sit outside for more of the day. Yup, I want people to eye my trash pile with a curious eye. 

'How on earth do they have so little trash?' I want people to wonder.
Or, 'don't they have a baby, where are all the diapers?'
Or, 'they must drop their trash somewhere else.'
Or, 'wow, their recycling pile is larger than their trash pile.'

I'll admit, on our old street we often drove by a neighbor's house wondering how exactly they managed to put out one small bag of trash a week. Two adults, one plastic bag (the likes of which you'd get at Target) was all that was ever there on trash day. I've since asked them how they do it and they shrugged off my question (aka veiled compliment). Either they truly don't notice their teeny footprint, or, they really are throwing away their trash elsewhere. 

I'm proud to say, we are getting there (notice this week's showcase, photo above). How do we do it? Live that motto you learned in elementary school - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - very catchy and very true. A few ways we've put those R's into action: 

refillable water bottles - despite being recyclable, plastic bottles are a huge strain
cloth diapers - far fewer diapers needed from birth to potty training
cook from scratch - fewer processed packages to toss/recycle
get off mailing lists once and for all!

wax cereal bags make great storage sacks, just roll the top and clip shut
sell or donate used items - make Freecycle and Craig's List your friends

know your recycling laws inside and out, especially which plastics are accepted
seek out alternate recycling for items such as cork or glass, which are not normally accepted at the curb
compost - my husband has faithfully been feeding our worm composter all summer (and my ferns have never looked more beautiful, thank you worm juice) 

So friends, I challenge you to take a look at your waste come trash day. Are you proud of what you see? I know I am. Although I aspire to one day graduate to my very own Target-sized trash bag!


  1. Great post! :) I wanna take your advice, Cuz we have a bag every 2 days full of scrap food, we recycle bottles and plastic most of the time. We done use paper towels anymore, and we use cloth and i use mama cloth but i still wanna do more!

  2. Kasey - those are great! Using cloth replacements instead of paper products is such a huge step towards cutting back on trash! And composting food scraps is so helpful - not only do you get great fertilizer, but it also means that your trash doesn't smell of leftover food. I know that is one way that enables us to make one trash bag last all week - no smell requiring it to be taken out early.

    I think the thing that helped the most when we first start our trash-reduction mission was to question every single thing that was getting thrown out, and consider where else we could use it. I'll admit the purging side of me still wants to just get it all out of here! But, it doesn't really go away, it just goes somewhere else.

  3. I'd be interested in some info on your wormy composting ^_^

  4. B ;) We have the 'can-o-worms' from this site: http://www.unclejimswormfarm.com/index.php/Outdoor-Composters/View-all-products.html

    Every night the worms are fed all the leftover food scraps (sans anything that would draw rodents, ie. fatty products). They then turn all the scraps into fertilizer. Their liquid output (known as 'worm tea') is a super-rich liquid fertilizer - it is what made my ferns Jurassic-Park-size this summer!

  5. We have a package of 500 super red worms.....still trying to decide if we'll bring it in to winter them, or put them in the ground and get new worms next year. On the one hand I really love not having any food waste. But on the other, I don't know how I feel about 500 worms in my basement. :/

  6. I was thinking about setting it up in the basement. I wouldn't worry about having them in the basement at all... I'd actually like to get some composting bins for each class at school - but not sure ones with a spout would be a good option!

  7. Naw, it is more a mental thing. 500 worms hanging out in the basement. ;) I have a feeling we'll end up wintering them down there, I really don't want to throw food away all winter just because I'm skeevied out.

  8. so is there anything else you need to order for them? Or just the bin and some worms? What do you use for bedding?
    (sorry I have a lot of questions lol.. i've looked into these before but couldn't find anything that solidly explained to me what you need and what you needed to do with it)

  9. wow i'm envious at how little trash you have. great article. I really think I need to start composting but I'm wondering what i'd do with the compost once its ready. We don't have a lot of yard that needs soil. At one time I had a doggie dooley which actually is a compost for dog poo. It just reaked horribly and our house and yard is way too close to the neighbors not to mention the flies wooo wee.

  10. B... from DH on the bedding: "Nothing else needed. If they buy it all from Uncle Jim, then they also get the bedding, otherwise they can use shredded paper or sawdust."

  11. GHB - thanks! I've never noticed a smell with this one unless the cover is off. On the hottest of days it seemed the flies would congregate, but again, primarily when the cover was off.

  12. good to know.. I might get one! I'm a bit torn though, because we can actually compost with yard waste (but we dont..? I'm not really sure why....) I'd say about 90% of our trash is food scraps though... and we don't have very much trash as it is.

  13. I'm going to have Mark write something for Monday. Hopefully that will help with the convincing. :)

  14. What great tips! Thanks a bunch. We have too much trash (sad to say) even with cloth diapers. I really need to start cooking from scratch more and practicing what I am preaching to the 5-year-old. Thanks for the reminder!