A year without trash

12/31/2008 at 9:16 pm (thoughts)

I found this blog — 365 Days of Trash — a couple days ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

It was his goal not to throw anything away for a year. 

When I first heard about it, I thought “this is a fellow I could really like.”

And he made some basic steps. He purchased a folding bowl, utensils and a drink carrier to use instead of disposables.

But then I found a photo of his basement where he’s been storing all the stuff he would’ve normally thrown away. And I was a little disappointed.

Noel and I have been working on reducing our trash load for some time. At one point a couple years ago we were producing less than a grocery sack of garbage per month. We’re making a little more than that now, but we’re working our way back down again.

In fact, my first words of advice to folks trying to live frugally is to cancel your trash service.

When you have to personally find something to do with every bit of material you bring into your home, it really changes your buying habits. You avoid things that were made to be thrown away, all these disposable wipes and swiffer things that are all the rage right now are off your list immediately.

You switch to buying in bulk and providing your own reusable containers. You look for product in packaging that can be reused in some manner. Did you know you can still get many staples in cloth sacks? You can buy flour sack towels at Wal-Mart, or you can get your flour in them and keep the sack for free.

It always irks me to have to pay extra for a product because of its pretty packaging and then pay someone else to haul the pretty packaging off as trash.

So I would encourage everyone this new year to make less trash. And I would suggest to the 365 guy that his next step to go a year without purchasing anything that would need to be disposed of at all and not to just store the garbage in his basement.

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4 Comments

  1. mrsabbott said,

    Hmmm.. interesting site. I am very into recycling or repurposing items. I remember when we lived in the country (on my FIL’s property) they didn’t have trash service or recycling. They burned everything. I remember being very uncomfortable with that and it was then that I first began to question how to reduce the amount of trash I had.

    Here, they have a recycling program, but they don’t recycle glass or most types of plastic. So, it makes you aware of what you buy and how it’s packaged.

    Did you happen to hear about how many recycling places are stockpiling their recycling in warehouses until the market takes a turn for the better and they are able to sell it for a better price.. I saw it on the news a couple of weeks ago and found it rather disturbing.

  2. doulamuse said,

    “When you have to personally find something to do with every bit of material you bring into your home, it really changes your buying habits.”

    This statement is so true. We have been without trash service for about 7 months. It has reduced our amount of weekly trash but not enough to make me happy. I must employ myself more at the task of reducing the amount of disposable junk I bring home.
    We do recycle all that we can. I have two separate trash cans, one for burnables like paper, etc and another for non-burnables that we have to dispose of properly.
    I still find it difficult to avoid all the plastic containers that everything seems to come in these days. Unfortunately, our favorite brand of yogurt comes in the wrong type of plastic for local recycling. :( Even though we don’t purchase a huge amount of food in plastic containers, every single piece adds up over time.
    It’s just getting to the point where we have to do more of our own “homemade” and less of “store bought”.
    :)

  3. Melissa said,

    Where have you found in this town flour/staples in flour sacks?

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