Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Trash Man Cometh (2014)

Here it is, a picture of our 19th trash can of the year.

Last year, we put 17 cans at the curb, so this is two cans to the worse for us.  Sigh.

Garbage-wise, I have become of a bit of a caricature of myself.   Even though I try to go trash-less (or less-trash) without being obnoxious or preachy, I'm sure I fail.  I fail both in the sense that I still create a lot of trash, and also in that I'm probably pretty preachy.

Even without my trying to be the Guru of Garbage, though, other people have come to know me as a No-Bag-Lady.  I stop at the pharmacy where we pick up our monthly supply of meds for the boys, and Richard, the head pharmacist, bustles over to the cashier ringing me up and says, "no, no, she doesn't need a bag!"

I head to market to pick up my Thanksgiving turkey, and the Turkey Lady shoos back the guy lifting my turkey:  "she doesn't need a carry bag."  Then she asks with a wink, "do you need help getting this to your vehicle?"  Even though I don't actually need help, she likes to walk the turkey out to my bike trailer with me.  It's becoming a yearly ritual.

There is a guy who works at my college who, like me, now carries a ceramic plate when he goes to campus events that serve food, so he doesn't have to use paper plates (or worse! plastic ones).

And a few weeks back, I went to a lunch discussion at our faculty center and was delighted to see that the menu featured chili in bread bowls.  I said something cheery about this and the director said, "Oh, yeah, we knew you were coming so we decided to order something that you could eat with no trash."  I laughed a bit ("ha, ha, the idea of planning a whole menu for 20 people around ME"), but the director said, "no, REALLY.  We ordered this because of you."   Well, that was a bit humbling.  And flattering.  Shucks.

My husband tells me that when he tells people that I'm frugal, they often respond by claiming they are, too:  "I clip coupons," or "I shop at discount stores".  It's hard for him to explain that his wife doesn't really shop at stores at all.  He says that the one-sentence explanation that seems to sink in the most is, "My wife doesn't use paper towels."   That alone, he says, is enough to convey the sense of my oddity, to convince people that my frugality is a tad out of the ordinary.

So.  Nineteen trash cans at the curb.  Nineteen demonstrations of evidence that I am fortunate to have more-than-enough, that I have so much that I have to send the excess away, that I can package up that excess by the barrel-full.

But a new year waits just around the corner.  And for now, my trash cans are empty.


  1. Not using paper towels is that unusal?!
    I don't use them either...

    1. That's what *I* think! To me, cloth rags are perfectly normal. But my kids go to other houses and tell me that they feel weird and out-of-place because there are no rags, only paper towels. So I have to believe my husband is telling the truth about the way that many people live. -MM

  2. My husband is also extremely competitive about trash. And about not washing dishes unnecessarily.

  3. No one would ever compliment me with "frugal" and we put a can of trash to the curb weekly, but even I don't use paper towels or napkins! We have a pile of cloth rags and its just so much easier and better for cleaning everything.