Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Eleven Garbage Cans

This morning is trash morning, and so last night, I put out a can of garbage.

Actually (get ready for the crowing . . . ) it's our eleventh garbage can of the year.  Over here in Chez Miser Mom, there is a little bit of congratulatory back-patting going on.

We've been working on reducing our trash output for a couple of years now.  The years 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 saw us putting out 23, 17, 19, and then 11 cans, respectively.

And although the main rah-rah-go-team Waste Warrior in these parts was clearly Yours Truly, I just as clearly couldn't stop producing household garbage on my own.  I'm surrounded by a family that happens to consist of largely Normal People, after all.  They bring home take-out food in styrofoam trays; they go to the hardware store and bring home one door latch in a plastic shopping bag; they buy deodorant that comes in plastic containers, bundled together in cardboard, wrapped in extra plastic.  Sheesh.

And yet, here we are.  Eleven trashcans for the year.  My husband is retired now and so he can't "game" the count by throwing his lunch-time trash away at work, and so we figured that last two year's 17/19 garbage cans were an all-time low, but now look at my driveway!  It's almost always empty on trash day.  Less than one garbage can per month, and it's because the family has started thinking of trash-less-ness as a game, a little competition with ourselves, and so in spite of all the commercial packaging they do buy, there's a lot more garbage that they're proud of avoiding.

Rah! Rah!  GOooooO Team!


  1. We're not as trashless as you, but we do better than most. I think I put the trash can out every other week and it is not full. We do put out a full tote of recycling almost every week. My family thinks I'm OCD about recycling! I just feel responsible to make sure our trash isn't full of stuff that could be recycled; and I feel responsible to take better care of the earth, as I will be held accountable for my stewardship here. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Keeping track of what goes where certainly takes a conscientious person! It doesn't surprise me that in your family, that's you.

      Actually, what surprises me is how little our recycling amounts have changed, except for a big initial bump when our hauler started accepting paper and cardboard. Like you, I'm fanatical about separating out recycle-ables, but we don't have giant piles of cans and papers at the curb. (We might even have less recycling stuff than before, although I don't tally that, so don't trust my vague impressions!)

  2. Impressive!

    Where we are living right now it is really easy to be low-trash (great recycling, very little packaging, compostable or recyclable take-out containers, a culture of carrying your own bags everywhere, a strong system of freecycling or reselling, etc.). The only thing that's missing is community composting (last time we lived in a paradise we had a worm bucket, but we haven't done that this time). I wish it were more like this in the rest of the country.

    1. Yes, it really helps a lot that I'm in Amish/Mennonite territory, where there's a huge sub-culture of thrift and ecological conservatism. It seems like everyone I know around here either already has a vegetable garden, or says, "I really ought to plant a garden". And, of course, it's yard sale mecca hereabouts. In a culture like this, it's a lot easier to find low-packaging goods than, say, in my parents' suburban/corporate neighborhood.