I'll admit it, I wish the trash and recycling guys came later in the day. Not that I mind that 7am wake-the-house-up-with-the-roar 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 recycling and trash, 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!
This post originally appeared six years ago on the original IBB blog. I'm proud to report, six years later, we are still living with a similar trash footprint. Though some weeks our take-out boxes could build a small fort. Too much work, too little time left to spend cooking.