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How to Reduce the Amount of Waste We Produce

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

As a person newly off the garbage grid (aka no trash pickup) I've become more interested in reducing the amount of trash that I have to take to the local landfill. Since I have to pay by the bag to dump them each bag suddenly has an actual dollar figure related to it. I realize I should be saying that I'm trying to save the planet or protect the environment, but for me it's all about the $$$ going out.

The first thing I did was to start a compost pile. I've always composted but have never been fanatical about it. Instead of doing it for fun, the compost pile now saves me money. I'm going green to save green.

Much of the waste that I produce can go straight into the compost bin. Junk mail, paper plates, paper towels, pizza boxes, and on it goes. It doesn't help that I have a wooded lot which means I have a lot of leaves fighting with my household trash for space. Sorry but I had to toss that out there to irritate those folks who have to scavenge leaves to feed to their pile.

I built a temporary free compost bin out of some scrap fencing that I think is mine. It's actually attached to the neighbor's privacy fence but is on my side and runs around to the corner of my house. I just took some wire cutters and cut of a nice big section (hopefully her big dog can't break through now) and made a little circle of wire to hold my trash, I mean compost bits.

Save those soda cans!!! Recycling aluminum cans not only reduces waste but makes back a few dollars that were spent on the soda itself. The last time I checked (early 2011) cans were going at about 60 cents per pound, I'm not great at math but it seems to me that will work out to about 2 cents a can. Feel free to correct my math if you are so inclined. If you crush the cans you can save additional space. I have this old raggedy shed in the back yard and I figure I can toss bags out there until I get enough to make a trip to the metal recycling place. I have no idea where it is but I can probably find it.

Plastic bags from the grocery store can be returned to their recycling station. I think the dump might have a place for them also. I know they take paper. I know I'm supposed to use those reusable shopping bags but I don't like them. Between the lead and the dripping meat it just seems safer to use the plastic and recycle it.

Plastic bottles and such can also be recycled. If the dump won't take them I'm sure there is a municipal recycling drop off place. I will just have to find it once I have enough to make it worth a trip. If I can't find it I can just read the plastic box at Wal~Mart and see what type of plastic I can put into their bin.

Meat scraps I'd send down the garbage disposal … if I had one. The garbage disposal is coming but for the moment I'm stuck with sending them to the landfill. Don't freak out on me folks, I promise it is just temporary.

Steel food cans are a problem. I have a choice of the dump, finding a recycling center that'll take them, or selling them for scrap as well. The problem with selling steel cans is that they really aren't worth taking the time to save. I haven't checked the price on those for awhile but the last time I asked it was just a few cents per pound. At that time I was on the grid and it wasn't worth saving.

That's pretty much all the garbage that I produce. I'll revisit this page someday when I discover that I missed an important trash item that I have to figure out how to reduce or recycle.



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