Monday, July 19, 2010

Taking Out the Trash

How many of you take out the trash simply because it is trash day?  I used to be one of those people.  I would go around the house and gather the trash out of each can to be taken out to the curb.  I use trash bags in each trash can or often recycle plastic grocery bags.  Note***I know some people use waste baskets without a bag and simply just empty the basket.  Personally, I don't want to handle the trash more than I have to.  There is a reason it's called trash, and picking it out of the trash can to place in a bag later just grosses me out.  I know, just dump it right.  Well, there is always some piece that doesn't seem to want to come out and you have to grab it anyway.  Not for me, but to each their own.  

Gathering all of the trash bags was something I did weekly.  I wanted to make sure we had all of the trash.  I was always afraid we may have extra the next week.  We are allowed one trash can per household.  At times the trash can was very full.

As time has gone we have slowly cut back on our trash.  With being more conscientious of what goes into the trash I have been able to extend the time it takes before it is necessary to "take out the trash".  I have been able to go two weeks and more depending on the trash bin location before I have to take it out.  

I have always recycled and recycle as much as I can.   I started recycling before they had curb side recycling.  Our recycle bin is always full.  I hate seeing items that can be recycled simply discarded into the trash. 

I have also started composting more items versus throwing them in the trash or down the garbage disposal.  This has helped cut back on using trash bags as well.  By simply not throwing any food items into the trash, it has helped cut down on odors that may arise, and allow me to actually fill the bag before discarding.  

One idea I had never thought about I learned in my Sustainable Living Course is a way to reuse large plastic bags.  You know the ones paper towels come in when you buy them in the large mulit roll pack.  You have to be careful and cut the end open so you don't put a hole in the plastic.  Once you have used all of the items in the bag, simply place it in your trash can as a trash bag.  Simple idea right!  We are going to end up throwing it in the trash anyway.  Why not give it a second use before doing so? Funny thing is my grandmother most likely did something like this and we always thought she was being tight.  She was actually just being frugal and not wasting things.  She is probably looking down at me and chucking at the things we have started to incorporate into our daily lives.

This summer, on my quest to simplify things more, I purchased another compost bin. I already had one, but we were not very diligent about using. It seemed every time we added items to it that meant it would take longer to break down before we could harvest the compost.  Now with two I can alternate the bins. One bin is almost ready to harvest, and the other I am still able to add new items to be composted.

In addition to purchasing a second bin for outside I decide to purchase a compost pail for inside.  The pail has a charcoal filter in the lid to help destroy any odors.  I really like it.  You don’t have to line the bin with a bag if you don’t want to it just simply means washing it. It is dishwasher safe too!  I choose to reuse a produce bag to line the pail so all I have to do is grab the bag and go dump it into the large bin outside.  I have a feeling I am really going to like it this winter when it’s really cold and no one will want to go dump the compost. 

If you don’t recycle yet, I hope you will start.  The less we have entering the landfills the better it will be for our children in the future.  Many things can be placed in the recycle bin.  Check with your city regarding recycling and trash collection.  By recycling and composting items you will end up with less trash to haul to the curb!  This day taking out the trash isn’t as bad; I often think we are missing something because the trash can is barely half full.  

A good book to read is Green Living for Dummies. It was one I had to purchase for my class that actually ended up having a lot of great ideas.

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