Less Waste is Not as Easy as it Sounds

Posted: August 2, 2012 by Bill in Week 2: Reflections + Social Sustainability
Tags: , , , ,

Ok. well week one is over and to highlight some of the changes I have made to reduce the amount of garbage I haul to the curb every week are:

  1. Set up a bucket for batteries to be recycled ( as noted before, children’s toys eat a lot of batteries).
  2. Started a compost pile for coffee grounds and other vegetables and biodegradable items.
  3. Started to buy bulk items to reduce the amount of packaging entering my house.

My attempt to reuse/recycle have hit a slight bump in the road, but I found this cool website that has a few good ideas www.reuserecycle.net. The website has a list on the right side that you can choose from, such as battery recycling and buying in bulk to name two.

The garbage I hauled to the curb this week did show a slight reduction in what was inside the garbage can. I also decided to start weighing the trash I hauled out as well, this weeks garbage had a total of 26 lbs. of actual garbage, and as mentioned the can looked slightly emptier than normal. So if I just use an average of 35 lbs. for what would have been a normal weeks garbage weight, that would add up to 1820 lbs. a year, multiply that by the 10 years I have lived here and we get…oh wow!! 18200 lbs. of trash! That’s 9.1 tons of garbage I have sent to the garbage dump, I think I can do a little better moving forward. According to this website www.learner.org/interactives/garbage/solidwaste.html  “the United States generates approximately 230 million tons of “trash”–about 4.6 pounds per person per day. Less than one-quarter of it is recycled; the rest is incinerated or buried in landfills” ( Garbage). Now mind you I have recycled the whole time I have lived here and my trash can compared to some of my neighbors has always looked emptier than theirs, so I still feel a little bit better about that.

As far as the fast food is going, well I had Taco Bell the other night, but I did order stuff that had less packaging so as not to bring home more unwanted trash. It’s hard to not eat fast food with a hectic schedule. Maybe next week will be better.

Oh after thought here, I found out that certain cardboards cannot be recycled if they have been contaminated by foods or other oils, etc… I am separating these out and am going to give them to some friends who own an incinerator/boiler they built to heat their house.

“Garbage– Solid Waste.” Garbage– Solid Waste. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2012. <http://www.learner.org/interactives/garbage/solidwaste.html&gt;.

  1. julie says:

    Great idea for finding a purpose for ‘contaminated’ (pizza) boxes!

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