Sustainable Saturday: Changing Trash Habits

In an effort to keep up with my 2009 sustainability goals, I’m going to post once a week about my progress.  Any relevant feedback is appreciated, since we’re really all in this together!

 

For reasons unrelated to sustainability, I’ve wanted to replace my kitchen trash can for a long time.

 

old-trash-can

 

The shape is just all wrong (wide items don’t fit, there’s not a bag that fits it the right way), it won’t fit underneath the sink because it’s too tall, and it’s really hard to keep clean.

 

We’ve been throwing away a lot of items that could be recycled simply because our county doesn’t have the facilities, but also because we’re lazy and don’t have curbside recycling, which means we have to drive somewhere with our recyclables.  I’m hoping to absolve myself of my eco-sins the following ways:

 

         Sorting and saving the things we can recycle. (Most of the usual recyclables, except we can only recycle plastics #1 and #2. I’m trying to at least find a place that recycles #5).

 

         Reducing the need to recycle the evil plastics by avoiding them.  The more I think about plastics, the more they seem like that playground bully you just can’t seem to hide from.  So I’m just going to do my best to purchase responsibly, choosing cardboard or glass packaging, for instance, instead of plastic.  This makes me think at every purchase: how will I dispose of this trash?  Will this naturally biodegrade, or will I have to find a way to repurpose or recycle it?

 

         Finding creative reuses for the plastic I do have.  We’ll see how this pans out – I usually end up using plastic bags for dirty diapers (yes, I use disposables) and plastic containers from food for storage.  The diapers will never end, but one can only have so many storage containers!

 

         Discontinuing plastic bag use in the trashcans.  I’ve already done this in all of the other household rubbish bins, but I’ve held out on doing this in the kitchen trash can, mainly because I don’t want some trash getting stuck in the middle that I have to dig out with my hands.  (Often, I have to carefully remove the bag to avoid ripping it because something is lodged in the middle.)  So I found the only trash can in the house that would fit underneath the kitchen sink (it came from my laundry room), and that will be the replacement.

 

new-trashcan

 

By sorting out recyclables, we’ll reduce the amount of stuff that ends up as trash, and since it’s such a small container, we’ll just carry the whole thing out once per day.  That sounds like it would be annoying, but it actually plays into something else I’ve been trying to avoid: smelly trash cans!  If we’re forced to empty it more often, the bad smells won’t accumulate.

 

I hope we can keep up with the recycling and taking out the trash.  Nothing ever works out according to plan, but I feel like this is a move in the right direction.

 

What are you doing with your trash?

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4 responses to “Sustainable Saturday: Changing Trash Habits

  1. First of all, the Closure sticker on the trash can means that you must have had that thing since like 1999. That’s awesome.

    Have you ever seen Penn and Teller’s show “Bullshit”? They did an episode on recycling once. What do you think about this? http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1444391672891013193

  2. Ha! I was hoping somebody would notice the stickers. We actually got the trash can as a wedding gift almost 7 years ago, but the sticker, of course, is even older than that. I’m going to use that trash can for something else, so the memory stays alive. I hope DW would be proud!

    I’m watching the show right now…I have to agree, I think recycling is very energy-intensive. Which is one reason I’m trying to avoid plastics, since the only thing to do with them is recycle them, whereas glass and paper products will at least biodegrade. Really, I just wish everything was sold in bulk and we could take our own containers to the store to fill them up.

    Okay, I’m going to keep watching…they make some great points!

  3. I really want to get our recycling on the ball over here as well. It is hard when where you live offers very little. The first time we took our HUGE cans to the dump all seperated into glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard the craky old dumpster guard came over and threw EVERYTHING into the regular trash- NO LIE! I could have died:)I think you’re right- Buy less that needs recycling! I love the bulk bins…but with food allergies many times they really are’nt safe. Sigh…You’ve ga a great plan…hope it works!

  4. Pingback: Sustainable Saturday: Compost Halfway House « Mom Must Write

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