Trying to go without trash service

Posted by: jilly

Trying to go without trash service - 12/11/09 11:31 PM

Since I moved into my place, I have been taking a close look at my budget. One line item I think I can do away with is a monthly trash service. It costs $14/mo for trash with no recycling and $18 for trash and recycling.

I was thinking I would just do all the waste myself, and that this would be a great way to encourage me to have as small a trash footprint as possible.

So i set myself up with several recycling bins, a compost bin, a trash bin and a Donations bin. All are lined up in the kitchen.

The recycling stuff I take out each time I go shopping in town, which is easy. The compost gets dumped into my compost pile when it's full. I take the Donations out when it gets full.

Trash is the tricky one. I pay for an RV campground membership and i do my laundry at those. I try to remember to take my bagged trash out when i go, and to use the dumpsters (I am already paying for it, so why not?).

I look forward to actually seeing how small an amount of trash I actually create each month. I have to retrain DH to compost things like coffee grinds and food wastes.

It's not like $18 is a huge amount to spend each month, but i think of it as an extra $216 over a year. smile
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/16/09 10:40 PM

So far things are going well. It's an interesting challenge. I am starting to separate out more things to sell, like copper, steel, brass, and plastic with a CA redemption value.

How exciting that all these things might once have been garbage, even just something to recycle, that can now become part of my income, or good soil for my spring garden!
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/16/09 10:53 PM

That is so cool Jilly and something ALL of us should be doing! How much stuff do we put into the waste stream without even thinking about it! If we all had to focus closely on what we did, we would really make a big impact on the world.

Good for you, you are quite an inspiration smile

Here we have bins for plastic glass and metal, then paper-and-cardboard. So we separate that all out. But we do NOT compost which really we should. So I will work on that next.
Posted by: PDM

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 01:04 AM

Our bin men come every week anyway.
One week they take rubbish; the next they take stuff for recycling. They provide the bins.
I am not 100% convinced that the items really are recycled, though. Maybe I'm just a cynic.
They take card/ paper and plastic & glass bottles.
My Mum's bin men take (clean) food cans as well.
We used to compost & I really think that we should do so again.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 01:36 AM

I love composting and it is so easy to do, unless you live in an apartment and do not have access to a yard. In apartments it's easier to make a worm bin, which is HUGE fun, BTW.

I love that all this stuff I throw in a pile, that would normally be waste for a landfill, becomes very high grade garden soil, chock full of nutrients, come spring.

One of my neighbors also composts his food wastes, which I was thrilled to see. He was one of the people who gave me a big bag of beer cans. He also keeps chickens for eggs, which I'd be thrilled to try some time. (Keeping chickens, that is. In my fantasy there are also a couple of cute goats).

I have recently had to add a bin for redemption bottles and a bin for 'other metals', like brass and steel, that I can recycle.

Once I get my scale from storage in CA, then I won't have to guess so much at things.

I will keep looking out for ways to make my actual 'trash' pile smaller and smaller.

I think I will start a recycling log about all this and track the weights.

PDM, why do you think your recyclers aren't recycling?
Posted by: tweetymom

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 04:05 AM

Jilly, when your composting, try to put some manure or green things in there. It must reach a temp very high in order to decompose things in there, and manure will help it reach that temp. (I'm not sure I remember the exact temp,) but if you do not, you should use some kind of fertilizer when you use it in the ground or in a pot. Also, it will cook faster and more evenly if you turn it every few days or when you get the chance.

You can find manure easily enough. Find someplace that keeps horses or chickens or turkeys, and ask them if you can muck out the stables or cages or whatever.

Bat guana is the hottest manure. I don't like to use it because you can only use a tiny bit. poultry manure is really good to use, but I like to use horse manure because you can use a lot of it, and the more manure in your compost the better it will be.
Just make sure it has completely decomposed before you use it. Also, if it's not decomposed, it will take nitrogin from the soil in the process of decomposing, thereby taking nutrients from your plantings.

Look it up. That way, you will be sure to have all the info you need, in case I left something out. I used to do all these things, but now in an apt complex, and in the city, not so much! It's my dream to live in the country and be able to do all the things I used to be able to do.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 05:08 AM

Thanks for the info Tweetymom. I'm actually pretty good at composting; I've done it many times before. But this is great info for everyone! smile

Plus I salute your excellent dream!
Posted by: tweetymom

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 07:41 AM

Well, I hope you weren't insulted. Most people don't know these things.

I had a job once, and my title was "INformation Coordinator, at the Austin Community Gardens", and I actually did everything, but ai also had to take calls where gardeners would ask a question and I had to either know the answer or look it up and call them back with the answer! So I have like, encyclopedias in my head about organic gardening! BTW, it was the most gratifying job I ever had. I did that for 3 years until Reagan stopped the CETA program.

Oh well, all things must end at some point! IMO.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/17/09 08:38 AM

Nope, never insulted! smile I love gardening and talking about it. When I was living in my RV, that was one of the things I missed the most. smile

That and a bathtub.

I am happy to be able to have a fertile life again!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/18/09 07:23 AM

Tweetymom, my neighbors here have chickens, maybe they would let me have some of their guano. smile

I wish I could use my pet poop but i know that isn't exactly sanitary. I have seen pet poop decomp bins in places like PetSmart; I should check into that. You don't end up with manure, but at the least the poop returns to the soil instead of bagged and added to the landfills.

In my dream home, I'd have composting toilets too.

I wish I could totally eliminate all my trash. I'd like to find uses for everything.
Posted by: tweetymom

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/18/09 08:39 AM

Yeah. Our pet poop has too much chance for disease that can be transferred to the food crops. Also, in the same vein, (off topic for a second) you can't use any plot of soil that is near or has been a place where any kind of vehicles have been, because the unleaded gas takes 30-40 years to dissipate, and food crops also take that up and would make you very sick).

In Austin, we have Dillo Dirt, to be used for landscaping (not for food crops). At times, The City of Austin picks up tree limbs, leaves and such. They chop it all up and then the city sells it for cheap.

I once moved into a duplex that had only had one tenant before me. I called the Agricultural extension agent to find out if I could use the septic area for a small garden and they said no, because nobody could know what all the previous tenant had put down the drains!

Jilly, sorry. This went WAY off topic and I didn't mean to hyjack your thread!
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/18/09 10:49 PM

Our toilets go into a field behind our house, isn't that sort of like composting them?
Posted by: PDM

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/18/09 11:22 PM

How does that work?
Is there a cesspit there?
Posted by: tweetymom

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/19/09 04:52 AM

A septic tank is made out of concrete, and the waste goes into there. Periodically, it has to be emptied, and a service comes and pumps it out into a container, which they then take with them to wherever. I think this is a point of contention, when you hear about trucks emptying into streams and rivers illegally. Also, if it gets VERY full, and it rains a lot, it will overflow. there's a lot about this I do not know. It just seemed to me at the time, that it would make a good garden. This was before I knew about disease in human waste and other things going down the drain!

Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/20/09 01:55 AM

My parents had a septic tank at my childhood home in upstate New York. I never really understood how it worked, but i do remember overflows from rainy periods.

Tweetymom, Dillo Dirt is a great name! And talking about composting is not off topic at all - it's an incredible way to reduce our trash imprint!

Today's update - I was able to grab all the actual 'trash' I had made since I moved in and bring it to a dumpster at one of my RV parks. I was so pleased how little amount of actual trash had accumulated in the course of this month.

My baggied dog poop made up a largish amount of that trash. I am thinking more seriously about getting some kind of doggie doo composter.

Here is a worm bin idea for dog wastes - compost dog waste

and a doggie dooley in ground toilet

Hmmm. If I can eliminate the dog doo from my trash footprint, that will be a nice achievement! Then I can consider what the next biggest single category is.

Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 12/31/09 12:11 PM

That is awesome Jilly that you are so light-footed on the earth!

We have two cats - right now we put their waste into the trash. I will look into what we can do with that too!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 01/28/10 09:24 AM

Can you flush their waste into the toilet?
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/07/10 08:25 PM

OK, about to move back into the RV...and that will make my No Net Trash Goals harder. At least in the RV parks I can mix up the recyclables instead of having to have five containers here.

But I will still need:
a trash bin
a compost bin
a donation bin
a recycle bin

There really isn't room for all this in here. Ideas?
Posted by: cyberbud

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/07/10 11:38 PM

I am really impressed with your efforts to decrease your carbon imprint. Truly impressive and inspiring. I am puzzled on one point though. How does taking the small amount of trash you have and putting it in someone else's dumpster actually decrease your footprint? It's good that you have a legal way to do this...for most of us it could mean a fine.

Kathy

ps: love www.runpee.com!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/08/10 12:52 AM

Thanks about RunPee and the carbon footprint.

My goal is no net trash, but i know realistically i will NOT get there. EVEn tribal societies created trash. But it's still my goal. I figure if I set the bar high then my result will be pretty good.

It's not really someone else's dumpster - i pay a membership fee for rv campgrounds that includes trash disposal. So it's not illegal. smile I don't really have any answers for how other people can handle this one. Someone would have to be creative on a case by case basis. Give your neighbor five bucks a month to put your tiny amount of trash in their bin? Bring it home to your parents? Burn or bury it (not my suggestions but people do use those options in some rural areas).

I don't have all the answers yet but i am going to keep poking at it. Surely there is some kind of solution if enough of us put our heads together.
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/08/10 04:14 AM

That's a good point, I would agree that putting trash ANYWHERE so it's in a stream to go into the ground is an important thing to try to reduce as much as possible. But there may simply always be things that have to go in that direction. If we all at least reduced it, that would be a huge step in the right direction.
Posted by: cyberbud

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/08/10 05:01 AM

I've learned a lot from your postings; I guess since where I live we do not have the option of not having garbage service, we pay whether it is used or not...not having it is just not a consideration.

To be fair though everyone must also recycle everything possible and we are only allowed so many pounds of trash a week.

Now if only I could find a place to keep all these bins for sorting!

Kathy
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/09/10 03:16 AM

Wow, the idea of having a community only allow a certain amount of waste sounds very enlightened! How many bins do you need to have for sorting? Do they take all plastics? Does everyone in your community cooperate with all this?

I just read an interesting book on people who dumpster dive and it made me think of all the really good things people throw in the trash, that should be properly diverted to Goodwill and thrift stores instead.

I often fish recyclables out of dumpsters, and things that are donate-able, and take care of them myself. Sometimes there are cans in the trash right next to a bin to recycle cans, which always confuses me. can't people read? Do they really not care at all? I don't get it.

It's kind of an obsession. The recycling/waste stream thing. I am not sure why I am like this, or where I get it from.

Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/09/10 09:38 PM

Jilly - it's a great thing to be obsessed about! It's our world you're saving!

Kathy - it's so intriguing that they have a hard limit on the amount you can put in! I suppose technically I have a limit too - we have a weekly trash service and we can only put out this giant blue bin for actual trash. It holds I think 8 large trash bags. But we never even come close to filling it so it hadn't occurred to me. But what if we were a family of 8?
Posted by: cyberbud

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/09/10 10:33 PM

Last year everyone had to buy a trash bin from the city, there were 3 sizes. Although we rarely fill it we purchased a large for those odd times when there is lots of trash, like after holidays.

They take almost all recyclables except plastic #5, so we are careful not to purchase that one. I think we have 4 or 5 bins for recyclables. We get far too many newspapers and magazines. We're letting those expire and reading online.

Every so often there is a day where everyone can put out things like old furniture, fridges etc and the city will pick it up. I believe there is a small charge. All waste from the yards (clippings and such) has to go into a bag for that purpose, There is a charge for each bag. Composting would be ideal but houses are very close to each other here and yard space is minimal.

I believe for the most part everyone cooperates with this system as we don't have any other choice.

Kathy
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/11/10 09:23 PM

Quote:
They take almost all recyclables except plastic #5, so we are careful not to purchase that one. I think we have 4 or 5 bins for recyclables. We get far too many newspapers and magazines. We're letting those expire and reading online.


Kathy, that is so great you are careful to try not to purchase #5 plastic. We all tend to forget that part - that not buying an unrecyclable item is important. It's even better than recycling, which is still just a bandaid on the main issue of overconsumption. Good on ya!

Also, I so hear you on the magazines and papers. I bring all my used magazines to thrift stores or the RV libraries, but still. It's just better to read things online and not use up more resources in the first place.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/11/10 09:32 PM

Quote:
All waste from the yards (clippings and such) has to go into a bag for that purpose, There is a charge for each bag. Composting would be ideal but houses are very close to each other here and yard space is minimal.


This is very interesting, that that city takes yard waste for composting, or at least to turn into mulch. Again, very enlightened town! You must have a great mayor or active community. smile

I think i will start a thread on composting, as the lack of space is a very real issue, and there has got to be a way. smile
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/11/10 09:36 PM

Quote:
Every so often there is a day where everyone can put out things like old furniture, fridges etc and the city will pick it up.


When I lived in Flagstaff, I LOVED curbside days. I'd drive around and pick up the BEST stuff. It makes me wish I had a big flatbed truck so I could grab it all and either recycle or goodwill everything, or bring it to a salvage yard.

None of that stuff should be taking up space in landfills. frown

I wonder if people would pay me to do this kind of thing. I will have to think about that when I get to Oklahoma.
Posted by: cyberbud

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/11/10 10:29 PM

An awful lot of the stuff gets picked up...either by people cruising for stuff or some people who sell metal or I sure some people use it for garage sales. Sometimes I can't believe the brand new looking kids toys that get put out on the curb.

I don't know if we're so enlightened or if its by necessity. There are 5,000 people per square mile here and there just isn't enough landfill space for all of the refuse.

Kathy
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/15/10 07:14 AM

You guys bring up excellent points about magazines and newspapers - I'll start a thread on that!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 02/27/10 10:23 PM

I've noticed the more junky thrift shops will take magazines. I try to bring mine there so they won't get tossed.

And I love looking for magazines in those places. For example, I found a yoga magazine with a special on a pose I am try to get down, and two mags about Oklahoma Living that cover nature areas and free things to do in that state! (where my off the grid ranch experiment will be). I also found a copy of Veranda, which is like decoration porn for me. lol. All for 25 cents each.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 03/23/10 12:41 AM

I have been looking at my little trash bin and trying to figure out what I am still throwing away. paper plates with food on them are torn up and placed in the compost. Just like coffee filters, they decompose nicely. It does take some time to rip paper plates into pieces though, and that is mildly irritating.

Plastic bags that come around frozen food and products like toilet paper end up chucked, but they at least are highly compressible and take up little landfill space.

I try to reuse food bag plastic to pick up dog poop when i go out walking with Kaylee.

One thing that is very wasteful i throw away - the doggy WeeWee pads. They are like flat diapers full of dog pee. There is nothing I can think to do with these.



Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 03/27/10 05:32 AM

I would have to agree that doggy WeeWee pads should be put somewhere far away smile Do they have cloth diapers? I hate to ask, but could you wash them?

I only ask because I have completely converted over to cloth menstrual pads and it is amazing how EASY it was. I thought it would be awful but I am SO SO happy I did it. It's more comfortable, it's super clean, and I am not putting (literally) tons and tons of gunk into landfills!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 03/27/10 06:53 AM

Hmmm. That would take some thinking. The good thing about the pads is the plastic underneath to keep the pee from soaking into our wood floors.

If I used towels, I'd need to put something plastic under them. And then I'd have to set up a laundry somewhere in the RV here just for pee stained towels and pee-soaked plastic.

I can try it but I am worried about Dan. Since we found something that works, he leaves it at that. He really hates pets.

So if he is kosher with the pads, I feel like while he is in the RV, i can't experiment. Since he seems resigned to this.

AS opposed to the cat situation. He now says the cat cannot go with us under any conditions. And who knows when she will drop the kittens. This is a terrible situation.

Someday when I have my own place I won't have to deal with his anger and whining about smelly/irritating pets.

That is wonderful, Lisa, about the cloth menstrual pads. I am looking forward to having some extra money to switch over soon myself!
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 03/27/10 07:39 AM

OK I think you have enough stress in your life handling Dan's way of life, accept the doggie pads as a compromise for now. You're already doing amazingly well on all other fronts!
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/09/10 01:03 AM

Our latest solution is I can keep the cat if we adopt out Kaylee. She is adorable and will be easy to find a home for, so this is the route we are taking. No one will want this scraggly little stray, so this way everyone gets a home.

The rescue group we are working with is doing a great job looking for the perfect new home for her.
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/09/10 01:06 AM

Back to trash - the wee wee pads thing will be resolved on my end when Kaylee is gone, but isn't that really passing on the wee wee pad trash to someone else?

Sometimes i think too much.
Posted by: tweetymom

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/09/10 07:41 AM

Great scott girl! Yes, I would say that you think too much! lol

Have you given the kittens away? Or did I miss a thread on that?
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/09/10 08:19 PM

Nope, kittens are still with mom.

Thinking too much is just one of the services I offer, Dinah. :-)

Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/12/10 07:30 AM

Jilly -

Won't this wonderful new home have an amazing back yard, and that's where the dog will pee? Most dogs don't pee inside the house ...?
Posted by: jilly

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/12/10 08:22 AM

Well this dog has a bladder situation where she needs to go a ton, so the wee wee pads are the best solution when there is no doggy door.

We are fostering her until the rescue group can find her a new home. That was the deal with DH for me to be able to keep the cat. I am actually thinking this is a great solution all around. People are very interested in adopting her and the rescue group will ensure she finds a very loving home.

So my thought to myself - when I get this home...do I get trash service? It's been very challenging to work around this. Ultimately I think it's good for me. I'll continue to go as long as possible without trash service in my efforts to have as least amount of trash as possible.
Posted by: Lisa Shea

Re: Trying to go without trash service - 05/14/10 06:57 AM

Jilly -

Oh definitely in the RV it's a great solution! I'm just saying that you don't need to worry about that any more, because the new ideal owners will have a doggie door and a lovely back yard, so now it will be moot smile

The new home is going to need a lot of clean-out. So I'd start with trash service. Get through that clean-out process as efficiently as you can. Then once you are all set up, you can set up wonderfully, and go from there!