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Help me cut down on my garbage bag output…..and a poll!

Poll Results: how many bags (normal garbage bag size) of trash do you put out per week per person? So if there are 4 people in your family, and you use 2 bags per week, that is 1/2 bag. TIA!

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 38% (31)
    less than a 1/4 bag per person
  • 32% (26)
    1/4 to 1/2 bag per person
  • 8% (7)
    1/2 -3/4 bag per person
  • 11% (9)
    3/4 - 1 bag per person
  • 8% (7)
    1-1.5 bags per person
  • 1% (1)
    over 1.5 bags per person
81 Total Votes  
post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

My town has a 4 bag a week garbage bag limit.  It is going down to 3 next week, and 2 in February.

 

I think I can do three if I recycle more, but at this point in time I cannot see how I will get down to two bags per week. There are 5 in my family (plus a cat and guinea pig - both of whom generate some waste)  So a poll and a question:

 

If you output less than 1/2 a normal size bag of trash per person, how do you do it???

 

Poll time!

post #2 of 48

we recycle and compost.  3 adults, 3 kids we dont even fill up 1 bag a week.   we dig a hole and bury pet waste

post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post

we recycle and compost.  3 adults, 3 kids we dont even fill up 1 bag a week.   we dig a hole and bury pet waste

I am impressed!

 

How do you deal with pet waste in winter?

post #4 of 48

luckily here it's not an issue since the winters tend to be pretty mild here

post #5 of 48

We recycle, compost and re-use. 

 

Almost all food scraps are composted. Maybe once in awhile we have something like moldy cheese or something that needs to be thrown away rather than composted (greasy stuff is not good to compost). If it's scraps of meat we feed it to the dogs. 

 

Our town recycles paper (so any cereal boxes, papers from school, cash register receipts, etc, etc), plastic (plastic bags, saran wrap, etc), cans, glass and plastic containers. 

 

The stuff that goes in the garbage is either really gross (dog vomit), or some little bit of plasticky something or other that can't get recycled. I just looked in the kitchen trash now and it's got some food packaging—foil backed plastic wrapper from a thing of Newman-O's cookies, some little plastic trays from those seaweeds snacks (that probably could have been recycled) a plastic wrapper from some veggie dogs, etc. I empty the vacuum cleaner (bagless) and dustpan in there, but there's not so much other stuff. We use dish towels and dish cloths for most wiping of spills. We try to minimize our paper towel use. The kids don't generate a lot of trash. They either hang on to it in their rooms (some art creations) or recycle (old schoolwork). We don't have a huge amount of bathroom trash. 

 

We have one of those big green rolling trash bins and a lot of weeks we don't even put it out because it's not full. We always put out the recycling, though, and generate a lot of that. Our town has moved to single stream recycling so we don't have to separate anything out, but our system is set up with 3 small trash can sized recycling bins (the size of a regular plastic grocery bag) and one compost bin so we do anyway. We often have to empty it twice a week. We have two big plastic totes for recycling (maybe the size of two kitchen trash cans) and usually fill them both up.

 

What's in your trash can now?

post #6 of 48

What size trash bag?  We fill up about one paper grocery bag per week for 4 people, and we don't squash it down too much.  We compost all food, even meat and cheese and stuff (chickens help).  We recycle everything and try our hardest to send unwanted items to the thrift store or to friends (however, often those items were used when we got them and really aren't worth passing down anymore.)

My husband generates some trash for his landscaping business, and we recently moved and really downsized, so we've made some pretty big trash loads recently that negate what I just answered, but so much included garage stuff that had accumulated for years.

 

beanma, I would probably clean up the dog puke (or, in our case cat puke or hair "balls") with a paper towel and throw it in the compost.  I keep paper towels just for these reasons-- cleaning up greasy pans before washing-- and into the compost they go.  No problem with those in there.

 

Our cats do their business outside, but when we leave them in on trips, they've gotten used to a litter box filled with wood shavings.  It is super cheap and easy to dump in the (more yard-waste-y) compost.  

 

So, big trash bag?  It would take about a month to fill one with regular household trash, and we could do better if I really tried.  Composting religiously makes a huge difference.

post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

 

What's in your trash can now?

Milk Bag - clean

milk bag  - has milk remnants in this - is this recyclable or do I have to wash it first?

banana peel

old pizza - cheese and veggie

tea bag

paper towels

salad  (with dressing - is this compostable?)

bag cat litter

old shoes (not in donatable shape) 

moldy food from the fridge

paper (probably recyclable - but we do like to put paper that has identifying information in the garbage versus the recycle container, as we figure it is less likely to be picked through that the recycling.  Maybe I need to ask Santa for a shredder for xmas…..). Our recycle box also has paper in it - what I suspect is happenning is that if I deal with it, it goes in recycling, if anyone else does, they throw it in the trash.

paper towels

 

Ok.  The above list  is humbling. bag.gif I can easily see that most can go in recycling or in compost (we used to have a compost bin outside, but that has fallen by the wayside, and is covered in weeds.)  Recycling alone might get us down to 2 big bags.   Getting people onboard might be more difficult.  They will not be opposed, but habits are hard to break.  Ugh


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/3/12 at 7:38am
post #8 of 48
Thread Starter 

Sweetsilver...

 

We fill an average of 3-4 large bags a week.bag.gif  Like from the Hefty or Glad Ads?

 

Honestly, I know we have been very naughty.  For years we struggled with too much mess and stuff - and throwing it out seemed much easier and less overwhelming than sorting, and cleaning cans and stuff before they went into the recycling.  I am not upset that the world is giving us this kick to become more environmentally conscious!

post #9 of 48

Yeah, if you start really looking at it you see stuff that can go in the compost or the recycling. I was surprised when I looked at ours in response to this thread and saw several things that I thought could be recycled. 

 

Dog vomit is still going in the trash, though. Bleah! Luckily our current pooches aren't big yakkers. Our dearly departed guy had a very touchy stomach and questionable instincts about what was appropriate to eat (Christmas garland, anyone).  I will clean up a dog pee accident (we have one who is a submissive pee-er) with an old prefold and just wash it. 

 

We probably fill one tall kitchen trash bag a week. Now, I do have a lot of other stuff that needs to be gotten rid of (cleaned out my mom & dad's house about a year ago) and my garage is packed full, but the amount of garbage we produce weekly is about one bag's worth. Sometimes stuff just needs to be thrown away — worn out, ripped underwear, etc. I just rip up identifiable papers, but I think identity theft online is more of a threat than someone going through the recycling. I'm not sure what a milk bag is, but if it's a plastic bag we could probably recycle it here. You're supposed to cut off the hard bits (like a zipper on a zip top bag). All of the following would go in the compost in my house: "banana peel, old pizza, tea bag, paper towels, salad  (with dressing - is this compostable?)". I do put some greasy things in the compost, but not meat and not a brick of cheese. If there's cheese on old pizza or salad dressing on a salad I don't worry about it. Of your list I think the cat litter and the old shoes would probably get thrown away here and the rest recycled or composted. We don't have cats, though, so someone else might be able to better advise on a waste system for kitties. I do take care of a friend's cats when they go out of town and they're big composters and recyclers and they do throw that away. We just let our dogs poop in the backyard. We have a very wooded yard covered in english ivy so it's not noticeable and it composts naturally. I know some people flush their pet waste. 

 

Good luck getting everyone on board. Maybe if you start charging them for their trash output they'll pay attention!

post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

 

Good luck getting everyone on board. Maybe if you start charging them for their trash output they'll pay attention!

Well, the township will sell us "extra bag allotments" at 3-4 dollars a pop - so you might be onto something. 

 

The switch over to 2 bags is months away, so we do have some time to retrain ourselves.  If they really do not get onboard, I am considering emptying a trash bag and having everyone go through it to pick out recyclables.  Gross, but I might not have to do it more than once or twice!

post #11 of 48

I didn't answer the poll because I wasn't sure what you meant by "normal garbage bag size."  We have a family of 4 and we generally take a 30-gallon bag to the dump every other week.  We can usually fit about 3 standard kitchen trash bags in a 30-gallon bag.  We recycle and compost.

post #12 of 48

You could try making a worm bin and maybe your family would be more excited about composting. You can find instructions on the internet on how to set one up. A helpful book is Worms Eat My Garbage.

post #13 of 48

If you can compost, that will help, but if you don't want to compost things like meat, fat, dairy, grains, some places have an organic waste place you can take that stuff.  My town recently started picking it up with our curbside service, but before that you could drive it to the dump for free, or take it to another place that would exchange your bin for a fresh one for $5.  There may be something similar to that in your area that would help.  

 

oh, and I'm not sure how bags compare to my bin, so I'm saying 1/4 to 1/2 bag a person.  We put out our garbage every other week and it's always full by then. 

post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Milk Bag - clean

milk bag  - has milk remnants in this - is this recyclable or do I have to wash it first?  We don't have milk bags here, what is the material?  

banana peel  Compost

old pizza - cheese and veggie  Compost (worm bin best for this, considering it has cheese.)

tea bag  Compost

paper towels  Compost-- would do well in the worm bin to add to bedding

salad  (with dressing - is this compostable?)  Yes, compost

bag cat litter  The bag itself?  If we have plastic bags from cat food, etc, they get filled with garbage

old shoes (not in donatable shape)   Trash or kitschy garden decorations filled with sedums.  OK, that's a stretch.....

moldy food from the fridge  Compost

paper (probably recyclable - but we do like to put paper that has identifying information in the garbage versus the recycle container, as we figure it is less likely to be picked through that the recycling.  Maybe I need to ask Santa for a shredder for xmas…..). Our recycle box also has paper in it - what I suspect is happenning is that if I deal with it, it goes in recycling, if anyone else does, they throw it in the trash.

paper towels  We use the worm bin for sensitive stuff.  Nobody but nobody is going through our gross worm bin.  Even some other paper that would end up in the recycling goes in there for bedding.  

 

Ok.  The above list  is humbling. bag.gif I can easily see that most can go in recycling or in compost (we used to have a compost bin outside, but that has fallen by the wayside, and is covered in weeds.)  Recycling alone might get us down to 2 big bags.   Getting people onboard might be more difficult.  They will not be opposed, but habits are hard to break.  Ugh

post #15 of 48
Thread Starter 

Pictures of milk bags

 

http://www.google.com/search?q=milk+bags+canada&hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=bwNFUL_LJ6P30gGN1ICYDA&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=580

 

3 clear ones (1.333… litres each) are packaged together in a  4 litre outer bag.  Hmmm…it does seem wasteful now that I think about it.

 

The outer bag is LDPE 4 - whatever that means.  I will go back to the township recycling page and see what they say about it.

 

Yeah, I could put the paper in the compost bin. We just have large storage plastic containers as compost - they fill up so fast, that using them has not worked out so well.  Maybe I need to  look into red worms compost - although I think I might start with recycling as it may be easier.  I wonder if worms can overwinter outside?

post #16 of 48

Huh. Learn something new every day. We don't use a lot of milk, but when we do we buy from a local dairy that uses old fashioned glass milk bottles that I can take back to the store for a deposit. The dairy then picks them up from the store and washes, sterilizes and reuses them. http://www.befitbefull.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/IMG_2788.jpg . The only thing that gets thrown away is the plastic top if we can't find a re-use for it.

post #17 of 48

Re: Help me cut down on my garbage bag output

Seems obvious but since no one has mentioned... I break down all containers, regardless if they are going to trash or recycling. Just making everything flat where possible (I even cut apart plastics like from berries) makes a big difference. I had to teach this to my family.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk, please ignore typos!
post #18 of 48
I would put all the food and the tea bags on your list in the compost. The only food waste I don't compost is large bits of meat and bones. Little scraps of meat I put in and we've had no problems with vermin.

Sensitive papers I shred and they go in the compost too. Shredded paper is great for compost and our bin will take all we generate.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 I wonder if worms can overwinter outside?

Some folks partially submerge their worm bin.  You can keep it in a garage or a basement.  It all depends on how cold it gets.  Mainly, it would slow their metabolism down, and thus your compost.   Worms need a lot of bedding in the form of paper or woodshavings, etc.  They can't have it too wet, nor too dry.  They do fill up fast!  

post #20 of 48
We go through about 2kitchen bags a week.

recycling is the key for us. We fill at least 1 30gal container of recyclables a week. Easily 2-3.
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