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09-11-2012 10:47 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

It also helps if you have the set up to make recycling as easy as possible, like if you can have two trashcans side by side with one being for recycling. That way, the family member will take something to the trash and be reminded to think about which place to put it simply by there being an option. And they won't be as tempted to put recyclables in the trash because it's closer/easier.

This, exactly.

 

Also, if your community has yard waste pickup, some services allow food waste (also used paper, like pizza boxes, paper plates, etc.) to be included.  Seattle has such a service, but they are a large, recycling-minded city.  Nearby Olympia also started food waste in the yard waste in some areas.

09-11-2012 08:21 AM
4evermom

Maybe a reminder sign would help? Our township gave out magnets that listed what was recyclable, so I plunked that on our indoor recycling bin. That way visitors know what is recyclable, too. I'm always asking when I visit people because it is so variable from place to place. It also helps if you have the set up to make recycling as easy as possible, like if you can have two trashcans side by side with one being for recycling. That way, the family member will take something to the trash and be reminded to think about which place to put it simply by there being an option. And they won't be as tempted to put recyclables in the trash because it's closer/easier.

09-10-2012 06:14 PM
kathymuggle

We put out garbage tomorrow and we are currently at 2.5 bags.  carrot.gif

 

We will be under our 3 bag limit.

 

Up until this week we almost always had 4 bag for our 5 person family.

 

I did it primarily through recycling.  I learned a fair bit about what can and cannot be put in the blue box.   Old habits are hard to break and I probably have hauled about 10 times out of the trash this week, asked who the guilty culprit was, and had them recycle them.  I need to make myself a badge that says "recycle police,"  lol.    I only looked on the top layer of trash, so I am sure there is more I missed.  

09-10-2012 05:53 PM
elus0814

I would estimate 10 regular sized garbage bags per week for 7 people plus more if we're cleaning out a closet or have another project going on. We can't compost and there is no recycling. It fills a large rolling garbage can to overflowing, the kind where if an adult stood in it the edge would be up to their chest and they have a foot of open space in each direction all around them. It's a lot of garbage, I admit it.

 

I could take things to be recycled but we don't have the space to store them, there's no space in the van to haul very much, and it would involve a 60 minute round trip drive to a bad part of the city to drop it off.... by myself with five little kids. Even if I felt safe going there and had the time I'm not sure if, environmentally, it would make sense to use so much gas to drop off the 4-5 garbage bags I might be able to squeeze in there (that would have black widow spiders living in them from being stored in the garage where there are lots of them).

 

I try not to buy things that have excessive packaging and we seldom use paper towels. Things are overwhelming right now with three kids in diapers so we're using disposables, that probably accounts for an entire bag full per week. Most of the garbage is food packaging and things that would otherwise be recycled. Things like laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, cereal boxes, peanut butter jars,  and so on take up lots of space even when squished down.

09-10-2012 04:57 PM
justmama

We are a family of 4 and we recycle everything we possibly can but cannot compost here in a rental house(a duplex with a shared yard) and we put out one bag a week.  Recycling pick-up is free in my town but we pay for garbage so we keep it to the very bare minimum and try not to waste food.  Most of our garbage is unavoidable packaging.  I try to keep down the grocery bill so that sometimes means packaging for food, though we do mostly homemade items.

09-09-2012 09:34 AM
4evermom

Most weeks our family of three just puts out one tall kitchen sized trash bag (13 gallon). The only time it's more is if there is yard waste (other than leaves which get vacuumed up curbside in the fall). Or if I'm cleaning out the garage or basement or doing some crazy project like reupholstering a couch and throwing out all the old fabric and stuffing. We don't compost but we do recycle what we can and have curbside pickup of plastics #1 and #2, cans, glass, paper, and cardboard. We donate/sell/give-away things we don't want that are still in usable condition.

 

We try to take care of possessions even if we don't like them or want them so that they are in good condition for someone else. For instance, I could never get behind letting a child destroy a toy thinking it was theirs to decide what to do with. And I'm bothered if things get damaged from neglect (left out in the weather) or misuse. Buying well made things helps, too. Less breakage, less trash. I fix or mend things when possible. I don't spend a great amount of energy but frequently a spot of glue or a few stitches make the difference between trash or not.

09-07-2012 07:18 PM
SunRise
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

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?

When I was growing up my mom used to wash the milk bags and use them for our sandwich bags. At my uncles house he has a branch with several limbs with milk bags propped on the limbs drying, ready to reuse.
09-05-2012 08:05 PM
elsie

yeah -  our county is great and they send us every year an updates list of what can be recycled (of course, I recycle the old poster). I went on a tour of the sanitation station once and they are constantly looking for companies who can help them expand their recycling by buying the recycled materials.

 

Anyway, our county also posts the recyclables online as well. We can recycle cardboard juice containers but it was added to the list about 2 years ago.

09-05-2012 07:40 PM
beanma

MamaPrincess worm bins are great for apartments. You can even put it under the kitchen sink.

 

http://smallnotebook.org/2008/04/06/how-to-make-a-worm-compost-bin/ (specifically about a worm bin in an apartment)

 

http://www.cityfarmer.org/wormcomp61.html

09-05-2012 07:05 PM
NetteinNJ

We only use plastic grocery bags for our garbage and we only have one or two of those a week in a two adult, one baby, one dog home.  We recycle, compost, and reuse/re-purpose as much as we possibly can.  My husband is totally on board, as a matter of face he catches things that are recyclable that I have tossed.  Maybe that is something that could help you motivate your family...could you turn it into a game?  Give an incentive for finding things that made/almost made it into the trash that are recyclable?

09-05-2012 05:14 PM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

My bags are 75 litres….so 20 gallons.

 

This thread has been really positive for me - about 70% of you are under 1/2 a bag per person a week.  I suspect many of you have better recycling than I, but I can compost where I live.  I have started a compost bucket on the counter.

 

We are going to start with getting our recycling under control - and figuring out what is recyclable (new question:  Juice carton?  Not tetra?)  

We actually take our recyclables straight to the dump.  We did not sign up for garbage pick up here in our new house.  In town we were required to (good thing because everyone was burning their trash--not only illegal but gross and toxic).  We just don't have enough garbage to justify pick-up here.  Often the transfer stations will have a better range of recyclables they take, and most are free, excepting large items such as appliances and computers.

 

We plan to process a good portion of our paper here, turning into compost and worm casting.  Milk cartons and "juice boxes," glass, etc. are saved for the transfer station.  They will also usually take ferrous metals there.

09-05-2012 04:47 PM
MamaPrincess

Just curious, how do you compost if you live in the appartment? I mean I would love to but I don't know where to start...

I am afraid that it would smell so bad if it would be on the balcony.. or would it? If I had like a composting can

and another bucket with actual soil that I would sort of like layear throwing at the top of whatever goes into compost?

 

Any tips?

09-05-2012 04:18 PM
34me

2 adults, 3 teens and 2 big dogs.  We generally put out one kitchen sized bag a week in our ginormous rolling bin.  We generally fill our ginormous recycling bin as that only gets picked up every 2 weeks and then we have a yardwaste bin that gets picked up weekly from May through November.  Our solid waste company will take all kinds of mixed recyclables but not shredded paper ( I think when they dump the bin it has a tendency to flu); however, the city has a seperate recycling center that will so I just save it up.  We get our milk delivered from the dairy in glass bottles that they then pick up; the caps go to the kids' schools as the dairy will pay the school $.05 a cap.  I really want to start composting (dh thinks it's grody) but I just saw a worm place today!  He might be SOL :-).  Good Luck!

09-05-2012 04:02 PM
squantz06812

We are fortunate to have a fantastic recycling system where we live and I'm very committed to recycling so our actual garbage is very minimal. 

 

We've been composting for 5+ years but the animals destroy my compost 'bin'.  I'd love some advice as what you do for your compost 'bin'.  We live in the woods in Connecticut adjacent to a 100 acre nature preserve so there are lots of wild animals around. 

09-05-2012 02:36 PM
blessedwithboys
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

We are going to start with getting our recycling under control - and figuring out what is recyclable (new question:  Juice carton?  Not tetra?)  

 

I can recycle juice cartons where I live but it really depends on what your city/municipality is set up for.

09-05-2012 02:34 PM
blessedwithboys

I didn't vote, but only bc I suck at math!  haha

 

My number one piece of advice for you is to start by being more mindful of what you buy.  For example, I don't buy single-use items like paper towels and Kleenex.  (I tried family cloth a few years back but decided I really, really like toilet paper!)  That cuts down on garbage, but if you must buy these things, either recycle the core tube or better yet, compost the tube and all the used towels.  Another trick I do is to make a decision in the store based on the recyclable-ness (whatever) of the packaging.  I have to take styrofoam back to the store but I can put cardboard in the recycling.  What usually happens is that I keep forgetting to take foam egg cartons back and ust get pissed and throw them out, so I decided I am willing to send an extra $.15/dozen to buy the eggs in the cardboard carton.  And my city only accepts plastic food containers that have a neck smaller than the body, so I buy peanut butter in glass rather than plastic.  Ideally, I would buy eggs from a local farm, or even keep my own chickens, and I do grind my own nut butters from time to time, but life isn't always ideal, right?

 

So after first being a more conscious consumer, the next thing is to get into composting.  I've been worm composting for a couple of months now and it's so much fun!  I think I have enough confidence now to try a big pile outside, which will allow me to compost an even wider variety of items.

 

Our city does the big 50 or 75 or however many gallon wheeled carts, with the recycling being single-stream.  Pick up is once a week.  I put my garbage out maybe once a month, but its never full.  I put the recycling out every 2-3 weeks, not bc I don't recycle but bc I plan ahead while shopping to reduce my consumption and bc I now compost.

 

 

Milk Bag - clean     IS IT RECYCLABLE WHERE YOU LIVE?

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

banana peel    COMPOST

old pizza - cheese and veggie   COMPOST OUTDOORS BUT ONLY IN SMALL QUANTITIES

tea bag    COMPOST

paper towels  COMPOST

salad (with dressing - is this compostable?)  YES, IN SMALL QUANTITIES

bag cat litter  

old shoes (not in donatable shape)   RECYCLE THEM

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.    SHRED AND RECYCLE OR FOR SECURITY, COMPOST IT

paper towels   COMPOST

 

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   It can be done!  :)  Make it easy by putting containers out in the open.  Do you have Netflix (Are you in Canada?  Do you even have it there?)  Anyway, I've watched some pretty enlightening documentaries about the glut of trash and how it affects the ecosystem.  Maybe showing a film like that to your family will inspire them?

09-05-2012 01:25 PM
kathymuggle
Quote:
Originally Posted by denvertoo View Post

First a question, what are the bag sizes? 

My bags are 75 litres….so 20 gallons.

 

This thread has been really positive for me - about 70% of you are under 1/2 a bag per person a week.  I suspect many of you have better recycling than I, but I can compost where I live.  I have started a compost bucket on the counter.

 

We are going to start with getting our recycling under control - and figuring out what is recyclable (new question:  Juice carton?  Not tetra?)  

09-05-2012 01:08 PM
guenhwyvar

We put put out 120 litres (about 32 gallons) of garbage every two months which calculates out to about 4 gallons of garbage a week for a family of six.  So, we produce a little over half a gallon of garbage each weekly in our family.  We are working on cutting that back a lot more.  In addition to composting, we also have recycle collection (glass, paper, plastic, metals, etc.) and "bio" collection which takes all the sorts of things you shouldn't throw on the compost (meat and dairy products, cooked foods and such).  Between composting and recycling and bio collection, there is very little that need go in the garbage.  Most of what goes in the garbage is due to a kid not being bothered to find the right bin!  So, even producing a half gallon each weekly of rubbish could be improved on!

09-05-2012 12:10 PM
denvertoo

First a question, what are the bag sizes? 

09-05-2012 12:00 PM
IngaAnne

We have two adults, one kid, and two large dogs. Every week, we put out one bag of trash. Sometimes it's full, other times it's not, but the trash stinks too much to keep it around for longer than a week. I compost fruit and veggie scraps and we have a huge amount of recycling most weeks. I'm working on being less wasteful so we can cut back on recycling, too. The goal for me is far less plastic-use.

 

I use reusable bags for shopping and produce and refuse produce that is packaged 99% of the time. We use cloth napkins and towels. Paper towels are reserved for sick doggie mess.

09-04-2012 05:54 PM
FillingMyQuiver

At our best, my family of 7 was generating one 13 gallon bag of trash every 2 weeks.  It was very labor intensive for me since I was the adult home all day with my 5 children under 8.

 

Now, we're generating about one 13 gallon bag of trash per week, so 1/7 of a bag per person.  We haul our own trash and recycling and we try to combine the trip with other errands on the weekend, so keeping our trash output to a minimum is a priority so we don't have loads of stinky trash to haul.

 

Mostly it boils down to be diligent about recycling, composting, reusing, and limiting what packaging comes into the house.  The Zero Waste Home calls it the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

 

We use these bins for our recycling.  Our county recycles mixed paper (anything that tears), newspaper, #1 and #2 plastics, all colors of glass, cans, plastic retail bags, and textiles, plus a bunch of other more specialized things like used motor oil, batteries, old paint, electronics, etc.

 

We use 1 bin for glass, 1 bin for plastics/ cans, and 1 for mixed paper.  When they're full, we haul to the recycling center.

 

We have very limited paper product usage in our home.  1 roll of paper towels will last us at least 6 months, depending on how often we make bacon, and we use cloth napkins, reusable cleaning cloths, and hand knit dishcloths for washing dishes.

09-04-2012 01:59 PM
elsie

We have different recycling containers form the county - paper, mixed and yard waste. With that, we have 1.5 bags of trash per week in a family of four with two cats. My large paper bin is almost always completely full. We only use paper towels for the cat mess that whenever we have bacon (like once  ayear). Most of what is in the trash is meat containers, unrecyclable food containers (plastic wrap, net bagging, cheese stick wrappers, etc) and floor sweeping/vacuum cleaner dust.

 

About senstive mail - you can easily recycle most of it and just cut out the bits with identifying information. We shred those pieces, but I don't like shredding the bigger pieces since it wears out the shredder. A large box of mail can be reduce to a small stack of what actually needs to be shredded. The rest gets thrown immediately into the recycle.

09-04-2012 07:38 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post
In the laundry room, I have a large-ish garbage can where I mostly keep 'dry' garbage (like teeny paper/craft scraps, stuff from doing laundry, bent nails, etc). 

Ooooh.... dryer lint can be composted, too.  (Not that it will make a dent in your garbage size.)

 

I once did a trial for several months and threw just about everything into the worm bin, just to see.  Cellulose sponges dissolved.  I composted socks (a lot of lycra to bother with, unless you are committed), bedraggled paperbacks, pretty much everything I guessed might get processed.  You can compost cotton balls and q-tips, too.

09-04-2012 07:21 AM
mumkimum

We are a family of 2 adults, 2 young kids, and 2 cats.  We have 2 kitchen garbage bags per week, generally, with an occasional 3rd (again, kitchen garbage bag size - like those white ones, not the huge black bags).  One of these is the kitchen garbage (with small bathroom garbage bag stuffed inside too), the other is cat litter.  We compost and keep recycling separate.

 

 

Garbage habits that might be of interest:

 

In the laundry room, I have a large-ish garbage can where I mostly keep 'dry' garbage (like teeny paper/craft scraps, stuff from doing laundry, bent nails, etc).  I will empty the kids room garbage cans in here so as not to take them out weekly (usually just stuff like tiny paper scraps, wrappers from things).  Doing something like this might save you a bag sometimes that you can reserve for whenever you have  a lighter garbage week.  I personally am doing it more out of laziness and so as not to waste garbage bags.

 

Compost piles don't have to be formal or contained.  Seriously, my folks have a compost heap that's loosely covered by a plastic tablecloth behind their garage (to help deter animals, somewhat, and keep it from getting soggy).  Most important thing to keep your compost pile going is having a container inside that people remember to use and someone committed to actually getting it outside.  We've sometimes put paper scrap in our compost too (like shredding, like other PP's mentioned).  Yes, stuff like old bread and moldy food totally go in there.  It really helps your garbage not smell as badly, either, when you compost all those food scraps.  

 

Our city will also take plastic bags of shredding if labeled 'paper' for recycling (and we save personal stuff for various free shredding events too, just to save ourselves the time of having to do it ourselves).  So either of those might be interesting to see if they're available for you.

 

I also save and re-use a lot of our various collected plastic containers - I have a dedicated box for cleaned ones in our basement that can get grabbed for whatever we need.  Somehow, we accumulate a lot of stuff of this nature and I know if we just threw it out it would really increase our garbage.  We've always ended up using it up (sending leftover food to people, packing up holiday cookies, or letting the kids do whatever with).   

09-04-2012 07:18 AM
kathymuggle
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Do your grocery stores take plastic bags? Almost all of the grocery stores here accept plastic bags for recycling. We just save them up and take them back for recycling when we go shopping. Maybe this would help: http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org/plasticbag/s01_consumers.html . It has a list of all the different kinds of plastic we can recycle.

I can reduce my plastic bags - easily.

 

Plastic bags costs 5 cents each, free if you bring your own.

I can also use boxes for free from the store

I can use cloth bags.

 

Retail bags may come down to reduce more than recycle.

 

I can donate them to the library or second hand shop.

 

There will still be the milk bags, plus other bags (I do not use plastic bags for fruit or veggies - DH does, he has germ phobia thing going on)

 

kathy

09-04-2012 07:05 AM
ollyoxenfree

If a garbage bag means a Hefty green garbage bag, then we use less than 1/4 per person. Some months, I doubt we would even fill one of those bags. We have a really good municipal waste system though. There is separate pick up for compostables and it takes meat and dairy waste as well as veggies. The recycling takes almost everything including plastics, styrofoam and paper. There is very little that we have to put into the "garbage" stream. Hopefully your regional waste management system will make some changes and make it easier for you. 

 

I found that it helps to make the separation as convenient as possible. I have a stainless compost bucket with a lid on the kitchen counter, near the sink. I also have 2 lidded trash bins in the kitchen. The "garbage" bin is quite small - about the size that someone would keep in an office near a desk. The recycling bin is 2 or 3 times bigger than the "garbage" bin. It's a good visual reminder for everyone. 

 

Good luck with changing family habits. It can take a little time so don't get discouraged. 

09-04-2012 06:51 AM
beanma

Do your grocery stores take plastic bags? Almost all of the grocery stores here accept plastic bags for recycling. We just save them up and take them back for recycling when we go shopping. Maybe this would help: http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org/plasticbag/s01_consumers.html . It has a list of all the different kinds of plastic we can recycle.

09-04-2012 06:35 AM
kathymuggle

Grrr….I just called the township and they do not take plastic bags for recycling.  

09-04-2012 06:26 AM
chel 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.
09-03-2012 07:21 PM
SweetSilver
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!  

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