Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recycling: It's easy when it's convenient

Mary and I have been segregating our paper/cardboard, glass/cans/plastic, and 5-cent deposit bottles from the rest of our trash for quite awhile now.

At first, we had bins setup in the garage, but that was impractical. No one is going to walk out to the garage to toss out an empty can of corn. If you want people to do something, it needs to be convenient, so we purchased three bins that go with our kitchen d├ęcor which sit within two steps of the trash compactor.

Any type of container would work, but Mary found these bins with automatic lids. They’re cool, but now I’m having heartburn over the fact that we’ll be disposing spent batteries every few months. Probably the bins that have a foot pedal are a better choice, but any cheap trash can will work—it’s the fact that they’re within reach that matters.

Since implementing the in-kitchen bins, we have reduced our garbage to one bag per week. When I go to the transfer station, I generally have one bag of glass, cans and plastic, two bags of paper, and one bag of 5-cent bottles that I leave in the Little League shed. Before we were separating our trash, I was tossing four bags a week into the trash trailer.

Give it a shot. It saves the town money, which will save you money in the long run. It also feels good to know that you’re playing a part in protecting our environment.


  1. Well done!

    We have a less attractive version of the same three-bin system - yours are handsome, but I'm not even patient enough to wait the second or two for the automatic lid to open.

    A fourth (much smaller) bin on our countertop collects food waste for compost.

    Once the system's in place, it is really very little hassle, and the garbage reduction is huge!

  2. I'm wishing for a compost tumbler for my Tax Day present.

  3. Carl Johansen would state to MR> Hunt that composting can be a very easy thing to do. No machinery needed.

    You have a large enough land mass to make a few round fencing holding places. Good for leaves, layered with houshold leftovers, except meat.. Add a few worms and lyme. Add water periodically

    It may take a little longer, but in the end it is the same results.

    Now I would even provide the open fencing, if you provided the stakes to hold it together\\

    All you would need to do is verify some simple questions and we would be square. That is part of a barter
    process I enjoy doing>

  4. We have recycling bins in the garage and a composter (Earth Machine) in the back yard. My husband mentioned that he is bringing much more volume of recyclables to the dump than garbage each week. We are a family of four and eat at home almost all of the time. This is an easy way to save money for the town.

  5. Since the discussion of pay as you throw, I also decided to test our ability to reduce our waste.

    With a bin system, we have reduced our waste to 1.5 bags per week with a family of 4. Most of the 1.5 bags is food waste.

    So, I am thinking of getting a pig. Not a garbage grinder, but a pig. We have the space and we have the waste. Then we will have zero waste. and I will not have to buy a transfer station sticker.

    I can smell the sizzle of the bacon now.

  6. Where can I find those attractive containers? what brand/model are they? Thanks



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