Friday, February 15, 2013

Frugal - Even on Trash Day!

Thursday is our weekly day to haul trash bins to the curb for collection by the City of Madison.  Garbage is picked up every Friday, recyclables every other Friday.  In a house that aims to recycle as much as possible, there are weeks when the green bin (a.k.a. recyclables) is bursting.  Or at least it used to be.

Late last year I came across a great post on "trucking air" and blogged about our adoption of "stomp on in first".  Yes, simply by stomping on milk containers and other bulky recyclables  we can increase the amount of items that fit in our containers.  And as a result more items fit into the truck, requiring fewer drop offs at the recycling center, less gasoline, etc.  All from stomping on plastic.  Or stacking.  Yes, yogurt containers, cottage cheese bins, and the like now form a tower under my sink until they are too tall.  Gone are the days of tossing each one willy nilly into the bin.  The space saved is amazing.

Author and daughter stomping a milk jug before tossing it in the recycle bin

Whether you pay directly for refuse collection, or the cost is included in your property taxes, we all pay a price for throwing items out.  Reduce and reuse only take you so far.  Here are a few of my ways to reduce what goes to the curb, either as trash or recyclables:

  • Stomp and stack as described above;
  • Compost food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, cardboard, newspaper, etc. (even in winter);
  • Feed the critters -- discarded food from our young children that is not suitable for the compost heap is tossed to the squirrels, crows, and other critters; and
  • Empty the contents of a small trash can, usually from a bathroom or home office, into the large kitchen container.  This allows me to reuse garbage bags, reducing plastic in the dump and reducing our expenditures.
How about you, are you frugal on trash day too?  Post a comment and share, I am always looking for inspiration.

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