Today is garbage-day at our house, and I’ve been noticing our garbage container has been only 3/4 full, the past few times we put it out. Our garbage get’s picked up every other week. (The other week the biodegradable “garbage” get’s picked up to be composted). Now, I know my household produces a lot of waste. We used to completely fill up the 240 L container every two weeks. We have six cats, which means we have seven litter-boxes that need scooping every day. They also eat canned food in the morning, so every day, a large can get’s tossed. So every two weeks that’s 14 large cans and 14 small bags of catlitter. That’s a lot of garbage, just from cats. Other then that, we’re doing pretty well. We make an effort to recycle and reduce our garbage, but I think we can do better. We’ve already taken of about a quarter of our garbage, but I think we can half it. Which leads me to our new challenge: Half your garbage in one month.
This challenge will be very easy to track for us, since we simply have to skip the next garbage day without the bin overflowing at the end of the month. I’m convinced we can do this, and as an added bonus, our city is really promoting recycling, so for every time you don’t put your garbage-bin out to be emptied, you get a discount on your bill for next year. So we’ll even be saving money, while saving the environment.
There are many things you can do to reduce your waste. The most important is of course to recycle. First find out what materials can be recycled in our area. Luckily for us, a LOT can be recycled here. We recycle plastic, “compostables”, glass and paper. In our area there are also many bins for recycling clothes and small appliances, but we don’t usually toss these in the first place. By paying a little more attention to our trash, I think we can recycle even more than we already do, so that’ll take us much closer to our goal. Right now our kitchen looks very messy because we have different shaped and sized containers for the different kinds of trash, so we’re still working on a more aesthetically pleasing solution.
You should also pay attention to the things you buy. Any foods or drink that come packaged separately, will add a lot to your garbage. They’re usually more expensive as well, so you’ll save money by buying them in a single package. If you have children, who have a hard time sharing, try getting them separate lunchboxes or bowls and reusable cups and simply divide it for them. No more fighting, but no more extra garbage either.
If you buy more products at, for example, your local farmers market, you will find there’s a lot you can buy that doesn’t come packaged at all. That’s even less garbage!
I’m personally going to be looking for a way to reduce the litterbox waste. I know there are some biodegradable brand of litter out there, but all of the ones I’ve found so far require the entire box to be emptied every singe day (so no scooping) which seems like even more of a waste to me. Perhaps with some more research I’ll find a better solution.
I hope you’ll join me in my challenge. If you do really well, you could even end up like zero-waste blogger Lauren Singer, who can fit four months worth of trash in a single mason jar. Check out her blog, here.
There are many more ways to reduce your garbage. All your own tips, tricks and experiences are welcome. You can join (or start) this challenge any time you want and, please, let me know how you’re doing.
Goodluck on the challenge!