We have weekly garbage and recycling pick-up in our community.
Deus Ex Machina and I have recycled since we bought our house, even before there was curbside recycling. Back then, we collected all of our recyclables and took them to the next town over where they had bins. Now, with it being so easy, we can't imagine *not* doing it and are often a little disappointed and frustrated that our neighbors won't. Deus Ex Machina has chatted with our recycling guy on a couple of occasions who has confided that if he sees something that is "recyclable" that's not in a recycle bin, but seems destined for the trash, he'll grab it. I love that attitude!
It wasn't enough, though, to just recycle. We also wanted to reduce the overall amount of garbage we threw out each week. Over time, we've really tried to limit what gets tossed. The first step was composting or feeding kitchen wastes to the chickens. At this point, nothing that has compost potential ends up in the garbage, and our chickens are very happy with their very diverse diet :). Next we started buying things fresh and/or in bulk to limit the packaging. Single serve yogurt is convenient, but the 24 oz container creates less waste ... or better, yet, making my own and reusing containers produces no waste at all ;). After that, we concentrated our efforts on choosing packing materials that are either reusable or recyclable.
Recycling isn't a perfect solution, because disposal is disposal, and at some point, if we have to find a way to dispose of our "waste", if even recycling is no longer an option, our only option will be to not produce waste.
The other night we were collecting the items to put out for curbside pick-up. I was very proud of us.
Over the last few years, with some little bit of conscious effort, we have managed to reduce the amount of garbage that goes to the curb each week. When we got to one 15 gal kitchen bag per week for our family of five, we thought we'd hit the big time. I think we didn't even begin to realize our potential.
This week, we didn't put any garbage out at the curb. The kitchen trash is not, yet, full, and none of the other cans needed to be emptied, either. We had recycling (about the same amount as usual), but no garbage. I think that's pretty impressive.
The question is, how many weeks could we go without putting the garbage can to the curb?
But, being the inquisitive that I am, I wonder ...
And if we decided to make a real, hardcore attempt at reduce, reuse, and repurpose, how long would it take us to fill up a recycilng bin?
I wonder how many weeks we could go without filling either ...?