Monday, November 22, 2010

Changing the Way We Think About Trash

According to Clean Air Council, Americans produce an average of 4.39 lbs trash/day.  That would be 61.5lb (28kg) in our household if Noah isn’t counted, and 92lb (46kg) if he is.  For the simplicity of getting down to 1/10 of the average, I’m going to count him-- plus, the average baby actually creates more trash than adults, despite their tininess.

Over the next two months, I’m going to be writing a lot about trash.  My goal is for our family to have one plastic shopping bag of nonrecyclable trash a week (probably 4-6lb), and not a lot in our green bin (for plastics and metal), for a total of up to 9lb, or 1/10 of the average.  Our paper waste is mainly junk mail, which I will work on reducing in the New Year.  I’m aiming to eliminate our food waste by improving our composting.  When we run out of plastic shopping bags, I’d considering an alternative to putting our trash in a plastic bag, particularly since most food items don’t go in there so smell is not necessarily a huge issue.  Has anyone tried putting their trash directly into their trash can?  Thoughts?

Almost 1/3 of the waste generated in the U.S. is packaging.  A lot of packaging reflects mass production and centralization, which in my bravest moments, is something I want to work against, in favor of decentralization and local production. To reduce our waste, I’m using reusable produce bags, bulk bins at the local coop, and reusing as much as I can.  I won’t use single use items like paper cups or takeout containers.  But Eug can, if he likes, before he gets his kleen kanteen for Christmas.

What's been the most trash-reducing move you've made?

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