Friday, March 5, 2010


I've been thinking about garbage recently.  Its the smell.  I forgot garbage day last week and had a bag of garbage sitting in the recycling closet waiting.  We used to have a two bag limit in town.  We'd get special fluorescent stickers to put on bags of garbage.  No sticker... no garbage removal.  This year, garbage stickers have been abolished as a cost saving measure.  Hand delivering a package of stickers to every household apparently became more expensive than dumping costs.  There was even a public meeting to debate options...  I didn't care much, seeing as we never used our allotted stickers with our family of either four or five.

There is also a bylaw that all garbage had to be put out in clear bags, theory being that this would encourage recycling.  I haven't exactly grown up with the idea of recycling, but we're young enough to still have been adaptable.  Many people aren't.  It always shocked me when taking big items to the dump how many easy recyclables - that had a weekly pickup - still got dumped.  Paper, tin cans, and pop cans.

Anyway, waste wise, in a typical week (there is more garbage when we have a foster kid.  We have yet to have one who understood the concept of recycling!) we dispose of:
  • One full 35 litre kitchen garbage can - bitty things, non compostable food waste, dumpings from the vacuum canister, plastic, styrofoam, whatever else.
  • Between half and two thirds of a 12 litre step on garbage can - mostly diapers and wipes.  We used to be 100% cloth diaper, but Leaf had a hard time keeping up with laundry when the septic froze last winter & I was away at school.  Getting better again, but still use disposable 10-15% of the time, most often when carrying bags of wet and smelly cloth diapers is not practical.
  • Between half and two thirds of a 50 litre blue box with aluminum, steel, glass, and plastic
  • Between half and two thirds of a 50 litre grey box with cardboard and paper
  • Three 2 litre ice cream containers of compost (this goes into our own compost pile)

I've managed to improve my recycling skills.  The kitchen garbage would get overfilled by one or two days before garbage pickup.  The lid wouldn't close, it would smell bad, the bag would get pushed down into the container and make a mess...  I started being pickier about what got recycled instead and managed to cut it down by enough that  we now fill, rather than overfill, in the course of the week.

I feel bad about the amount of food we waste, but that is inevitable with two young kids.  Other than that, I think we do a pretty good job without going overboard or being inconvenienced in any way.

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