Bi-Weekly Garbage Pickup May Be The Key To Reduce Waste And Drive Up Recycling Rates

Waste Management in Portland.Great article in the NY Times, “Cities Get So Close to Recycling Ideal, They Can Smell It,” about the success of waste handling programs in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. What stood out most was the City of Portland’s switch to bi-weekly garbage pickups and how it has increased recycling rates. Yes, more people are putting their garbage in the recycle bin because they produce trash beyond the twice-a-month pickup. But overall, 44% less waste is being deposited in the landfill thanks to the program.

Sanford and Son Salvage TruckThe bi-weekly trash pickup is a simple solution that’ll definitely motivate people to recycle more. We tried to get that type of garbage service where we live and it’s just not available. So now, about once a month, I load up my car with one 32 gallon trash can and head to the dump. It’s my stinky, flying-bug infested, Sanford & Son’ish monthly date with the dump that is propelled by cheap and guided by Jubbling. [NY Times]

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Dungeness Spit Hike

Dungeness Spit - Decomposition TimelineIf you’re out on the Olympic Peninsula, you definitely have to make a stop and do the Dungeness Spit hike to the lighthouse. It’s more of a beach walk but at 11 miles round-trip, it just feels like a hike. Near the start of the trail, the park ranger has created a very old-school infographic on the decomposition time of different items left or washed ashore on the beach. Inspired, my kids and I decided to get all earthy and walked most of the first 5.5 miles barefoot and that wasn’t a good idea. Only bonus is that I probably shortened my decomposition time by 2 hours. [Washington Trails Association]

[quicktime width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.jubbling.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/hitchhiking-dungeness-spit.mov[/quicktime]

Trying to hitchhike back to the Dungeness Spit trailhead.

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Going From Eight Trash Cans A Month To One

Captain Andrew Lane with familyReading about Captain Andrew Lane’s efforts to live a zero-waste lifestyle in GoodCaptain Andrew Lane - Captain Planet inspired me to write about my family’s efforts to reduce the amount we throw out.

Capt. Lane, aka Captain Planet, has been working to reduce waste since he was in college. Even deployed in Iraq, Capt. Lane reused a plastic spoon and Tupperware and didn’t contribute to the pile of thrown out dinnerware. Now at home with his family of four, his goal is to live a trash-free lifestyle and to help others do the same.

Reducing Waste
Van Calvez - Zero Impact ManTwo years and 8 cans of trash per month ago, I posted an article about Van Calvez, “No Impact Man,” and how his family reduced their output of trash to an amount that fit in one Ziploc bag. His advice was simple:

  1. Compost – eliminates the stink in garbage, makes garbage dry and much less unpleasant.
  2. Recycle More – take a little extra time to spot recyclables in your garbage.
  3. Buy in bulk – avoid disposable, single use containers; switch to reusable containers.
  4. Cook from scratch – focusing on fresh, raw, whole, local foods.
  5. Analyze your garbage – keep an eye on what is going into your trash.

I tried to improve by implementing most of Mr. Calvez’s tips and the one that made the biggest difference in our house was composting. Food in the garbage goes bad – especially in the summer. Separating it from dry trash means you’re less likely to stuff the bag and throw it out early. If you can compost, do it.

Now here are a couple of additional tips that helped us go from 8 to 1 trash can per month:

  1. Donate – Goodwill, Salvation Army etc. You may no longer see value in what you’re donating but G & S will.
  2. Buy less – perishable food, toys, things. And before you do buy something, think of how you’re going to recycle it.
  3. Part it out – along the lines of ‘Recycle More’; some items that you’d normally just throw in the garbage have parts that can be separated and recycled. ie. The glass, plastic, metal, and cardboard of a broken picture frame or even the top lid of a pizza box.
  4. Patience – when you’re feeling rushed, everything goes in the trash. Even food. Taking your time when it comes to throwing stuff out is the key.

We’ll never get down to a Ziploc bag of garbage but that wasn’t our goal. We just wanted to reduce.

We all create non-point source waste commuting, working, vacationing etc. But focusing on, and limiting what we throw out at home is important. Even if you travel around the world daily, you can still take pride in reducing what goes into your garbage can. Good luck! [Good]

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The Cleanoscope Garbage Can Will Make The Trash You Throw In It Look More Interesting

The Cleanoscope - Nishant JethiThe Cleanoscope Garbage CanThe Cleanoscope garbage can just might motivate people to throw away trash even if it’s not their own. It uses two mirrors to reflect what is inside the trash can to produce a kaleidoscope’ish image that makes garbage look good. Designed by Nishant Jethi, the first Cleanoscope was installed in a children’s park in Mumbai India and collected 288 lbs of trash in one week; a normal, similar sized trash can will collect an average of 180 lbs per week. The Cleanoscope wins by 108 (pounds of trash)! [DesignBoom via Gizmodo]


[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0cTUqzjK4A[/youtube]

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‘No Impact Man’ seeks to make big ‘Jubbling’ impact – BI Review

Bainbridge Island Review – Bainbridge Island WA resident Van Calvez wants to see everyone reduce their trash and he is leading the charge by example.  The photo of Van includes his garbage output for all of 2005; it fits in one zip lock bag.  I could do this too if the zip lock bag was the size of a house but still, I’m Jubbling and my goal is to try and make that house-sized zip lock bag smaller every year. It seems Van feels the same way and reached a point where he couldn’t reach ‘Zero’ waste so he now focuses on helping people make lifestyle changes to reduce the amount they throw out.

We contacted Van and here are his top 5 tips for reducing your trash output:

  1. Compost – eliminates the stink in garbage, makes garbage dry and much less unpleasant.
  2. Recycle More – take a little extra time to spot recyclables in your garbage.
  3. Buy in bulk – avoid disposable, single use containers; switch to reusable containers.
  4. Cook from scratch – focusing on fresh, raw, whole, local foods.
  5. Analyze your garbage – keep an eye on what is going into your trash.

In effect, Van Calvez is more than achieving his goal of ‘Zero Waste’ by helping others reduce theirs. Van also recommended trying to go zero-waste for one week. After separating all of the recyclables and compostables, check what’s left “to see if there is a way to not generate this trash in the first place?.” Van is a proponent of buying in bulk too:

“I encourage people to look for opportunities to reduce their recyclables as well. The difference between reusable containers vs. single use recyclable containers is huge. If a person reuses a container 10 times, the consumption of resources and energy is roughly 1/10th that of a single use container. 100 times = 1/100 the consumption, etc. Every time I reuse something, that means one less thing that needs to be manufactured.”

‘No Impact Man’ – Full BI Review article.

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