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]


Obsessive Compulsive Jubbling (Guest Post)

I’m here to tell you about a little something called Obsessive Compulsive Jubbling (OCJ). What is it you ask? Well, OCJ is anytime someone takes Jubbling over the top. For example:

Jubbling: Buy a brush and groom your pets yourself instead of taking them to a professional groomer.

OCJ: Skip the brush and instead groom your cat with your tongue like in this scene from The Office.

[youtube width=”340″ height=”191″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Qwff2gVAg[/youtube]

Be sure to look for OCJ articles in the future. They will be popping up as soon as we find ‘em.