I guess they were right

My trash-keeping tally for the week comes out to:

  • Compost: 19.5 pounds
  • Trash: 30 pounds
  • Recycling: 30 pounds

Which means that I’m composting nearly 25% of our total near-80-pounds of waste. I guess I should have trusted the statisticians that said 30% of household waste could be composted. It makes me happy, too, to see that we really are recycling a straight-up 50% of our non-compostables.

I’m still pretty appalled that just two people can produce one-half of an adult human’s weight of waste each week, though. I had no idea it was so much. Now when shopping I definitely notice the kind of packaging that my food comes in. I can make choices like not putting my onions, turnips, bananas, or oranges in a plastic bag when I shop. I can bring my cloth bags to the market. But for the most part, I seem not to have much of a choice in how much waste I produce for the amount of food that I eat – for example, all cheese comes wrapped in unrecyclable plastics. I think that in order to make any kind of difference, this is probably an issue that the food companies themselves will have to change.

Knowing that the trash was now full only of plastics, dead meat, and dirty diapers made me dislike putting it out even more. At least before I could pretend that most of what I was putting in the landfill would eventually decompose. Now I see exactly how much permanent landfill we generate, and it kind of sucks.

Most ironic is the amount of that landfill trash that comes from products that are all kinds of organic, local, free-range, natural, humane, non-hormone, non-gmo, vegan-friendly non-dairy and yadda yadda. They plaster their containers with labels proclaiming how good their product is for the environment… and then their packaging isn’t recyclable. Drives me nuts – I just don’t get it.

5 Responses to “I guess they were right”

  1. David Says:

    It can be depressing when you think about all of this; yet, we have made some progress. We just added a recycle bin to our trash. It just now become an available service from our trash company. I noticed, with a warm feeling in my heart, that my neighbors in the block who have the same trash service, also got recycle bins (we pay extra for them, of course). I too, was a little shocked to see how much recyclable stuff we were sending to the landfill, and how much total trash we generate.
    BTW, the original landfill for the city of Wichita, sits DOWNTOWN! across the Arkansas river. Most people don’t know because it has been capped by a huge cement slab but I have dug in places and found stuff from the 1800’s that has not decomposed at all (even some paper stuff)

  2. Rose Says:

    You heard about what they did in Sweden? I’ve forgotten the particulars, but there was a new law passed putting a tax on the amount of garbage you put outside your house. The day after the law was passed, people started taking the outside (unnecessary) packaging off of their just-purchased items while still inside the shops. The shops were left with large amounts of trash and contacted the suppliers and soon unnecessary packaging was a thing of the past. Can you imagine if a law like that were passed here? We’d have so much littering and illegal dumping! But in Sweden, where everyone plays along and obeys rules, they end up with much reduced packaging. Anyhow, I think you are doing an excellent job! You rock!

  3. diana Says:

    Whoa! Little wanna-be historian me would love to be digging in the garden and find something from the 1800s. How cool!

  4. diana Says:

    Rose – that sounds like SUCH a good idea. I wonder if Obama will come up with something similar!

  5. Songspinr Says:

    in our area (monterey, california) we already have recycle box pickup (as part of the paid for, not extra) service. We also have a landfill (dump ) that has won national awards for recycling and sorting usable (lumber, green rocks, etc) stuff and making compost and topsoil out of green trash for resale.Usable stuff dropped off there is resold at the “Last Chance Mercantile” which features dishes, clothes (I saw a designer wedding dress there once for $35.00), sinks, desks, even crutches ($10.00) and lots of books.
    They even had artists create a recycle garden with whimsical sculptures made from recycled goods.
    Monterey Rocks…
    I think you do great, diana. Keep it up.

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