Photo by D’Arcy Norman
Garbage – Yuck!!
Garbage is one of those things that most people probably wish that we didn’t have to deal with – and is probably not something that you want to really spend any time thinking about. It smells, it’s dirty, it’s just plain gross! But what I had never really realized or thought about before, is that we are what we waste.
Think about it, our garbage says a lot about us. You’ve heard the stories about investigators who go through people’s garbage and find out all of the details about a person’s life (not sure if this really happens in real life, or just in the movies). But when you think about the kinds of things you throw away, you can start to see how it reflects on the kind of lifestyle you are living.
On Monday, I did a garbage inventory to see how much, and what kind of garbage I was throwing away on a typical day. I really tried to do things as I normally would, and not avoid creating garbage or throwing something away. I want to try to reduce our waste and the amount of garbage that we produce as a family and I figured the best way to start was to figure out what we are actually throwing away.
Jer was not involved at all in this because he wasn’t at home (and I’m not sure he would’ve cooperated anyway – he gave me a pretty strange look when I showed him the garbage bag sitting on the kitchen counter!) So, it was just K and I’s waste for the day. It was pretty interesting to me and I have a few observations, some good and some not so good about the waste that we create.
Observations from My Garbage Inventory
We created just about 2lbs. of waste for the day. The garbage bag I used was not very full, but when I weighed it on my kitchen scale, I was surprised. 2lbs a day x 7 days a week = 14lbs of waste a week, 728 lbs. a year. Yikes! That is a lot! And that doesn’t even include Jer’s waste.
2. I was surprised by the type of waste we created.
There was a lot of food waste, and I really hate to throw away food – it just feels so… wasteful! Kaelyn is in a stage of not being a great eater, so she leaves a lot of food behind that she doesn’t eat. There were also just things like banana peels and grapes that were just a little too old. One thing I have been contemplating doing for a while, and now am pretty sure I want to start doing, is composting so I can reduce the amount of food waste we throw away.
3. I was surprised by the type of waste we didn’t create.
We are lucky that in this area we have a great recycling program that accepts almost all types of recycling. We really try to recycle everything that we can, including most types of paper. On top of recycling, we have already taken some steps to reduce our waste. We use towels, cloth napkins, wash cloths and rags in the kitchen instead of paper towels or paper napkins, so we had no kitchen paper waste, and basically no paper waste in general. I didn’t realize that we really throw away very little paper, I’m a little bit surprised and actually quite proud.
I have more to process/write about this garbage inventory, you can now find part II here!