I have one more post to finish up April’s Change Challenge to Read the Ingredients, but I’m not quite finished with it yet, so it will have to wait ’til next week. But, I wanted to go ahead and introduce May’s Change Challenge since we’re already half way through the month. I wanted this month’s challenge to be pretty simple and straightforward, as well as something that I have written about before, and because I just went to a composting workshop earlier this week, May’s challenge is to decrease your household waste.
The composting workshop I went to was interesting for a few reasons. Obviously it was interesting to learn about composting, and now I feel like – I can do that! So, look for some posts in the future about how we set up and began our compost pile. (Exciting, I know!)
It was also interesting because the presenter (from the St. Joseph Co. Soil and Water Conservation Dist.) talked a little about landfills and waste and what happens to our waste when it goes to the landfill. Basically, he described landfills as giant Tupperware Bowls were garbage just sits, without actually rotting or decaying. He said that there were scientists that did studies of landfills and found newpapers that were 30 years old and still legible, and carrots that were still edible! I wasn’t quite sure if I believed him, so I did a little digging myself, and found The Garbage Project which is based at the University of Arizona and studies people’s garbage and excavates landfills. According to this article, what he told us at the workshop is true, and one thing he said has stuck with me, “When things go into a landfill, they don’t go away!” That really changes my view of the waste that we as a family create and throw away – it doesn’t actually go away, it just moves from my house to a place where it will sit unchanged for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years.
Almost a year ago I did a Garbage Inventory by keeping track of the waste that created in one day. It was interesting (and kind of gross) to see the garbage that we threw away on a typical day. It was also really helpful to know what kind of garbage we were throwing away so we could find areas that we could improve in.
So, I want to encourage you, over the weekend or sometime next week to do a garbage inventory at your house too! Just collect everything that you throw away in one central bag. I also wrote things down as I threw them away because I really didn’t want to go digging back through the garbage bag just to see what was in there. You can weigh it and look over your list at the end of the day to see how much and what type of garbage you created. It really doesn’t take that much extra time, and it is a great first step to identify areas you can make changes to decrease your waste!
Did you realize that trash in landfills doesn’t really go away? Have you ever done a garbage inventory? Do you know how much and what kinds of waste your family creates on a day-to-day basis?
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This is the first post in May’s Change Challenge – Decrease Your Household Waste. Last month’s Change Challenge was Read the Ingredients! You can catch up on all the Change Challenge posts here.
Are you brand new to being frugally green? Be sure to check out my Frugally Green Fundamentals.
this has been a major change for our family. we compost and have gone pretty much paper-free. we recycle a ton, and even cart plastics that aren't picked up at our house to a place that will recycle them. of course, cloth diapers help reduce the garbage, too. it's been so cool to see that we have been able to have one garbage can (small) of trash carted away each month! for a family of 4 with two small kids, i think that's a pretty good feat. thanks for all the great ideas you post. i have learned a lot from you over the past few months as i've been following your blog!
@hawleykj – That's awesome that you only have a small garbage can of trash a month! I really need to figure out how much garbage we have each week and each month. When I did the garbage inventory for the day it was quite an eye-opening experience for me, I'm sure that keeping track for a longer period would be shocking to me. We have made positive changes, but we still definitely have areas we could improve in!