Photo by Al Muya
Since one of my green goals for this year is to decrease our disposables, I thought it made sense to first take a look at the kind of trash we are creating – what are we actually throwing away every day?
Not long after we moved into our house, and before my second child was born, I did a garbage inventory for a day, and it was really pretty interesting to me (as interesting as garbage can be), and it showed me what kind of waste we were creating and ways that we could make changes. Some things we have changed since then, but we’re probably actually creating about the same, if not even more waste these days.
I know I need to get back on track before I can encourage you all to make changes to decrease your disposables. I want to take it to the next level this time too, so I want to do a garbage inventory that lasts for more than just one day. A week might be a little too long, so I’m going to say that I’m going to keep track of 3 to 5 days worth of our household trash, and see how that goes.
I want to challenge you to do this garbage inventory along with me! I think it would be great if we can learn from each other and together figure out areas that we can decrease disposables around our home!
Here are the basics of doing a garbage inventory:
1. Decide on one garbage can that you will collect most, if not all, of your garbage in. This will help to keep everything together, so you can see the total amount of your garbage all together (a strong visual aid!), and also if you want to weigh your total garbage.
2. Start a list and write down everything that you place into the garbage – maybe not every little scrap, but you get the idea, list the main things that you are trashing. It will help if you keep a list near your garbage can so you can remember to write things down as you put them into the trash. Here’s a free printable trash challenge list, if you’d like one that looks nice and is already made up for you.
3. I think I’m going to inventory my recyclables too. We have a great recycling program in our city, for which I am thankful, but I think that sometimes I could reuse or re-purpose some of the items that I place in both the trash and the recycling bins.
4. Stick with it for at least an entire day, if not 2 or more days, so you get a good, accurate picture of your trash. Also, be sure not to avoid throwing something away just because you’re doing the inventory. You want to have an honest picture of the type and amount of garbage you’re creating.
Are you up for the challenge of doing a garbage inventory with me over the next few days/week? I’ll post next week about the results of my inventory, and would love to hear about yours as well. How much garbage you threw away, and what the main types of trash you threw away were?