How would you like your yearly garbage bill to be $15?
I was working on year-end numbers for our household this morning. I usually do this the last week of a year but I’m a little behind. Since I’ve posted a lot about recycling and reusing the last several months, I thought I’d share that we spent $15 on garbage disposal in 2013.
As you may have guessed, we live in an area where garbage service isn’t mandated though that issue was debated last year and will, no doubt, come up again this year.
We compost and actually use our compost in our garden beds and we recycle like crazy. I even read in the last few months that it’s okay to bury salmon skin in garden beds. It makes sense, right? Consumers buy bags of fish fertilizer to plump up certain beds so I now deposit our salmon skin several inches down in our raised tomato bed. It’s in a convenient spot near our front entrance so it’s simple to do and I can keep an eye on whether critters are rooting around. Haven’t had any problems.
Since I read that amazing book by Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home), we’ve done even better with the amount of trash we have. I went on our annual dump run on August 8th and we’re still using the same kitchen garbage sack I lined the garbage with nearly five months ago. There’s no food in it so it doesn’t stink and it’s still not full.
Some things that aren’t conventionally recycled can even be up cycled with a little effort. TerraCycle does these things called Brigades like Mixed Waste Brigade or Cheese Wrapper Brigade or Candy Wrapper Brigade. They’re designed for large companies and schools to earn points towards things like play ground equipment but families can participate, as well. You just don’t receive points. Collect items that aren’t ordinarily recyclable in a small box, TerraCycle sends you a prepaid mailing slip when the box is full and then mail your items off to them. Participating companies melt these items down into play ground equipment (coincidentally) or refashion them into purses and wallets.
In the last 14 years, we’ve spent $285 on garbage disposal. I realize we’re a family of two but if every household pitched in a little bit more (only buying things in recyclable or reusable packaging, for instance and stop buying those ridiculous single-use water bottles), what an amazing difference we could make in the amount of oil used to make plastics and the amount of garbage that ends up in our landfills.