4.7 pounds a day

As part of the No Impact Experiment, I moved my kitchen trash can to my garage. My thought was that the extra walk to the garage would heighten my awareness of what we’re throwing away.

Our week’s trash (family of 3):


Our trash was largely what I thought it would be: Plastic.

We recycled more than usual and continued composting our food scraps. I finally called Allied Waste (my local recycler) to get my recycling questions answered.

What did I learn?

  • No lids whatsoever. In the past I recycled large plastic lids if they had a number on them, but apparently this was wrong (oops!). No lids.
  • Most plastic bags can’t be recycled. Ziploc type bags, food bags, and even bags inside cereal boxes can’t be recycled. This is disappointing. I had hoped that plastic bag recycling had moved beyond shopping and produce bags, but it hasn’t. Since I can’t recycle most plastic bags, I try to avoid them or reuse them.
  • Shredded paper can be recycled if put in a transparent plastic bag and tied at the top. This differs from a neighboring city which has you put shredded paper in a paper bag with your yard waste.

Every city has it’s own rules and regs, so it’s best to contact your local recycling company and get your questions answered.

Since so much plastic can’t be recycled, I’ve reduced the amount of plastic that I buy. Beth over at Fake Plastic Fish has lots of ideas on how you can avoid buying plastic. Beth tracks her plastic waste on a monthly basis (4.7 ounces this month). It’s remarkable how little plastic she wastes.

Our trash can is still in the garage. I’m thinking I might put a tiny trash recepticle under the kitchen sink. However, I rather enjoy hearing my daughter explain to guests why there’s no trash can in the kitchen.

The average American throws away 4.7 pounds of trash a day.

I’m working to be below average in this department.

How about you?

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