No Trash

It happened again last week. For the second time. And each time it has taken us by surprise. There wasn't any garbage in the outside can come time to take it down for Lance, the garbage man.

There was a small bag of trash under the kitchen sink, but not enough to go out and certainly too little to make a trip to the curb.

We saw it coming with the decrease in food packaging. We even invited it by getting worms. We've always recycled the ordinary stuff but now we buy yogurt and milk in crocks and bottles that get returned and reused. We take back egg cartons and fruit baskets to the vendors at the market. We rarely eat take out, the packaging of which used to add bulk to our weekly waste.

But still the no trash has taken us by surprise.

Now I'm working on alternatives to plastic produce bags, even though we reuse them constantly. I bought bio bags. The first one ripped getting it off the roll. The second one was more cooperative.

I'm considering cotton mesh bags after reading about them at Pondering the Myriad Things. I even saw them today at the Good Earth but at $3.99 each I hesitated and checked the price online. There wasn't any savings.

I trust we'll gradually distinguish plastic bags in a variety of ways with some combination of the above and ways I've not yet discovered.

And then one day I'll realize we've succeeded and be surprised again.


Green Bean said...

We've had a similar experience, Katrina. We've been making more of our own food, eating out less (mainly because homemade is SO much better), taking baskets and egg cartons back to the farmers - just little things that don't disrupt your life at all and then, bam!, you have nothing to give the garbage man. :)

Theresa said...

It is a good feeling to see the empty garbage cans! We take our waste to the landfill directly ourselves, and our waste has plummeted to the point where we only go about three times a year, with two regular sized garbage cans each time. And it should get even better, with the help of the cotton mesh bags, which have now been well received at both my local grocery stores! I won't even need those once I start getting my CSA produce this summer!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That's very impressive.

I have to get my organic home deliverer to stop using plastic produce bags... and putting 'free' magazines in the box with my order.

I've been using egg cartons as seedling trays. Most of our rubbish is nappies (diapers) which are compostable/degradable, and all the bottles, which go in the recycling. Because we drink too much!

Kale for Sale said...

green bean - And we love our garbage man! He once gave a man standing in the rain getting drenched with me at the bus stop an umbrella he'd found in the trash. He lighted off his truck like Mary Poppins. I'll never forget it. BTW (I've never wrote that before) You are one of my inspirations and resources for getting garbageless.

theresa - That's awesome. I didn't think anyone went to the dumps anymore. That's what we called it when I was a kid. I always thought my Dad would back up too far and we would fall into the big horrible hole. There's something honest about taking your trash to the landfill though because then you really see that it doesn't magically disappear or get shot into space. It still has to have a home here on the land like everybody else.

No bags is a bonus to CSA's I hadn't thought about. Good one. Thank you.

innercitygarden - I'm impressed you are gardening and blogging and changing diapers too! The congratulations goes back to you. I would drink too much too.

Anonymous said...

We've had the same experience, too! When we take the trash out to the curb there is a dinky little bag at the bottom - a kitchen bag about 1/4 full. By contrast we fill our compost bowl (large bowl) once a day and take it out to the pile. Yay compost! Yay home cooked meals!

Your garbage guys is really named Lance, eh? Love that.

P.S. Thank you so much for your comment the other day. A neon sign, indeed. Thanks!

Theresa said...

We have no garbage delivery here, so we have to either pay someone to come get it, or take it to the dump ourselves. They weigh your vehicle before and after you leave, and you get to dump a certain amount for "free" and then you have to pay. We have never had to pay, but the cut off is ridiculously high. Our dump has huge piles instead of holes - it sure makes you aware of how much garbage piles up alright.

Donna said...

I'm so impressed! We'll never get to that stage until we get our son out of diapers. Sigh. But it's really great to know it's possible to have that little amount of trash.

Anonymous said...

I bought organic cotton bags at but you can find them on Etsy too.


Kale for Sale said...

Melinda - Lance is legendary around here. It's so corny but he's the nicest guy. Wasn't there a famous episode of Star Trek where the janitor was the final teacher? That's Lance. And PS: - You're welcome.

Theresa - At least with a mountain of trash you don't have to worry about falling into it.

Donna - I always smile when I see your picture. I wouldn't have believed it was possible six months ago and we have no diapers. In fact I'm still a little stunned that so little garbage is possible.

badhuman - Welcome and thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's great! We haven't experienced that yet, but we do use a small garbage can and on good weeks we only have it half full when we drag it out. Now that our recycling *finally* takes plastic bags, I hope we'll see our garbage contribution drop even more.

Kale for Sale said...

Kendra - Welcome and thanks. Our carrier doesn't take plastic bags but the local Safeway has a recycle bin outside for them that we use. I guess someday we'll just compost our worn out canvas bags. Maybe feed them to the worms.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Katrina! You continue to get greener and greener. And did you know that you can get rewarded in more ways than one by having little or no trash? San Anselmo has what they call an "Intensive Recycling Program," and if you pass muster with them (filling out a questionnaire and then getting interviewed), then you can pay only about 1/2 of the normal garbage pickup fees if you put out the trash no more than once every two weeks. I've ben under this program for many years, but I still have trash every couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

For us too it has been super satisfying to progressively switch down to the smallest garbage can size (which typically is one-third to a half full by garbage day, much of it dog poop). Getting rid of those last rinds of plastic is the hardest so thanks for the inspiration!

And if anyone knows how to compost dog poop, I'd love to hear it.

Kale for Sale said...

tq - Pretty soon I'll grow leaves on my head instead of hair. Because of you many years ago I passed muster and got the intensive recycling smaller can, which I've silently appreciated you for more than you know. They're a lot more common these days.

Audrey - I put a rind of plastic in the garbage tonight. That is the perfect description.

I can't help you with the dog waste. There has got to be someone out there that has figured it out though.