How much of your trash is really trash. I mean, REALLY trash, as in not recyclable? With so many companies getting on board with more eco-friendly packaging, much of what we still send to the local landfill can actually be recycled. Though items vary by localities, a quick click on your local department of public works website will tell you what they will and will not take. If you are like our family of five, you just might just discover that it’s time to get rid of your trash can altogether!
For the longest time we had used two tiny recycling containers under the sink which had to be emptied daily and a large butterfly trash can which was only filled once or twice a week. Still, every time I emptied the trash I knew that half of what we were throwing away was still recyclable. It had just become more “convenient” to throw some things in the centrally located, easy to use trash can. This summer we made the switch, the little can under the sink become “trash” and the big butterfly stainless steel can in the middle of the kitchen became recycling.
To get everyone on board I had to put up a sign for the first week or two: “this is not trash—it’s recycling, is what you are holding in your hand recyclable? Probably …” After that though the switch was almost effortless. We quickly realized that almost everything we were throwing away was in fact recyclable. Although it pains me to send another plastic bag out into the world, my husband was unable to put what he perceived as trash into what he had always know as the “trash can” with out a bag. For the time being we have compromised with a clear bag in the large recycling can. My hope is to one day the skip the bag and dump it all into the large curbside containers. For now though the switch has yielded big results. We have cut our trash disposal by 3/4’s sending out a half full trash can just once per week despite having a twice weekly trash pick up. I like to think of it as “up cycling” the trash can into a recycling can.