Monday, December 26, 2011

Savvy Trash Talk

When I moved to my new community and started pricing out garbage collection, I had a little bit of sticker shock.  In the small community I was leaving, the city contracted the garbage collection and it was a flat monthly fee of about $12.  After some research, however, I discovered that my new community offered free recycling and what couldn't be recylcled I could take to the dump in a large (35 gallon) black garbage bag for $1 per bag.  This was like the winning the lottery of waste managment!

I'm fortunate enough to have space in my kitchen to keep bins for recycling.  On the inside of the closet door where I keep my bins, I hung a list of what can and cannot be recycled for quick and easy reference (the list also has the address and hours of the landfill and the recycling center).  Once the bins are full I load them in my car and take them to the recycling center.  It takes me about a half an hour total every other month to do this.

I'm also fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal in my kitchen.  This is great because food is obviously not recycleable and it prevents me from having to throw food in my garbage.  This means that the only things I'm actually throwing away are things that can't be recycled or put down my garbage disposal.  Because of this, it takes me a long time to fill up one of those 35-gallon bags to take to the dump.  Usually, I wait until I have about three bags ($3 worth) before I make a trip to the county landfill which is about 6 miles outside of town.

Now, I might ruffle some feathers here, but if it were not for the cost savings I probably would not recycle.  Not because I don't think its important but because doing this is a time committment and a lifestyle adjustment.  Sure, it's great for the environment, but it's even better for my pocket book.

The garbage in our house has become a family affair.  My kids have been quick learners about what is and isn't recyclable and if they're not sure they are pretty good about asking me before they just throw it in the trash can.  They know that uneaten food, or things like orange peels, goes in the sink for me to take care of with the disposal.  They also help me haul the full bins to the recycling center and bags to the dump.  Although, sometimes getting them to help is a chore... especially when I sing my silly 'dump song' - "to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump dump" to the tune of The William Tell Overature! :D

I encourage anyone who is looking to trim some monthly expenses to check out waste disposal alternatives in your community.  There may be great savings in it for you as well as pride in doing something good for the environment.

Full & Ready to go to the recycling center.

All loaded up (and fits nicely) in the trunk of my 4-door sedan.

The List.

Ready for more!
**Notice the hanging clothes... I also use this closet to hang dry my laundry.  This closet is located right in my kitchen and I absolutely love it.  If I ever get the chance to build my dream kitchen it will have a closet (or two) just like this!


1 comment:

  1. Good idea! We do not recycle. We should but I never really got into the habit. For our family we almost fill up three of the 96 gallon containers a week! One of the hidden costs of being a large family. That costs us a little less than 70 a month with Waste Management. That is crazy. That was getting so costly so now Jeff just takes our trash to the dump every Saturday morning. We still pay a lot going to the dump but at least we cut down our garbage cost by almost half. I suppose if we recycled and had a disposal we would save more!