As I was rolling my trash bin to the curb earlier this week, I grinned from ear to ear. I was incredibly happy over its contents. No, I had not completed my spring cleaning nor organized my garage … I was just nearly “trashless.” For the last several weeks, the amount of trash my husband and I generated could be held in one hand.
Had I not had the occasional nasty plastic wrap from meat or miscellaneous bones that caused odor, I could probably – at least at this rate – go a year or more without having to empty the bin. But my accomplishment wasn’t intentional. I mean, I didn’t set out specifically to see how little trash I could generate. What I did do, however, was being vigilant about living green.
Fewer Consumer Goods – I have made a vow to delay purchases as long as I can. Not to save money necessarily, but to reduce my carbon footprint. For example, just because my toaster oven has a chunk broken out of the crumb tray and the glass has discolored over the years, I continue to use it anyway. When I do have to purchase something, I often buy used. Unless you’re talking about underwear or toothbrushes, used is just as good, and you do save a lot of money in the process.
Kitchen Waste – I’ve almost always had some sort of composting operation at my house, but this past holiday season I got uber-serious. My husband bought me an awesome toy that allows me to compost virtually any kitchen waste, including small bone fragments. I LOVE it! About every two weeks, I’m able to harvest a wonderful batch of nutrient-rich compost that is keeping my garden and landscaping looking fabulous.
Recycling – I’ve been one of the recycling police for years, so I haven’t seen a lot of incremental improvement in my actions here. Thank goodness my community lets me recycle just about everything, which dramatically cuts down on my trash output.
Donations – When it is time to clean out the garage (and believe me – I’m way overdue), very little will be trashed. It will either get donated or freecycled at the curb.
So even though I didn’t make it a priority to reduce my trash volume, by living a green lifestyle, it just naturally happened. Seeing the synergies that come from making green decisions is incredibly gratifying, and I’m still grinning from ear to ear.