I’ve had a trash project for the past four years. Each year I try to up the ante, while also keeping it fun.


For 2017 my goals: are:

  1. 2-3 Gallons of trash
  2. 1 blue IKEA bag of recyclable plastic
  3. Outside my home – no single-use straws, cups, bottles or to go containers
  4. While on the Camino, pick up three pieces of trash each day and leave zero trash on the trail. Educate others as I walk about my personal challenge.



My trash for the year, 2015



My trash for the year, 2016

Some people may not understand why I am seeking to have less recycling. We are taught that recycling is good, and indeed it is, but it is one of the lowest forms of earth conservation in the 5 R’s options of refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. I chose plastic as my focus after reading Beth Terry’s book “Plastic-Free” as plastic, if it is recycled, has only one more potential life in the recycle chain and then it will sit around on our earth for up to 100’s of years.

In January 2015, I canceled my curbside recycling pick-up. I had canceled my trash pick-up the year prior. So I now am an avid composter and I bring my paper, glass and metal waste in my car to Far West Recycling once a month. I am saving up my plastic for the year to track what it looks like and how much I have, then I will take it to Far West as well. For my trash I now call when the 20 gallon can is full, and even with doing Airbnb in my home year-round, I had two pick-ups of trash in 2016.



If you’d like to join me in reducing your trash, here’s where to start:

  1. Begin to look at what’s in your trash by taking photos of it.
  2. As you see what makes up most of your trash, look for alternative ways to have less, such as buying food from the bulk bins at your local food co-op or grocery store, bringing cloth bags for carrying the bulk items home, buying more items in paper versus plastic.
  3. Create a goal for yourself that is both a challenge, but within reach.
  4. Measure how you do against your goal.
  5. If you really want to be held accountable, share it on social media!


Here are links to prior trash projects: 2016, 2015, 2014


  1. Michael Malish says:

    My problem is, I am not sure what I can recycle in the Oak Grove area. Do you have a list or know where I can get my hands on a list of all that can be recycled. Thanks, Michael


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