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:
- 2-3 Gallons of trash
- 1 blue IKEA bag of recyclable plastic
- Outside my home – no single-use straws, cups, bottles or to go containers
- 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.
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:
- Begin to look at what’s in your trash by taking photos of it.
- 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.
- Create a goal for yourself that is both a challenge, but within reach.
- Measure how you do against your goal.
- If you really want to be held accountable, share it on social media!