Author Topic: Garbage Reduction 2018  (Read 758 times)

kaypinkHH

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Garbage Reduction 2018
« on: February 06, 2018, 06:16:27 AM »
Unsure if this is already a thread (let me know if it is!), but my goal for 2018 is to reduce the amount of waste I'm creating!

I'm late starting this goal because I just moved into a new house, and now have control of my personal waste management.

Plan of Attack:
1. Remove large garbage from main floor of the house.  If something has to go in the garbage it must be walked down to the basement for disposal.
2. Understand/memorize local recycling rules.
3. Buy less stuff. Bring less garbage into the house!
4. Stop being lazy- ie rinse out containers for recycling instead of throwing them in the garbage.
5. Create recycling/compost station on main floor.

Goal: 1 Garbage bag every 2 weeks. (Two adults).

We will reassess the goal once we have a baby in May- we will be using disposable newborn diapers, but once the baby is big enough we are switching to mostly reusable cloth. Looking at reusable wipes too.

2Cent

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2018, 06:56:33 AM »
Reusable wipes... Yikes. You'll be cured once the baby eats solid food. One thing to consider is instead of moving all the garbage down, getting small bins for the recyclables. That will motivate you to recycle and make it easier than throwing it in the regular garbage.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 07:16:50 AM »
Haha, I figure I might as well start ambitiously.

My city has the following general separation rules:
1- Garbage
2- Compost/Green bin
3- Paper Recycling (large cardboard needs to be separate)
4- Other recycling (plastic, glass, cans etc.)

Collection alternates weekly between compost and garbage, recycling is every week.

My more detailed plan for the upstairs "waste stations"

Bathrooms/bedrooms will have small garbage pails. (Mostly used tissues and other non recyclables get put in those)
Home office - Paper recycling

Kitchen under sink- large other recycling bin, medium compost bin, medium paper recycling, small garbage.

Sorting station- the basement/garage - 2 bins for recyclables, garbage bin and large green bin are outside.
 

iowajes

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 07:45:09 AM »
We have an infant. We don't do 1 bag of garbage a week, but we only put our  trashcan out for curbside collection every 2-3 weeks, even with the disposable diapers.  We have very little trash in our house, so don't let a baby be your excuse! You can do it.

meghan88

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2018, 05:49:08 PM »
Some ideas:
- for leftovers, use Pyrex bowls with lids instead of plastic wrap and foil
- repurpose large plastic bags (wherever you can find them) as garbage bags
- use washable microfiber cloths for spills, cloth napkins instead of paper, cloth handkerchiefs instead of tissues
- store green waste in paper bags (ideally used and repurposed from the bakery) in the freezer until green waste pick-up day, and compost whatever you can if you have a garden
Good luck!!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2018, 05:59:20 PM »
Good luck with your goal!

I am doing this gauntlet:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/plastic-free-february/

There are a few suggestions on there around buying / making things without packaging.

The first 'R' should always be 'Refuse' - if you put some though into that, it will help the volume of rubbish reduce *dramatically*.  Refuse, reduce, repair, rehome, recycle, rot* before putting it in landfill :)

*Have you got a worm farm or does your green waste include food? Food scraps were a major part of our waste but since we got a worm farm we only chuck out a carrier bag a week if that.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 04:59:31 AM »
Thanks @meghan88 for the tips. We need to get better at reusable cloth products. We are pretty good at the other things!

@Fresh Bread I've been following along with your challenge! Very cool!

Our green bin does include food! (Even bones and bread which I know some composts don't allow). Realistically there is NO reason why we can't have a 1 bag every 2 weeks of actual garbage..or maybe even less!

Moving into a new house has definitely caused more waste than normal. It will be interesting to see how things level out this week.

AerynLee

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 08:02:08 AM »
I am working on reducing all kinds of waste. Even though we recycle and compost I'm trying to put as little into those as well as in the garbage. It's just two of us (DH and I) and we go through a bag about every 2-3 weeks. I reuse my dog and cat food bags (20-25lbs bags, not sure of volume by gallons) as trash bags so I'm not buying plastic just to hold trash until it can go to the dump.

We've completely stopped using sponges in favor of washcloths with a mesh-like scrubby side. I bought a three pack 2 years ago and they're still going strong. We only use paper towels for very rare pet messes so a roll lasts us 6 months or more now. I bought a pack of reusable napkins on Amazon but I'm told they're very easy to find at thrift stores for much cheaper

Mezzie

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 03:39:20 PM »
I never thought of using the dog food bags as trash liners! I'm definitely going to do that!
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Fresh Bread

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 04:33:53 PM »
Now I know what to do with the sacks my oats and flour came in, cool!

lhamo

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 04:51:35 PM »
We have weekly pickup of garbage and compost/yard waste, and recyclables get picked up every two weeks.  We have the next-to-smallest garbage bin, which can hold about two kitchen-sized garbage bags if you mush them down.  But we generally only put out one bag per week for the four of us.  I have contemplated switching down to the smallest bin, but it would only save about $2/month and if you have to put out an extra bag of garbage they charge you something like $10 for it, so it really is a disincentive -- one big party at our house and we'd wipe out five months of savings....
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kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 04:23:58 PM »
Week 1 garbage update: 1 small grocery bag+ cat litter.

I spent the weekend doing a mega cooking/meal prep extravaganza, and expect my waste generation to be much lower this week, so we should easily meet our 1 garbage bag limit by pick up (on Saturday AM this week, so it was a shorter than normal period- pick up is normally Monday AM)

In my area, I'm allowed 6 GARBAGE BAGS every 2 weeks. That is madness!!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2018, 01:20:42 PM »
I applaud you all for reducing your trash but I don't see it happening in my life. I do not plan to wash out my cans or bottles because that is a waste of water which is precious too. I would like to know step by step how you reduce your garbage. Do any of you cook from scratch and have jars, cans and packaging materials? I order a lot of stuff thru internet and that creates a lot of cardboard recycling. We have one Jumbo garbage can which is at least 50 gallons and two 50 gallon recycle bins. We put out at least 9 giant bags of garbage per week and one to two recycle bins every other week. We are two people in this house. I don't like to throw food outside for the animals because we have coyotes around. Please tell me how all of you reduce you garbage! Plus, my garbage cost is set in stone. It is about $118 every three months. We could go to the recycle place but with all the garbage it would cost more at our current garbage production than pick up. Tell me more about worm farms!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2018, 01:38:31 PM »
I'm confused by your garbage volume, because even when we weren't consciously minimising ours it was still only two small bags a week!

Can you tell us what's in the garbage bags?

I'm guessing here, but there must be a lot of disposable things for cleaning and cooking, plus a lot of food waste and packaging.

The first thing I'd do is meal plan and use a shopping list so no 'good' food has to be thrown out because you didn't use it in time. Make a plan for leftovers - freeze them or use them for lunch / dinner next day.

Second thing I'd do is deal with food scraps - do you have a garden? If you're a gardener, I'd get a worm farm, if not, I'd get a bokashi. ETA: Or there might be a community garden compost that would like them?

Then I'd look at what disposable things you're using and use reusable ones eg shopping bags, kitchenware, cloths, mops, skincare, sanitary stuff.

When you are shopping, refuse to buy things with unholy amounts of packaging. Refuse free gifts and junk you didn't want or need.

PKate

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2018, 02:18:13 PM »
Here are a few ways I have reduced our garbage.

Chickens are amazing at turning food scraps into breakfast but it is not a option for most people.  What doesn't go to them either goes into the worm compost bin or the regular compost depending on what type of food it is.  The only food we regularly toss in the trash is  left over chicken bones and other bits from making stock.   

I have a stack of cloth napkins, dish towels, and cleaning rags in my kitchen.  I also have a small hamper in my kitchen for the dirty ones.  The hamper has made the biggest difference in getting my husband to dramatically reduce the number of paper towels he uses.  One day I hope to stop using them all together. 

We use plastic storage containers all the time.  To make our lives easier we limit our selves to a matched set and minimal different sized lids that stack together. 

I use a lot of zip top freezer bags to hold frozen produce from my garden.  I have a small swing out towel rack over my sink/dish drainer so I can easily wash and reuse these bags.  This way I get several uses out each bag.   

There are other little things that came about due to some health issues and looking to save money. Cooking from scratch has the biggest contributor to reducing our trash. I can't eat a lot of food additives anymore so that cuts out so much packaging by default. If you look in my fridge and pantry most of our food is in mason jars without labels. 

I will often have large bulk items shipped like rice and loose tea shipped.  It tends to arrive with less packaging and will divide up the larger pack into mason jars or plastic containers depending on what it is. 

 I get a lot of things shipped to my house.   I also have a large garden and I use cardboard in between my garden beds to kill weeds.  I cover the cardboard in wood chips because I can get them for free from our town's recycling center.  I have friends who use grass clippings and mulched fall leaves to cover the cardboard. The mulched pathways hold water, reduce weeds and break down into compost over time. The cardboard is consumed by soil critters and the mulch on top becomes compost over time.  I dig out the compost and add it to my raised beds and then put down a new layer of cardboard and wood chips.  I also use the brown paper bags my chicken feed comes for this purpose. 






haypug16

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2018, 02:48:49 PM »
Currently of a family for 2 adults with 1 indoor cat and 1 dog we fill 1 tall kitchen bag a month. This is probably half filled with cat litter and then some food wrappers. We compose all our food waste which isn't much, use brown paper towels that are composted as well. Everything else recycles pretty much. Our goal for this year is one bag every 6 weeks.

2018 Bags of trash
1. Jan 12th
2. Feb 11th - Could have gone longer but DH saw some lady dump her garbage on the side of road and pick it up and brought it home only to realize it was a bag full of literal shit! So yea that had to get taken out sooner.




Roadrunner53

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2018, 02:49:25 PM »
Not that much food waste. Make home made food every single day for 3 meals a day. I made a chili and that required bean cans, tomato sauce cans, diced tomato can, hamburger Styrofoam and plastic wrap, onion peels, pepper stems. We have jars, tuna cans, salmon cans, mayonnaise jars. We do use a lot of paper plates. All meat comes with packaging. I froze the leftover chili for future use, I have a freezer full of leftover lasagna, spaghetti sauce, soups. Deli meat comes with plastic packaging. Don't throw the plastic grocery bags into the garbage. We get tons of catalogs that go into recycle, we get a daily newspaper goes into recycle. Some plastic juice jugs go into recyle, clean jars and cans go too. We use foil to line our cooking pans to avoid spill overs and they end up in garbage. Dog poop in garbage. Paper towels in garbage. Just boiled a chicken and plan to reuse the broth it was boiled in and cook up the chicken bones and scrap in the crock pot. Bones will end up in the garbage. Dog food cans end up in garbage. Dog treat boxes go into recycle. Yes, sometimes I clean out the fridge of little containers of this and that of odd ball food scraps into the garbage. Paper napkins into the garbage. All kinds of peels from potatoes, squeezed lemons, orange peels, onion peels, garlic peels go into garbage. I don't know but it all seems to add up!

haypug16

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2018, 02:54:47 PM »
@Roadrunner53 - First step you need to be recycling every single can and jar. It takes seconds to rinse, maybe a little longer if it's peanut butter but just let it soak a little while then rinse. Next I would suggest a compose bin for all food scraps. That should make a big difference right away.

Heywood57

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2018, 04:45:23 PM »
I applaud you all for reducing your trash but I don't see it happening in my life. I do not plan to wash out my cans or bottles because that is a waste of water which is precious too

That water isn't wasted any more than the water used to boil pasta or rice is wasted
when it does down the drain. It goes back into the system to be recycled as well.

Recycling paper,plastic,glass,cans and cardboard has reduced our contribution to the
landfill by 75% or more.

letired

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2018, 05:13:14 PM »
I want to toss out some encouragement for the cloth diapering! Its very doable! My friends have been using the bum genius brand(?) for their kiddo for 2+ years.

They did have some difficulty with the absorbent part that's all the layers sewn together instead of the sheet that you fold yourself, but part of that might have been the front-loading washing machine. When they switched to the sheets you fold (still with the same covers), they didn't really have any problems until their kiddo hit 2, and then the front loader really started having difficulty. Fortunately I'm an amazing friend, so they come over to my house and use the top-loading washing machine that came with the house once or twice a week. The water volume seems to make a pretty big difference in getting the ammonia/urea out after a while.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2018, 01:49:13 PM »
@Roadrunner53 It seems like your biggest waste streams are food waste and cans/jars packaging.

What does your municipality offer for pick up? I'm "lucky" because my city will do compost/food waste every 2 weeks, garbage every other week, and then recycling every week.

If your city is similar then for compost/food waste, in order to not wrangle animals, we throw everything into the freezer in a boxboard box and then only bring it out the night before pick up (in a city supplied green bin that keeps raccoons out). Previously we lived in a more dense city with a bigger raccoon problem, and we did not keep our compost stuff in the freezer, but it got picked up every week. No major issues.

if your city does not offer compost pick up, perhaps an indoor worm composter would do the trick for food waste! You can also put paper towel and napkins into some compost plans.

For all the recyclables, I would take a look at this article https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/does-recycling-waste-precious-water.html. Rinsing saves water in the life cycle of the product.

You can also stop the stream coming in- do you really need those catalogs? Can you cancel them coming to your house?

So if I go through your list the only thing on my end that would end up in the garbage:

1. Styrofoam from meat (we only eat 1 meat meal a week, so our meat packaging is low)
2. Chicken bones (depending on compost pick up rules)
3. Tinfoil for cooking (I also use tinfoil if needed, I know there are better ways, but it is my "phase 2 plan" to work on)
4. Dog poop bags (not on your list, but I assume you put those in your garbage.)

kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2018, 01:55:52 PM »
Ok 2 week summary:

1 Garbage bag!
Contents
- Cat litter
- Used Kleenex
- Waxy coated paper from new smoke detectors. We took out the plastic covering, but the paper was all covered in plastic...grrr.
- Styrofoam and meat pad(?) from 1 package of chicken
- Used tinfoil from cooking
- Sharp bit from the tinfoil container (rest went into recycling).
- Styrofoam take out container from restaurant leftovers

Not too bad!
I think one thing I could have avoided was the styrofoam take out container. We knew we were going out for Chinese food, I planned to order enough for leftovers, I should have brought my own container.

@letired thanks for the encouragement with the cloth diapers!

AerynLee

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2018, 02:08:39 PM »
Ok 2 week summary:

1 Garbage bag!
Contents
- Cat litter
- Used Kleenex

- Waxy coated paper from new smoke detectors. We took out the plastic covering, but the paper was all covered in plastic...grrr.
- Styrofoam and meat pad(?) from 1 package of chicken
- Used tinfoil from cooking
- Sharp bit from the tinfoil container (rest went into recycling).
- Styrofoam take out container from restaurant leftovers

Not too bad!
I think one thing I could have avoided was the styrofoam take out container. We knew we were going out for Chinese food, I planned to order enough for leftovers, I should have brought my own container.

Not too bad at all! I had a couple of thoughts:
There are some types of cat litter than can be flushed (World's Best Cat Litter is one, I know there's at least one other). You might give that a try. My cats used World's Best just fine but preferred the old stuff and DH wanted to go back to it. I gave in for now and will fight that battle later

Handkerchiefs are a zero-waste option, but if you're not into that (I know I couldn't convince DH to try them) I believe Kleenexes can be composted

Fresh Bread

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2018, 03:47:40 PM »
Cat litter - I would research more on flushing it as I don't think the germs are properly removed by water treatment and generally stuff advertised as flushable..isn't! I have a book called the Pet Poo Pocket Guide and it only seems possible to put cat litter in the bin because it's so toxic. Dog poo is easier as it doesn't have the toxoplasmosis thingy.

Tin foil - it's aluminium so we can scrunch it up into a big ball and recycle it here. Can you do this? Have I asked this before? I am on so many anti waste groups on FB I can't keep track.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2018, 04:06:12 PM »
Personally, I would never trust anything flushed down my toilet that the toilet wasn't meant for. To replace a septic system costs a LOT, LOT of money. It is NOT worth flushing anything that doesn't belong down there! I had to replace my septic system years ago but not due to flushing down anything odd ball. We built our house and the IDIOT who put the system in cut corners and it failed. We had to pay for a new system and we treat it like gold. We have the tank pumped religiously every two years in a two person household. We are very, very careful of our septic system. We do not have any municipal sewage choice. So please, be careful and maybe it might be best to just chuck the kitty litter in the garbage and call it a day! We at talking many thousands of dollars to replace a septic system. If you are hooked to a municipal system, you might have issues with the pipe from your house to the sewage pipe.

AerynLee

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2018, 04:44:38 PM »
Definitely don't flush cat litter if you're on a septic system. I thought about mentioning that in my post since I grew up with septic but left it out.
But municipal should be fine. Actually I work for the damn municipal system and keep meaning to ask them about it. Guys- hassle me to make sure I ask!
I wouldn't worry about it clogging the pipes because it's a corn or wheat based product, not clay like traditional cat litter. The concern is some parasite cats can get or something like that. I'm on my phone not a computer so I can't look it up but it's the same reason you're not supposed to compost cat poop even though dog poop is okay (if your system is equipped for poop and not going to be used on a food garden)

kaypinkHH

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #26 on: Today at 05:20:43 AM »
WRT to cat litter: So here is where my frugal side conflicts with my green side. We can get non-flushable cat litter from Costco for 7.99 for 50lbs. Flushable litter on Amazon: 33.42 for 12 lbs. :(. BUT...this problem goes away in the spring, we have two semi outdoor cats, who tend to take their business outside (into other people's garden's probably) in the warmer months. It will be interesting to see the waste reduction from that alone. I should really just train them to use the toilet haha.

@AerynLee I'd be interested to hear what your municipal system can handle. I studied some courses on Water treatment and I wouldn't have thought of the impact of toxoplasmosis, but if your waste water system is a combined system, chances are some of the run off from dirt would include that parasite, so I would imagine the treatment plant can treat it. From a quick google, it seems like some systems are not set up for this, and then the "risk" is that the parasite can end up in the natural water systems and impact sea life...but it is a naturally occurring parasite (normal overland run off could also include it, and end up in the waterways). For it to be a health risk to humans, it would have to go back through the treatment system for drinking water, which again, naturally could have that parasite chillin in the water reservoirs, so I'm assuming the treatment would prevent it. 

For kleenex, perhaps this will be phase 2 to look into handkerchiefs. We aren't quite there yet. For some reason we can't compost them with our city (GERMS!!)

Tinfoil- If it is covered in food waste, it has to be thrown in the garbage (in our city), We have gotten a TON better at rinsing and reusing what we can, but I did some mega cooking last weekend and had some messy bacon pans. I would like to buy some reusable silicon sheets for this exact reason. TO THE GOOGLE!

2Cent

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #27 on: Today at 05:55:11 AM »
WRT to cat litter: So here is where my frugal side conflicts with my green side. We can get non-flushable cat litter from Costco for 7.99 for 50lbs. Flushable litter on Amazon: 33.42 for 12 lbs. :(. BUT...this problem goes away in the spring, we have two semi outdoor cats, who tend to take their business outside (into other people's garden's probably) in the warmer months. It will be interesting to see the waste reduction from that alone. I should really just train them to use the toilet haha.
Grrr. I really hate when people let their pets poo outside. The sandy toddler play area in my neighborhood is always having a few cat poo lying around, which is quite a health hazzard. Please keep them in your own house or garden, or clean up after them in case of dogs. Also street cats kill a lot of small birds which are the nice kind of birds to have around so please tie a bell around them.

iowajes

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #28 on: Today at 06:49:40 AM »
WRT to cat litter: So here is where my frugal side conflicts with my green side. We can get non-flushable cat litter from Costco for 7.99 for 50lbs. Flushable litter on Amazon: 33.42 for 12 lbs. :(. BUT...this problem goes away in the spring, we have two semi outdoor cats, who tend to take their business outside (into other people's garden's probably) in the warmer months. It will be interesting to see the waste reduction from that alone. I should really just train them to use the toilet haha.

This is really irresponsible.  Yay! My problem is solved! Sucks to be other people who now have to deal with my cat's shit in their gardens.

As silly as toilet training is, it can be done. Do that instead of being an irresponsible pet owner. Other people shouldn't have to deal with that.

AerynLee

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #29 on: Today at 07:32:12 AM »
It is more expensive but I actually liked it a lot better. It's very light weight, clumped as well as clay, and didn't stick to the sides of the litter boxes like clay can. Another consideration is that the dust from clay can cause respiratory issues for cats so the corn/wheat based stuff is supposed to be healthier for them

I emailed our wastewater treatment guys this morning. I'll let you all know what they say

Mezzie

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Re: Garbage Reduction 2018
« Reply #30 on: Today at 11:37:58 AM »
My municipal water treatment team gave a presentation at our school and said no to flushing cat feces.

This may vary by municipality, of course.

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