Author Topic: Help Me make less trash  (Read 4173 times)

Kroaler

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Help Me make less trash
« on: November 08, 2015, 05:48:49 AM »
Okay, enough is enough. I was up to 1 kitchen size bag of trash a day for 2 people.  I just recently started recycling (it cost more but its single stream, so there is no sorting).  I feel a lot better about the recycling already, and its helping but...

I would like to get as close to 0 trash as possible,  can anyone share good suggestions?

1.) We still have a lot of food type stuff,  Id like to start composting, unless there is a better idea? Everyone make their own bin or buy a pre-made composter?

2.) Also,  used cooking grease / oils.  Any ideas for those?

3.) All other ideas will be appreciated.

Trifele

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 06:46:27 AM »
Hey Kroaler

Good for you for thinking about this!  Composting food waste is super easy, reduces your garbage, keeps it way less smelly, and returns those nutrients in the food to the ground. 

You can either buy a bin, or make your own.  I got mine for $15 from the local cooperative extension.  It looks like this: https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTfbltEj7coBpFrOKAWUgJrL3PKob0PlhsCjBn7kmRU0vuRMNwi  You might try calling your extension to see if they have a deal on one.  Bins can be just a container that sits directly on the ground, in which case it "cooks" (breaks down) faster if you stir it once in a while with a stick or metal rod.  Or they can be the fancy tumbling type, where the barrel sits above the ground and you turn it with a crank handle.  That kind costs more, but the compost breaks down faster.
 
If you want to make your own container for next to nothing, you can build a simple three- or four-sided structure out of almost anything -- scrap wood, hardware cloth, etc. and just throw the scraps in.  Like this:  https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQR3NTUG_BFkQPNvzVJlfXqFFz445T-h8aHNCsIFDR1SOSxfchnoA  Depending on where you live, having an open bin like that may draw nighttime critters like possums and raccoons.  If you prefer a covered bin, you can take an old plastic garbage can and cut the bottom off and set it directly on the ground so the worms can get at it from underneath.  You'll need to punch holes in the sides of the barrel for air to circulate through.  The main downside of the homemade garbage can method is that it lacks the nifty sliding door at the bottom where you can take out the finished product easily. 

As for what to compost, here is a guide:  http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html.  As a general rule of thumb, don't compost animal byproducts like meat and bones.  It will attract unwanted critters.  You want to get a mix of "green" things (nitrogen containing) and "brown" things (carbon).  Examples of green things are kitchen scraps like coffee grounds and vegetable ends/peelings, and grass clippings. Brown things are leaves, straw, paper products like newspaper, shredded cardboard, napkins and paper towels.  Egg shells are great for compost.  You can throw dryer lint and pet hair in too. 

If you have too much nitrogen ("green") in the compost it will stink and get slimy.  If you have too much carbon ("brown")  it will not "cook".  You'll figure it out -- it's pretty forgiving.  Keep a container in your kitchen for scraps, and when it gets full dump it in the outside bin. You can buy a fancy stainless steel or ceramic container for your countertop, or use an old ice cream bucket with a lid.  You'll want a lid to prevent fruit flies coming. Your compost will cook quicker if you chop up the scraps a bit rather than throwing in huge whole items.

When the compost is done cooking it looks like potting soil and you can spread it on your lawn, garden, or any type of plant.  They love it.

Have fun! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
T



« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 06:59:11 AM by Trifele »

Trifele

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 07:04:17 AM »
PS -- I have no idea what to do with used oil -- never have any. Following thread now to see what others say.

geekette

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 07:11:11 AM »
Cooking oils/grease - definitely not down the drain!  I keep a spaghetti sauce jar in the fridge for hamburger grease and such. When it's full, it goes in the trash. Bacon grease often gets saved for cooking home fries.

If you do a lot of frying, some towns will collect used oil for recycling.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 08:39:20 AM »
If you have enough used oil someone who makes their own biodiesel will pick it up for free.

If you have a woodstove, a great many kinds of packaging can be used to start a fire.

If you regularly purchase deli or 'weighed to order' items, you can bring in your own glass container, they'll weight it, and pack your stuff in there for you.

Whole Foods/Raley's (west coast) will let you recycle the old milk bottles. You bring it in, buy a new bottle.

If you 'have' to have soda, the Soda Stream machine (or knockoffs) will save you money, but I encourage you to make your own syrups for it, in which case it will be pennies a serving.

I have a Costco membership and often share things with a friend who doesn't. So we'll split those horrid plastic apple packages: I take mine out and bring hers to her in the plastic...doesn't reduce it per se but it's not in my trash. And they recycle. A little known fact is Costco is HOT for recycling so I know some people leave all that hard plastic trash they wrap their products in there...

daverobev

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 09:58:07 AM »
Well, the first thing is to look at what goes in your bin.

Take the larger categories and figure out if there is a more efficient way of getting the item that was in the packaging, ie without the packaging.

Cardboard and paper can either be recycled or burned; some paper can be composted.

Plastic is the devil if NOT recycled. My wife is pretty confident in the recycling of various types of plastics, so yoghurt tubs etc are apparently ok, but plastic film is bad. Plastic bags can usually be recycled I think. Now, we usually get very few plastic bags, and those we do get are used as rubbish/garbage bags anyway.

Vegetable peelings etc absolutely should be composted. You could try a worm bin if you are short on space, but if you have a garden yeah just get a compost bin. Even a few pallets and some string will do the trick. We bought a couple of 'daleks' as I call them (I'm pretty sad), but honestly we'd have been better doing pallets. For the two.. er, three.. of us, we have two full bins - because of the cold winters here not much happens in them for several months. In fact I need to go and see about getting some compost out of one because otherwise we'll be full before the end of winter!

It is a real shame NOT to put veg in to compost, everyone should do it unless they have municipal composting (in Ottawa we put small bags of compostables in a 'green bin' which was pretty cool).

Packaging for toys... see if you can buy second hand of course. And just buy less. Use the library, and so on.

Bread bag tags I have no idea. Cheese wrapping plastic I'd love to get rid of. Stuff like that.

Goldielocks

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 10:20:05 AM »
Less in = less out.

So, buy less, period.
Put up a "no flyers/ papers" sign.

Be careful about food -- no takeaway / frozen pizza boxes, etc if you really want to cut back.
When you do buy, buy in bulk, do not buy the typical boxes of cereal / crackers, buy big bags of cereal, bags of flour / rice, etc.
Don't buy veg at costco.  (too much packaging).  use the small filmy bags for produce from bulk displays, only as needed, bring your own shopping bags.

Reuse a lot more - make your own yogurt to fill the containers, etc.

Install a garburator...   The city treatment plant takes care of the composting, it only uses a bit more water, etc.  I will use the compost pile for only big meal prep, now, where the walk is worth the trip.

We have about 2 kitchen trash bags a week for a family of 4, but extensively use the recycleing bins... a bit too much for MM style, really...   
0
What I can't reduce are personal paper (fem. paper,  diapers, etc.), clumping kitty litter (I don't want to train old cat) , plastic overwrap (but will be part of recycling too, soon.).  Foam meat trays.  misc. plastic bits, like strapping.  Milk Cartons.. laminated paper / plastic things..Many of these do have alternatives (usually cloth based), but some just don't work well for us.

Oh,  and if you are decluttering / purging, then expect an extra bag of trash from those junk drawers...

Good Luck!

teen persuasion

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 10:22:49 PM »
Okay, enough is enough. I was up to 1 kitchen size bag of trash a day for 2 people.  I just recently started recycling (it cost more but its single stream, so there is no sorting).  I feel a lot better about the recycling already, and its helping but...

I would like to get as close to 0 trash as possible,  can anyone share good suggestions?

1.) We still have a lot of food type stuff,  Id like to start composting, unless there is a better idea? Everyone make their own bin or buy a pre-made composter?

2.) Also,  used cooking grease / oils.  Any ideas for those?

3.) All other ideas will be appreciated.

A kitchen sized bag a DAY?  We don't fill a kitchen sized bag in a week, and we have 5 kids (down to 2 at home now).

Buy less processed and convenience foods, bake and cook for yourselves.  A bag of flour and a bag of sugar and small bits from salt, baking powder, baking soda, etc. can replace cookies and waffles and pizza dough and biscuits and noodles and pie crust...
Buy bigger, less wasteful containers.  Big carton of oatmeal vs boxes of individual packets of oatmeal.  Five lb bag of rice, 2 lb bag of popcorn kernels vs microwave popcorn pouches, etc.
Buy less stuff, especially disposable stuff.

All vegetable waste and eggshells get dumped in our compost "bucket" in the kitchen - a gallon milk jug with the top cut out.  It is DS5's job to take it out when full and dump it on the compost pile in the garden yard.  We're lazy and let time work it for us.

Everything recyclable goes in the recycle bin: cardboard, paper, glass, metal cans, plastic containers.

Pop cans and bottles and water bottles get saved for the deposits.  We don't buy these often, but are sticklers for picking up tossed ones we run across.  We have reusable bottles for toting drinks.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 06:43:40 AM »
Organic waste is easy: compost it.

Recyclable stuff is easy: recycle it.

The other stuff? Don't buy it!

Check out the ZeroWasteHome blog for an approach that seems hardcore but has a lot of easy takeaways.

thd7t

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 06:46:57 AM »
If you have a yard, you can make a compost corral from hardware cloth (It's galvanized wire mesh sort of like tighter chicken wire).  This is really inexpensive and if it's out of sight, you won't mind it.  We don't compost meat/bones/fats, so our compost doesn't smell, even in the summer.  It's cut our trash down hugely.

Catbert

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 11:29:08 AM »
What kind of grease/oil are you generating?  I save bacon grease, chicken fat and sometimes pork or beef drippings and use it in cooking.  In addition to the obvious, bacon grease can be used in a hot salad dressing, chicken fat can be browned and mixed half and half with butter for a delicious but deadly bread spread.  Oily liquid from cooking (e.g., that mixture of olive oil, vinegar and juice that's left in the pan after you saute spinach and kale) can be saved in the freezer and added to the pot when you next make broth.

Speaking of homemade broth, I save lots of veggie scraps (onion ends, carrot peels and ends, squash peels,  etc) in the freezer along with bones and carcasses to make broth later.

jengod

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Re: Help Me make less trash
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 12:20:27 PM »


Every compost question you have will be joyfully answered here for free:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/soil

Agree that you should do a weeklong household waste audit. Yes, this involves saving your trash, sorting it and indexing it. Yes, ick. BUT you quickly see where all that trash is really coming from and it makes you consider things differently next time you are at the store!

Compost and recycling are the low-hanging fruit, believe it or not. The rubber hits the road when you start working to reduce your landfill waste.

Second the recommendation for Bea Johnson's Zero-Waste Home book and blog. Her YouTube channel is also helpful, and this is my favorite of what she has up there right now. She is guided by the five R's, the first and most important of which is REFUSE (to let trash entire your home in the first place).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y583QTbetsQ

Here is another quick and beneficial guide:

Zero Waste Quick-Start Guide
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 12:22:03 PM by jengod »