Let’s talk garbage

This is what I’d like to know.  “How” do you throw things away?  Do you recycle or do you throw all your trash in the same container and let the garbage man just haul it all away?

When we first moved out to the country 13 years ago, we didn’t have recycling so I had no other choice than to throw it all away.  Now I have recycling in a little town near me so even though we have to go there, I can still do that.  We cut our garbage down to pretty much two bags a week and those little ones from the desk and the one in the bathroom.  I recycle everything I can.  Glass, cans, paper.

Here is what I’m getting at.  Thanks for being patient.  When we were growing up, back in the day before recycling, my dad had us separate our garbage.  We threw the “food” garbage in the trash under the sink.  We had an attached garage and there were two cans out there.  One for cans and one for boxes and paper items.  We had to fold the boxes.  Or break them down so they were flat.  I still do that.  Do you?

I don’t have an attached garage nor do I have a lot of room to store this kind of thing so any box I have, I fold it up.  Did you know you can make a potato chip box the size of an envelope?  Not as thin but you can make it that small.  Then I put all those folded up boxes in a box.  Now my husband ON THE OTHER hand will take a 12 pack box and just set it in the bigger box I’m using.  Why doesn’t he just take the 5 seconds to break down that box?  By not doing that, it takes up the whole box that otherwise, I could use all week for hundreds of papers and other boxes.  I get so frustrated. 

I mean, it’s a small thing for me to have to do but still.  If we would have put a big box in the “box” can without breaking it down, we would get taken out there and been asked why we took up all that room when by making it smaller, you could get more in.  Who wants a lecture from dad?  We just did it.

I mean look at it, a cereal box or 12 pack box or rice or anything that comes in a box, and most things do, take up a lot of room so why wouldn’t you make it as small as you could?  Does anyone like to take the garbage out?  If you look at the size of your kitchen garbage and you take a cereal box or any of the types of boxes I’ve mentioned and put them in there whole, doesn’t it take up half the container?  Take a gallon milk jug for example, do you get as much air out of it as you can or do you just toss it in the garbage like that?  I practically flatten mine out completely even though I take them recycling.  I still have to store them somewhere until I take them in.

So I’m wondering, do you flatten out your boxes or am I alone?  I know I’m not alone because my dad reads here and I KNOW I got this from him.  My brother does this too, but to me, it just makes sense.

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15 Responses to Let’s talk garbage

  1. SKL says:

    I do this because my mom always used to do it. We didn’t have recycling, but it is always a pain to take out the garbage (our garage was not attached). We used to use the paper bags from the grocery store as garbage bags (they didn’t have plastic bags in those days). My mom would fold down the top so it would stand up on its own and that would be our kitchen garbage. You’d better believe everything that could be folded was. This is a good finger exercise, by the way!

    Now I still do this religiously. First of all, now that we buy plastic garbage bags, I am too cheap to waste them. Secondly, I’m the one who would be making more trips out with the garbage if I didn’t. However, I’m the only person here who does it. Others either don’t even try, or they’ll make a half effort – like a little squeeze so the milk carton looks like it went on a diet – not much help there. The others here think I am compulsive and I should keep my weird ideas to myself, so I don’t say anything, but I will go in and scrunch up the boxes they throw away, if they aren’t covered with goop by the time I see them.

    I am also more picky than others about stuff like leaky or gooey stuff going in without some barrier to prevent it from leaking through the bag. Apparently nobody else here ever had to clean the garbage pail / can after it was full of disgusting rotten goo – or the floor after the sickening stuff leaked while being carried out. I guess I have a lot to thank my mom for.

    We didn’t do much recycling until recently. It was too complicated. You had to put every type of substance in a different bag, of a certain color, and wash it out first, etc., and personally I didn’t even have the time to read the rules, let alone follow them. And as far as washing stuff out – how do I know that is even good for the environment, considering how much water that would require? Ever try to get all the soap residue out of a detergent bottle?

    Now the city has issued everyone a big plastic bin and we are just supposed to shove everything in there. We don’t have to wash it out if it is basically empty (like a used-up laundry detergent bottle). I love it! Now most of our garbage goes in the recycling bin. We don’t have that much to begin with, since we try not to be wasteful, and we recycle things by reusing, printing on both sides of the paper, etc., but it is a nice feeling to drag a less-than-full garbage can to the treelawn weekly for a household of five people.

  2. shane says:

    Ofcourse we recycle! Even aluminum cans, there worth too much to throw away. But when I’m at work it’s different, I’ll throw glass in the trash. Something that will be in the landfill for what 500yrs. But at home we recycle everything that is recyclable!

  3. justaglimpse says:

    We recycle, and we break things down. However, I don’t fold up potato chip bags. I just break down our boxes. 🙂

  4. Joy says:

    justaglimps, I mean potato chip “boxes,” not the bags.

  5. nikki says:

    I recycle everything I can. Our recycling is every other week with garbage being every week. For us it should be the other way around. Our garbage gets maybe half full in a week. My recycling however is overflowing every week. I feel like at least I do my part for this planet. I just found out that the caps for pop bottles are not recyclable. FYI.

  6. Jane says:

    I defiantly break down all our boxes like you do. I have to take my garbage to the dump because they don’t have garbage service where I live. So I have to make is as compact as I can. I also recycle but have to take that even further than the dump so I only go once a month. Luckily for me, I store all the “paper/boxes in a shed. I can’t see taking up any space in my kitchen garbage that isn’t necessary.

  7. nikki says:

    oh yea and yes Joy I do flatten our boxes. If I didn’t we wouldn’t have enough room for it all.

  8. Candi says:

    I recycle cans, for the money!!! In fact me and my kids go to the local parks, and get cans. We are saving up, for what I dont know, its like 5 cents a can now. So it like you are throwing that away. I take all my boxes and papers and burn them in the firepit.

  9. Mary says:

    We recycle everything we possibly can. I flatten boxes ’cause they’re easier to deal with that way and that’s the way the landfill wants them. In the summer, we keep the organic waste out of the garbage and throw it on the compost heap out back. There are certain things (particular plastic containers) our landfill won’t take, but I keep hoping the policy will change.

  10. Tosha says:

    We don’t recycle anything but cans.. But i always break down all my boxes and everything like that to take up as little room as possible.. the kids never do though!

  11. Gabriel says:

    There are more and more companies buying recycled goods including cans, cardboard, paper, plastic, etc. It is smart to get in the hang of recycling now because it may pay off in the future.

  12. Sue says:

    Um, no. I did save my cans for awhile, but all they did was pile up b/c we have no place to store them and my husband wouldn’t go to the drop off site. 5 minutes down the road is too far!!! Some weeks we have a lot of garbage and others not so I don’t know what that’s about. If I had a spot to put it all I would.

  13. Amber says:

    Everything is recycled here. I try and make things small to fit more in the bin….

  14. joanharvest says:

    We are big time recyclers. We don’t use paper cups and as few paper products as possible. We also try to buy recycled products. I even wash all of our plastic and glass containers that we recycle. We usually fill one trash bag a week. I once saw an article about a family (I can’t remember where they lived) but they threw away less than a half a bag of trash a year. They managed to recycle everything else.

    We break down all the boxes. No, that’s wrong. I break down all the boxes that the others leave on the counter.

    We are also a chemical free house. Cleaning products, body care products all chemical free and I don’t mean the crap in health food stores. A lot of it contains chemicals. I buy a lot on line. But this is what I did for a living for 25 years– selling chemical free, organic and recycled products. Go to http://www.ewg.org for great info., especially their page called “Skin Deep”.

    And then I turn around and sneak FF Pringles into the house and make myself sick. I’ve sworn off them.

  15. Joy says:

    Oh Joan, you and the FF pringles!! LOL!

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