Let’s talk garbage

boxes2This 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 15 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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25 Responses to Let’s talk garbage

  1. Vicki says:

    I smash everything down but i don’t recycle.

  2. mssc54 says:

    We recycle glass, properly rated plastics, metal cans, break down our cardboard boxes for recycling and compost our food that is root fed, as well as egg shells too.

    I’m also installing a six (55gl) barrel rain water recycling system for the garden and lawn.

    I really would like to recycle all of our water except for the toilet water. I know that’s possible but I don’t think we can afford that technology yet.

    • mssc54 says:

      I should have added that we rinse out our one gallon milk jugs, fill them with water and put them in our 18cf freezer. We keep any empty space in the freezer filled with the frozen milk jugs just in case we have a hurricane and the power is out for an extended time. All that ice will help keep things frozen longer.

      • Laura says:

        Oh, Mssc, you ROCK!!!!

        Thank you for the freezer idea! I used to keep a bunch of milk jugs filled with water in the bottom of our unused shower stall, but Josh is old enough now that he uses it, so I have bottles of water scattered hither and yon, ’cause I haven’t found a home for them yet.

        They’re on their way to the freezer right now!


        (and it’ll be an added bonus that we’ll have ice water – my favorite drink – during a power failure! hee hee!)

  3. SKL says:

    My city distributed big, wheeled recycling bins which are the best thing ever. All we have to do is to dump all the recycleable stuff in there. We don’t have to sort. The majority of our garbage goes in there. Actual food goes into the in-sink disposer, and we average 1-2 bags of non-recyclable garbage per week (for 5 people).

    Before the bins, we were expected to separate and wash the recycleable stuff and put it into separate blue plastic bags and carry it out to the treelawn. In those days, I didn’t bother.

    As far as folding and squishing, I was also taught that as a kid, and I just can’t put an unfolded box or unsquished milk carton into the trash – recycle or otherwise. However, I’m the only person around here who feels that way. So yeah, our indoor recycle bin can get filled up in one morning, and it’s stupid and irritating, but I have to pick my battles around here. I just keep folding away and maybe someday someone will use their brain and figure out why it makes sense.

  4. Lucy says:

    I definitely flatten my boxes…. and I pretty much recycle everything I can.

    Here are a few great recycling ideas for you moms and dads (as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and relatives)…. they are cheap and help the environment.

    – have your kids make art out of old boxes, paper towel tubes, used paper, plastic caps, ribbons (and anything else that is safe).

    -old crayons: (that are too short to still be used) Don’t throw them out… put a few into a cupcake papers (same or different colors) and re-melt them. Make awesome shaped “new” crayons.

  5. Tony says:

    We have a normal wheelie bin, a recycling wheelie bin & I put as much fruit & veggie scraps, lawn clippings, leaves, garden waste etc into my compost pile as is humanly possible.

  6. birdpress says:

    I had no idea you could make a potato chip box the size of an envelope because I had no idea potato chips came in boxes! LOL

    We are lucky here because the garbage man gives us one big bin for trash and another for recycling. We can put glass, cardboard, paper and cans all into the same bin. If any other garbage gets in though, they won’t take it. I have no idea how it all gets separated but I’m guessing someone has to do it, so I always make sure it’s all clean and I do break down boxes.

    That just reminds me too that today is recycling day and I have to wheel the bin out to the street…

  7. Laura says:

    I try to recycle as much as possible, but that means that I have to separate it, store it, and then tote it all to the local dump/recycling center, because we’re in the country and they only have garbage pickup here.

    I’m getting very close to saying, “bag it. Just throw EVERYTHING away”, because this recycling stuff is just taking over my house. It’s a bit of a drive to the center, so I can’t justify a weekly trip, so it piles up like crazy – piles/boxes of paper and cardboard, bins/bags of plastic, glass, and various metals… that stuff piles up, and FAST!! No matter HOW much I break it down. And believe me, it gets broken down. Cruiser even gets in on the act, shredding into 1″ sized bits, all of the egg cartons, butter boxes, and clean food boxes. ‘course then I have to chase those bits down from all over the house…

    Unless they start providing a pick-up service out here, I may just decide to recycle the soda/drink cans, because we get cash back for those, and start pitching the rest of the stuff.

  8. kweenmama says:

    We also have recycling bins that we roll out to the street on garbage day. It makes recycling so much easier! I are horrible about breaking down boxes though…none of us do it. Too lazy, I guess! 🙂

  9. Just a Mom says:

    I am bad, I do not recycle. I just toss it all into the garbage. No wait, I do recycle my Sunday newspaper at my youngest daughter’s school. I know I’m still bad! 😦

  10. Just a Mom says:

    By the way Joy you recycled this post too didn’t ya?! 🙂

  11. pammy wammy says:

    At work we recycle.Everything is washed and pressed doen so we can get alot into the recycle container.Some workers dont fold the milk cartons,so I will pull them out and flatten them.
    I admit to not being faithful at recycling at home.But I still flatten anything I can.

  12. Gary says:

    We don’t recycle here at my house but we would if the city would give us some nice recycle bins like they do in other towns near us. Our garbage man just throws EVERYTHING into the truck.

    I DO break down most boxes. Not small one’s like cereal boxes but anything larger get’s broke down. It just makes sense to me as well Joy.

  13. nikki says:

    I recycle everything that can be. Saves on my garbage and it’s the right thing to do. I have a diaper box or a file box (one of those that paper comes in) in my kitchen and I get everything as small as I can and when that box if full Bailey takes it out to the recycling can.

  14. Sue says:

    We recycle our cans and I flatten the boxes and milk jugs, but that’s it. We have no place to store the garbage while it sits in limbo waiting to be taken to the recycling and I have enough racoon problems already for it to sit out on the deck!

  15. I’m a breaker-downer for sure. Dad used to get on us to fold up, or ever roll up, cereal boxes so they don’t take up so much space in the trash can.

  16. We break down boxes as well. Big boxes – like maybe shoe-boxes, that sort of thing – we keep up on a shelf, not folded up, for future use.

    I have another suggestion for stuff you can do with boxes, Joy! I mean, a good way of recycling them. I don’t know if your house is anything like mine, but if it is then you have lots of paperwork or photos that are in big containers or stacked on shelves. Well, if you take a box or carton from a six-pack of big soda bottles, you can make them into a real sturdy box to store things in! You take two of them, and make one into a cover by taking it apart and simply taping the sides up so they’re a bit bigger than the other box. Voila, you have a lovely and sturdy box that you can label easily! Of course this is the sort of thing you can buy at any Crate and Barrel or the like, but it’s a nice weekend project that saves a few bucks :D.

  17. Tosha says:

    we flatten everything we can.. with 4 kids we are running on empty where extra room is concerned..

  18. javajunkee says:

    I do flatten my boxes but then they go in the garbage can. We live in a 16 x 80 metal can. I have no place to keep recycle bins or totes or whatever. It’s sad but it’s true. So I gotta praise the peeps who do recycle and thank them for recycling for those of us who have no place to keep containers to do it. I can also squeeze a water jug/milk jug down to hardly nothing too.

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