Set Up a Home Compost and Recycle System
One of the problems with becoming more self-reliant is the amount of garbage we produce at our house. I’m on a mission to get rid of my garbage service by recycling and reducing waste. This will save me $312 per year. The goal is to recycle all of it, so that none needs to go to the landfill. Can I accomplish that?
Well, not so far, but I’m going to keep trying.
I have set up some systems in the house to handle various items that we would normally send to the dump or have the hauler take to recycling.
Composting our kitchen scraps – my family is doing pretty good with this and I’m experimenting with different ways to turn it into compost for my yard. I’m planning on exploring worm and trench composting. For now it’s going in my DIY mimi compost bin so I don’t have to go to the garden in the rain.
An in home recycle bin – I found that the key to this system is to make sure it is clearly marked so my family has no doubt about what goes into it. I took an old, under the sink garbage can and wrote the recycling rules on it.
There is a recycling depot in my town, so once the bin gets full I just need to go and dump it. The rules, for my center are pretty simple; all plastic, paper and metal goes together in the same same dumpster. No sorting necessary! Call your local garbage hauler and find out of there is a recycling depot near you and what the rules are. The depot is centrally located so I’m not spending any additional gas money going there.
A separate paper collection area – My home office has always had a paper recycling tub and shredder. I use a heavy duty paper box and keep it under the desk. I’m looking for ways to use the paper and keep it out of recycling. For now it’s going in my compost bin as “brown” materials, its being added to the woodstove as a fire starter and I’m saving some to make a big batch of homemade paper this summer.
A separate glass collection container – The only sorting I have to do at the depot is for glass. I like to use glass containers for craft items and for leftovers, so I reuse a lot of them in my house. The rest go to recycling.
A small under the sink garbage can – This collects the plastic bags and paper that can’t be recycled. After one month on this system, I have the garbage narrowed down to one small grocery size bag a week. We are currently burning this and it is amazing how everything comes packaged in plastic these days! I am actively looking for ways to stop bringing this into our house.
Finally, pop and water bottles are worth money! Oregon has a .05 cent deposit on each pop and water bottle purchased. I have previously set these out to be collected by the garbage hauler – but no more! I used our old garbage can and made it the new “bottle collection area.” Now, once the can is full, I will take them to the store and reclaim the money. As a matter of fact, I should probably factor that into my yearly savings.
There a still a few items that I can’t recycle, compost or burn. My husband has permission to dump a small bag of garbage at his workplace each week. So far, it consists of items like butane lighters and ham bones.
I still have a few things I need to work out with my system:
- What else can I do with the non-compostable food (meat, dairy, etc)?
- What will I do about burning in the rain?
- What will I do do when I can’t burn in the summer?
- What should I do about that plastic I can’t recycle?
Here are some online resources for further reading:
Share your garbage service from A Life Unprocessed
I dumped my garbage service and saved $312 a year. What do you think, will it even be worth it? Would you dump your garbage service to save $26 a month?