Talking Trash: Reducing Garbage


I didn’t want to look like a weirdo taking pictures of my garbage in daylight, so I decided to do a drive-by picture from my car window. Totally normal!

My Starting Point: TRASH

So sure you want to reduce your global footprint. Great! Decide what that means for you. For me, it means doing everything in my power to leave a better world to my kids. I’m not naïve, I know I’m only one person. But our reality is derived from the collective decisions of millions of individuals. I believe my decisions matter. All of our decisions can change the world.

There are probably a thousand things you can do to make a difference. One thing that bugs me is how much trash our 5-person family makes. Garbage will be our family’s starting point.

Reducing Trash: Step One

I’m busy. I lose motivation easily. If I’m not making a dent in my goal, I tend to get bored and move on. That’s why it’s important for me to SEE my starting point. This means I have to somehow figure out how much garbage our family makes on a weekly basis. If I wanted a precise, accurate number I would have been measuring our weekly garbage over several months and then taking an average, but I’m impatient…plus it feels wasteful to delay action just so I can get a more accurate average.

So here’s how I’m going to do it.

Live Normally for a Week…

Our garbage days are on Thursday and recycling is biweekly. Today is both a recycling day and a garbage day. After the above pickup, I am going to live exactly how I have been living for a week. We already recycle glass, cardboard and milk jugs. For a week, we are going to continue on, business as usual.


Next Wednesday, the night before Garbage Day Reckoning Day, I am going to measure my net garbage and figure out how much of that I am recycling.

I will be measuring in Weight and Space. I think that both are important to track for different reasons. Landfills charge by weight, but we also have to be cognizant that when we are throwing stuff away, it goes somewhere. Our trash has a final resting place where it might stay for hundreds of years.

Take Action

After I know my starting point, I’m going to put a plan in place to reduce our family’s trash. I would love to shoot for 1 bag per week. I would love to hear your goals too! Wish us luck!



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