I have started doing paper/cardboard and #5 Plastic recycling. I started the paper recycling more than a month ago and the #5 recycling more recently. Next to the living room garbage can (used for ‘dry’ garbage) is a cardboard box. In that box goes all the newspapers, ads and other assorted paper like Piero’s drawings. But instead of putting his paper in that box, Eduardo throws it into the garbage can. Eduardo eats tapioca pudding in a little #5 plastic container. I have asked him to dump it into the sink rather than in the garbage can under the sink. If anything, this is actually easier to do because he doesn’t even need to open the cupboard door. Can I get him to consistently put the plastic in the sink and the paper in the box? Unfortunately not. When I remind him, he grouches at me saying he doesn’t care.
We have significantly reduced the amount of garbage and recycling we throw out to the curb. It is less than half. I would prefer to not even recycle the ‘recycleable’ plastic because I have heard that if the market is soft, they simply throw it in the landfill. To that end I have attempted to reduce our plastic intake. #5 plastic is specifically recycled to a company that uses it to make toothbrushes. I feel more confident that it won’t go into the landfill. So what easy steps have I done to reduce the amount of garbage and recycle?
1. Recycle paper/cardboard. This likely accounts for half of our reduced garbage.
2. Use glass milk jugs. I return them to Whole Foods for my deposit. This eliminates those large plastic jugs and I just have to throw out a cap.
3. Use juice from concentrate rather than tetra paks or liquid in plastic containers. That concentrate is a small bit of garbage in comparison.
5. Recycle all yogurt and tapioca containers for Preserve.
6. Buy in bulk. Removes all plastic bags from lentils, rice, nuts and so on and so forth from our garbage.
In one week we filled up 1 medium kitchen trash bag of kitchen trash and 1.5 to 2 medium kitchen trash bags of recyclables and every 1 to 2 weeks we filled another huge black garbage bag of paper and other assorted trash. Now? Every week, we fill 1/2 of a medium kitchen trash bag of trash and 1 medium kitchen trash bag of recycles with that huge black garbage bag of assorted trash being filled maybe every 4 to 5 weeks.
We reduced our trash in half with very little effort on my part and zero effort on behalf of Eduardo’s.