Will DSS Take My Children Away Due to the Piles of Trash Intentionally Left in the House?

Today is Trash Day. Ummm...actually, I was a little confused and thought trash day began yesterday, so we’ve already started saving our trash for the week. Full disclosure, though--there are some things that are NOT going into the week-long trash collection bag. Sorry, but I’ve always said our family’s experiment is “No-Impact Man-Lite”--there are some things, like the packaging from chicken or any meat, that are going straight to the dump. Safety first.

Did you know that the average American generates 4.6 pounds of trash every day? So, our family of 5 contributes an average of 23 pounds of trash per day, or 8,372 pounds of trash per year. I can believe it, and I wonder if it isn’t actually more--considering that we have two dogs, two cats, a bunny, and two aquariums. I wonder how much trash a dog generates each day? Of course, if all dogs were like Chloe, our year-old pup--we’d have no trash, because she’d eat it all.

Now there’s an interesting solution for reducing garbage...

Please check out the No Impact Experiment project manual for terrific ideas to waste less. I’ll share a few here, but remember--I’m basically plagiarizing. Colin Beavan and the No Impact Foundation generated these great ideas, which can be found at http://noimpactproject.org:

  • If you are playing along, look at the contents of your special trash bag. Remember, we were supposed to save all the trash we generated yesterday? Now, divide the trash into two piles: stuff you used for more than 10 minutes, and stuff you used for less than 10 minutes. Shocking, isn’t it? Put it back in the bag to continue your trash collection for the week.
  • Compile a no-trash travel bag--reusable cup for hot or cold drinks, handkerchief, Tupperware for leftovers, reusable produce bags.
  • Don’t make trash. Follow the three Rs: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. But don’t throw it away.

Some of the ideas posted on the website are pretty easy for me to implement: my lovely, organic produce bags arrived Friday; I have a stockpile of reusable shopping bags; I pack the kids’ lunches in reusable containers, not baggies; and we steer away from items with too much packaging. (Kind of ironic for a former marketing girl to shun packaging, hmmm?)

Paper towels and Kleenex are my downfall. I know I should use cloths and handkerchiefs, but I don’t. In fact, in a typical morning of making breakfast and lunch for the kids, I can use five paper towels. The good news is--I compost them. Still--from a resource and energy standpoint, I should limit my use of them.

Handkerchiefs are an interesting concept, because Peter uses handkerchiefs. All I can say is: you’ve got to really love a man to wash his handkerchiefs. Yuck. (Actually, I just kind of throw them in the washer and hope for the best.) So--he is our anti-Kleenex champion for the family.

Kristen and I, however, should give handkerchiefs a try. We can easily blow through a box of tissues in a day or two with our nasty allergies...so perhaps I’ll try to find some pretty little handkerchiefs for us. Mikey just uses his sleeve unless I can catch him in time. And somehow, I just don’t see Tyler incorporating hankies into his college-dude lifestyle.

I can also tell you quite honestly--while I want to better the environment and reduce our trash contribution--there will be no DivaCup or The Keeper happening for me. What, you may ask, is a DivaCup? Go ahead and Google it--you ladies can let me know if you would be willing to use that. I will personally make an eco-trophy for any woman who embraces it.

Also, for anyone interested in purchasing reusable produce bags, I received a coupon for 15% off a purchase, with the offer open to friends. I'm not endorsing this company, because I haven't tried the bags yet--but they look good. The website is www.ecobags.com, and the promo code is "EBS09."

So, my friends--it’s time to start the challenge and see how much trash we can avoid! Good luck to anyone who is playing along, and tonight I’ll let you know how much trash the Adolf family generates today.