Sunday, December 28, 2008

Join Me For A Week?

As the year is nearing an end and the final days of my 365 are upon me, I had a thought. Well, actually, my good friend Zan had the thought, but she passed it on to me, and I'm keeping it.

I'll be done with my little experiment in just under two weeks and while that will hardly be the end of all of this, I was wondering (or more accurately Zan was) if anyone out there would like to step into my shoes for a week. How cool would it be if everyone on this list (its up around 1000 now and growing) were to keep all of their garbage and recycling for a week in order to see what you learn and how you change. If you can't keep it all, no sweat, keep a list of everything as you get rid of it. The list alone will be a real eye-opener and I'm certain it will have an effect.

I was thinking of asking folks to take a week between Jan 1 and Jan 15 and take the challeng, and ask if you'd write up a little paragraph or two about what you found out and how it affected your habits. If you'd email it to me, I can post them all up on a board on the new site and who knows, maybe others will want to join in. On second thought, if you let me know you are doing it, I'll just send out a questionaire and post those.

So how about it? Any takers? If so, you can email me at the contact link up top.



Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what you going to do whit all the stuff that you have at your home? After you don't have space to put more things what you going to do? Its really a weird thing for me I'm sorry because one day all the garbage that you accumulate have to be some where...

Unknown said...

I'm not officially signing up, Dave, but I want to make a remark. We take our own separated trash to the dumping station near our home. What's incredible is that we dispose of more recyclables than garbage anymore. Plastic bottles, boxes, cans, and glass easily comprise 60-75% of our bi-weekly refuse.
Bravo on your efforts, Dave. I think you have taught us some important lessons. Now if only enough consumers would force companies to reduce packaging so we don't have to feel so guily about our purchasing habits and waste.

riva said...

Great idea!

Anonymous said...

What are we going to do with the recyclable trash we keep? I don't know of any centers to bring them to.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the article about you on Yahoo news today. Congrats on your efforts.
For 5-6 years, maybe more, I have been saving my landfill from about 90% of recyclable materials. My City has a volunteer recycle center. I go there about 3 times a week. I have no idea how many pounds I have delivered, but I bet it is alot. There are many other people who are kind enough to use the center as well. Not everyone does, but every "litter" bit is good!!
Happy 2009. I bet you continue to recycle, haha.

Narsi said...

Hi Dave,
Kudos! Just read your efforts via Yahoo news link. Pardon me but I can't help saying this - You've showed what a modern married man can showcase as his achievement!

Actually, what you've showed is the ridiculous levels to which the civilsation has "progressed".

Your efforts are fantastic and I wish everyone in the US follows this - considering the magnitude of waste generated there.

Bangalore, India

Alan Paul said...

WHere would you get the worms to help you in the processing composting?

Anonymous said...

Instead of storing, throwing away, or putting them out for recycle, refill your water bottles and put them in the frig. You get cold water and no waste.

Dave said...

Bottles are going to go to a local guy who takes them back for money, recycling will go to a recycling center, and the trash will go to a museum on ct to teach kids about wasting less.


Dave said...

While your idea is in the right vain, those bottles are not meant for that kind of use. They will break down over time and may leach chemicals into the water. You're better off getting a metal bottle and using that.


Dave said...

Alan, IF you live in the US check out www.findworms.com.


Anonymous said...

Im married to a compulsive hoarder and I seem to be caught up in it too. Her problem is bringing things into the house. My problem is keeping things in the house. Every inch of the house is full of "junk".

I can curbside recycle but have not until recently. The recycling center is open by appointment. So when junk gets thrown away it all goes as garbage.

Problem of the moment: The plastic from a 1 pound twizzlers package. Recyclable or not? No recycle number on package but it does have a set of numbers
701-56002-012 recycle symbol PV098A

Hope you will help with identifying recyclable material.

much much much much much more trash to go

Dave said...

Sorry to hear about the hoarding. As for the twizzlers (love them by the way), it's not whether it can be recycled, but whether your center accepts them. You need to call your local facility and find out.


Anonymous said...

Keeping your garbage for a week doesn't seem like too much of a challenge. I think most people do this already, keeping their garbage in a handy can that generally sits just outside their back door. I have actually been known to hang onto my garbage for two or more weeks due to an ungainly memory when it comes to taking out the trash.

That being said its a pretty cool project you had, and I am only just seeing it, so I'll be reading back in your log to find out how it went.

Brian said...

Dave, this is an amazing accomplishment that you're about to achieve. We’re new to your blog and we’d like to be an active participant.
Here’s an animation we put together to help you create more recycling awareness.
You can use it any way you want – including sending it to your employees, your management, your community, your honey or your entire hive. This is for people and wannabees who want to do the right thing and need a friendly reminder toward reducing, reusing and recycling. Don’t be stung by being to late. Make a bee-line to this link. Click here to be part of the swarm.

demaisra said...

Nice! I do a little recycling. We compost leaves and food (no meats) for our garden. We have only wood heat so a lot of paper products go the heating of our home. We grow a huge 30x100 foot garden every year for our food. We eat lots of dried beans and rice. Don't buy a lot of canned juices because I juice and can my own grape juice. I have challenged all my Rabbi, friends and family members to do the same. I think it is a great service you are doing for everyone.

One of my New years resolutions will be to think more about what I waste to recycle more and waste less.

Thank you so much for your inspiration! Happy Hannukah and Good New Year!

larsen0966 said...

My wife and I now only use the reusable shopping bags anytime we go to the store. when they ask paper or plastic, we say neither! Walmart employees actually hate it. They really give us a hard time about not using their plastic! It funny that they sell the reusable bags, but then chide their customers for using them.

Anonymous said...

thanks Dave for your reply. I have decided to start a blog about my mess problem.


Unknown said...

Hi, great, basic awareness 101. Looking at what you consume, rather than just "shoveling in, shoveling out".
Not feasible to keep trash , but I will do this:
Keep a list next the garbage, and write down everything as you throw it in.

I can always bring more awareness to this.
I am a locavore/mostly vegetarian who eats as little meat as can get away with( my health can't keep up without)/try to avoid packaged food.

Things that make garbage : the plastic packaging that is wrapped around everything.
(when I grew up, it was mostly cardboard, not so pretty, but recyclable. Vendors wanted longest shelf-life for item, so left Earth out of loop).

Tofu containers, yogurt containers, canned food, other food in plastic containers. I recycle these, but also try not to buy so much. Remember when all dairy used to come in the waxed paper cartons? What about that for packaging again?

Chip bags: I hardly ever eat chips, not very good for you, occasional snack/party/comfort food.

thanks to Sheila for inviting me here, I'm with ya here!!!!!!!!cheers, L. H.

Unknown said...

Here's an idea re recycling small plastic packaging that seems unrecyclable: if clean, I cut up and put in milk jugs, or other plastic bottle with lids.

To me, it's great if the same code, but really, plastic is plastic/petrochemical isn't it?

The important thing is that it is re-used for something, rather than go to landfill.

I don't know what a "twizzler" is , but here are some of my yummy/healthy/package free,or reduced waste snacks:
fruit of all kinds, esp. apples and oranges
nut and dried fruit mixes, organic, sulphur-free
really good carrots( nantes or those fat,short kind, organic
hard-boiled eggs, great quick protein
meat jerky
celery, and dip or nut butter

It's imagination and creativity and intent that will free us from the consumer trap. Fresh food is better for you as well, even if a bit more time to prepare.

I love making entire meal out of salad: fave, with smoked salmon, tomatos, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, other vegies, maybe an apple or pear, balsamic vinegrette, fave newman's. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I have a hard time making large changes all at once, but I'm more than willing to take baby steps toward a big goal. Three years ago I started a small vegetable garden beside by garage. It was such a big hit in the first year that I doubled up my efforts for the 2nd and then in the 3rd year I went 100% organic. In my gardening efforts, I started composting, and from composting I discovered recycling. After 9 months of recycling we noticed that our household garbage haul (5 adults + 2 kids) had shrunk considerably. In examining our monthly bills, we realized we had been paying $40 every month for the twice weekly trash pick-up that didn't include curbside recycling. So we cancelled the pick-up and are going to save nearly $500 this year. Plus the huge ugly green 'rental' garbage can has been replaced by one 1/3 of the size that gets filled and dumped only once a week during the recycling center trip. Tiny steps, tiny effort, big reward. Wonderful blog Dave! Keep up the good work.

Greg said...

Inspiring blog! I will do my best to reduce trash from my home in the upcoming year. My quest for 2009 is to eliminate/limit purchasing consumer goods for 2009. I even plan to limit my gas purchases as well! I want to virtually eliminate buying goods which we all spend too much money on. I figure that limiting consumerism will help the environment as well...less taxing on resources and less trash to deal with. I might even start a blog to document 365 days of non buying! :) Thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

Dave,I am really on board with this not throwing things away.Bottles,coffee bags, cardboard
etc. The problem is the organization part which i am working though.
It all really started from raising worms and composting.Then I went to a recycling meeting and fell into a headspin.
My entire goal is to shrink my carbon foot print.But eventually,i am going to run out of room.
Be good ,talk soon.Shane Jones

AngelaGallant said...

We have been doing our best over several years. Result? We can go 3 weeks without putting the can of garbage out full. Recycling, well, we usually have a towering haul. What gets me are the idiots driving the garbage trucks. They sometimes grab the box full of box materials instead of leaving it for the recycling truck.

We have a 4-5 person household (depending on friends living with us) and have had either one large dog or two cats with us at any given time. Even Christmas time doesn't really accumulate a lot. The kids have been told by their school (and us) that they must bring home plastics, etc. because the school doesn't have that kind of recycling capability.

Our biggest challenges are trying to find reasonable places for batteries and the like. Our town just doesn't have much for it.

Anonymous said...


I think what you are doing is great! Over the last year I have taken much smaller steps than you to reduce the footprint I create. I have reusuable bags and have gotten my husband and family to use them as well. I also have a friend at work who calls me "crazy hippie chick" for not only recycling everthing I can at home, but for recycling for my co-workers cans, bottles and cardboard, etc. at work as well. Thanks for being an inspiration for so many and an example to live by.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see some kind of "cheat sheet" or quick reference guide on the lessons and ideas you've learned over the year.

Something I can put to immediate use...

Jen said...

We throw away a bag of trash every couple of days. We burn though, so none goes landfill. We don't buy much plastic at all. Milk is in cardboard, only cloth diapers and cloth wipes, no peper plates or cups, etc. Instead of kleenex, it's cloth that can be washed. If you buy the biggest dish soap/hair soap bottles you can find, that saves plastic too. =) I'm in!

Dave said...

Hey Anonymous,
Was going to post/send that after the week. The point of the experiment is to see what you regularly generate, not what you can cut down to. Perhaps a later week would be to see what the difference is once you make changes. Gives me an idea.


Dave said...

Drop me an email at the conact up top so i can put you on the list.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, considering the trash I took out on Christmas Eve is still next to my back door, this could be an easy challenge for me. It may be just the slap I need to get my act together. I've been claiming that diapers and cat litter are why we have so much trash, so I might separate the trash even further: recyclables, recyclables with cash refund value, disposable diapers, cat litter, compost, and trash. That way I can see how much of the waste is regular trash vs. my diaper and cat waste excuse. (P.S. We've decided to use a cloth diaper service for any future kiddos, but our current child is so close to potty training that I don't want to change her routine.)

By the way, we currently use Swheat Scoop cat litter but we can't flush it. Any ideas for a better place for the cat waste than the trash can?

Thanks for all the inspirational posts Dave!

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! I will attempt to keep all of my garbage and see what I can learn about my own trash habits. If you can do it for 365 days, I think I can do it for 7.