Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've been inspired by many of the great bloggers I read. This week, the inspiration comes from this post. We're going trash free! We already Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as much as possible. The compost bucket is a permanent fixture on my counter top. We're working to decrease the amount of meat in our diets. Now we're going to try to be trash-free! We'll be going to my sister's next week for a little vacation, while watching her dogs, so we'll do it this week and as best we can at her house.

My biggest challenge will be hubby's businesses. The trash that a computer business creates is pretty overwhelming sometimes. The boxes for parts are recycled or put on my garden pathways. The parts themselves are the biggest issue. It is difficult to find places to take the multitude of hard drives, memory sticks and computer cases. Hubby is good about trying to sell things for parts and taking what he can to places that accept computers for recycling. We still end up with tons of stuff with no good place to go. This is especially troublesome in our tiny house. Thankfully, his other business is wedding photography. This is easy to deal with. The advent of digital photography has taken care of most of the waste. What little is produced is easily recycled.

Food trash is a huge problem in landfills today. When things are broken down in the backyard compost heap, they break down nicely. However, when we throw large quantities of food into the trash, it creates an anaerobic mess that creates large quantities of methane gas that harm our earth. How do you deal with this? First and foremost is to change what you are buying. If we cook like our granparents, using basics, we use less packaging and produce less waste. We them need to make what we need. If you have leftovers, freeze them, or re-create them to reduce waste.

Composting is a given, but many think it will be a big stinky mess. If you stick to a few guidelines, you will be fine. First find the place in your yard that will not bug you to look at, but will also be easily accessible so that you will use it. It really can just be a pile, you don't need anything fancy. Mine has traveled from place to place in my yard, until I just simply put it behind my deck. It is out of sight for the most part, since many don't go in my back yard(my side and front yards are the biggest area and the ones used). It also works because even in the winter, all I have to do is go out my back door and dump things over the railing.

Once you have your site, you need to fill it. Put all your fruit and veggie waste in there. Some people say you can safely compost meats and fats, but I don't. I stick to veggies and the like. grass clippings go in there, along with any weeds that have not gone to seed. You also want some brown (dead) ingredients to help things break down. This is easy in the fall, when leaves get raked in, but not so easy the rest of the year. For us, I have a shredder for paper. We unfortunately have lots of paper waste from the businesses and homeschooling. These get shredded and added to the compost as well.

The last step is turning your compost. I'm really bad at this one. It should be turned every few weeks to help get oxygen into the pile and increase the breakdown of your compost. If you are like me, don't despair. As long as things get moved around a few times a year, it will be fine. The only difference will be that it will take longer for things to breakdown into usable compost for the garden and yard. This stuff is amazing when finished. It can be such a boon to whatever you happen to be growing. Just spread it and be amazed. Best of all, it's free!

My next experiment will be in dealing with the bones of the meat we eat. I'm going to try tossing them in the fire when we have our weekly hangout with friends. I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, if anyone has any better ideas of what to do with the, let me know.

Join in our trashless time!


Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

Have you considered making broths of the bones?

The Mom said...

I do make broths of all my bones, but then you still have bones!

kiwigomes said...


kitsapFG said...

That sounds like a worthwhile challenge! I am not quite ready to make the leap to trash free - but I am certainly inspired to work harder at reducing our waste. I have the compost thing down pretty good and view all possible compostables as gold for my veggie garden. :D In fact, I think compost piles are a thing of beauty!

On the bones... in our house the big bones go to the dog. Little bones can be dug into the soil and allowed to decompose and return to the earth we just do not do so in the garden area or the compost pile.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Wow, I am so impressed! I'm not sure I could go totally trash free---but the amount we throw away is greatly reduced now that our garbage company recycles almost everything---we don't even fill the barrel every week and some weeks it isn't even half full. Used cat litter will always be an issue for us and I'm not sure what to do with food scraps that can't be composted. Interesting though.

Paper said...

What about the inks in the paper? Are there certain types of paper that you do not shred because of the ink? And do you have a preference on a strip cut shredder or a cross cut paper shredder?


The Mom said...

I wish I could give the bones to my dog, Toby, but he has a sensitive tummy and can't handle them. I think I'll try composting them in the woodsy part of my yard.

FOM, have you looked into some of the compostable kitty litters?

As for paper, we use safe inks in our printers. The glossy color adds get recycled instead of composted, so I don't think we have an issue there.