What the heck goes into the trash can (as opposed to recycling?)

For the past two years I have not put out a trash can at the
curb while my neighbor's trash cans are filled to the brim.
What gives?
Here's what I throw out:
1. Everything that is "food" gets composted, so, there's no actual
food in the trash (and yes, bones and meat and oils are food
just as much as carrots and spoiled ketchup or mustard is food).
2. Every "container" containing food is rinsed out, so, the container
itself is clean (for the most part), and the container goes into
the "blue" recycling bin (which is 60 gallons I believe).
3. Every box or piece of paper or wrapper or envelope or anything
whatsoever with printing on it goes into the recycle bin.
4. I almost never have electronic waste (once or twice a year?) so
let's forget about TVs and refrigerators and batteries and
broken cellphones, etc. since they're so rarely put in trash.
5. About the only place there is anything even remotely resembling
"trash" is the bathroom. But even there, all biologically soiled
tissues go down the toilet, so, the trash contains bits of
cotton balls or q tips or nose-blowing tissue paper, all of which
goes into the blue recycling bucket (it's not pretty, but it's
6. Everything that pays the CRV of five and ten cents goes into
a special bucket for dropping off to get my CRV back, so, there
are very few bottles other than clean food bottles and jars in
the recycling.
7. I almost never have clothing trash, although they're recyclable
anyway, so, the once a year I throw out a pair of jeans would go
into the recycling bins anyway.
8. Of course, all yard waste would go into the green landscaping
bins, so, let's not even discuss leaves and branches here.
9. No babies for quite some time, so, there are no soiled diapers
to worry about (and anyway, we always used the cloth ones
so there's nothing to recycle except the wash water which goes
down the drain).
10. Motor oil is a separate thing, which happens two or three times
a year, as do tires and mechanical parts, all of which are
recycled in their own way already (e.g., tires go to Costco
while motor oil goes in jugs set alongside the trash bins).
So, given that my brown trash bin is never used, what on earth do
people *put* in their trash bin, that can't be recycled otherwise?
Reply to
Arthur Cresswell

Pretty much the same here.
Each week my neighbor's garbage containers are over flowing, but in a month I'd probably not fill one.
I own my own home and one day I asked a neighbor who had been renting for many years why he did not buy his own house, he had a good job.
He told me he had no money because all he did was buy junk he did not need.
Yep, looked like it all ended up in the garbage.
sheesh, how disgusting.
Reply to
In article , snipped-for-privacy@cresswell.org says...
Pretty much the same here with the exception of a compost pile. Any stale or bad food goes down the garbage disposal, but I wouldn't think (cooking) oil would be so good for compost or the garbage disposal. I recycle all kinds of oil by taking it to O'Reilly Auto Parts for disposal. I'm old fashioned though and save bacon grease for cooking with, just like grandma used to do! [g] Chicken and beef bones get saved to make stock out of, but I do throw pork bones in the trash. The other bones go in the trash also after being used up making the stock.
Reply to
RonNNN wrote on Mon, 02 May 2016 17:08:01 -0500:
The cooking oil has a story to it. We often just pour the oil out into the ground. I imagine it being no different than a dead animal, which contains fat, meat, and bones, and it gets "eaten" or decomposes pretty quickly on the ground.
One problem we had with the cooking oil though is that the animals outside at night would dig up the spot we poured the cooking oil! So, they certainly were looking for the "buried" dead animal.
Now we pour it in a spot we don't care the animals dig up. Most of the food is scavenged by animals anyway, which is how it should be. Everyone always says that will "attract rats" but I think they make this stuff up because I see a coyote every day, a bobcat once a month, deer every day, and assorted squirrels and chipmunks every day, but almost never a rat.
Motor oil isn't much of a problem because I just pour it into 1 gallon jugs also, and just leave it next to the trash bins.
We buy the Costco chicken cooked for about 5 bucks or so and then we also make chicken soup with the stock and then throw outside the boiled bones. They always disappear overnight.
So we have our own four-footed garbage cleaning crew.
Reply to
Arthur Cresswell
Congrats on not loading up landfills. Not everyone takes recycling as far as you do. Some towns don't want contaminated paper such as pizza boxes or saturated meat wrappers, coated papers, anything with biological contamination. .
Some of the food you are composting is also good rodent bait. I prefer to dispose of it than have animals finding it. Those Q-tips you are putting in with the paper are not easily recycled, not to mention no one want to pick off your earwax. How about razor blades? Do you separate the metal blade from the plastic? I don't, I toss one a month.
Reply to
Ed Pawlowski
We don't have a compost pile as it leads to "unwanted critters" in the yard. So, any food waste goes into the trash (in sealed bags).
Only certain containers are recyclable, here. If the container has a lid, it does NOT get rinsed -- the recycling facility can more efficiently rinse (and recycle the water!) than we can (we live in the desert; how you use water is something you think about consciously).
Ditto -- unless there is potential for "information leakage" (credit card offers, financial statements, etc.). These get shredded (confetti-cut) and the bags of confetti get placed in with the recycles.
We also recycle a fair bit of cardboard.
Strangely, *aluminum* is not harvested -- but "tin" is! :<
I recycle a *lot* of electronic gear. But, do so via appropriate venues (electronics are considered a form of hazardous waste, here).
Bathroom waste we treat as food waste. It wants to be disposed, not recycled.
We have no "deposit" containers, here (other than things like propane cylinders, etc). Some places will allow you to bring in aluminum cans to be compacted and weighed in an automated collection machine -- which then pays cash based on the recycled weight.
We don't buy anything in aluminum cans. Glass containers (that aren't suitable for reuse) get recycled.
I go through jeans at a much faster rate. But, they go in the trash. Our recycling service won't accept them.
Nor will they accept plastic bags encountered at many stores. If our reusable bags prove insufficient (or, scrap boxes), we are forced to use them.
For some items, I seek out these bags (e.g., my holiday flour/sugar purchases benefit from the plastic bags as I can use them to wrap the flour/sugar sacks for placement in the freezer until needed)
We don't have a facility to collect yard waste -- other than the twice annual "bulk pickup" (at which time, they will collect damn near any sort of green material and dispose of it in the city's green waste program). It's not legal to drop off your "bulk/brush" items at some random neighborhood that is having THEIR twice annual collection this week. So, the only other alternative is to drive it to the city's facility (which usually requires more than a "pickup").
We, for example, discard probably 30 pounds of pine needles every few months from our neighbor's trees.
What is the relative *cost* of recycling items?
I've been involved with a local facility that recycles dropped off items (i.e., no "collection" service).
Anything plastic just goes into the trash (e.g., that cheap printer that you purchased).
Books are reclaimed for their paper content.
"Tin" is worth a penny a pound (i.e., the crappy case on that little tower PC that you purchased).
Copper and aluminum get cherry picked for special handling (more value, there). As do circuit boards (precious metal recovery).
There are "second-hand" stores in town that will take clothing and other assorted goods and try to "flip" them for a quick buck (caveat emptor) -- but, you'll have to haul the items to these places.
Building materials either get carted off to the dump (at personal risk to the tires on your vehicle) or tossed in the trash.
That said, we typically "throw out" less than 10G of material in a week. Yet, keep our oversized (more costly) waste container for the times when it is repeatedly filled (e.g., last month, I filled it twice with wildflowers pulled from the front yard).
I maintain a "pile" in the garage where I "stage" items that will be recycled. And, we've another pile in the house of items that will be donated to local thrift stores (e.g., Humane Society) -- *if* we think they have remaining life/utility.
(many people treat these sorts of places as glorified trash cans)
Reply to
Don Y
I know people in similar situation. Could easily support a house but cannot save up enough for a down payment. I had to have my mother be on the deed for my first house as I was only 20 when I bought it.
Never had a yard sale either. We have plenty of "stuff" but we buy what we want/need and use it until it no longer works.
Reply to
Ed Pawlowski
That's the case here in NJ too. Styrofoam packaging is another example. Or the plastic wrappers around some consumer packages. Used paper towels, rags, used paper plates, bubble pack material, meat bones, chicken carcass.
Reply to
Pound for pound, it probably costs your municipality more at the water treatment plant than it would at a landfill.
Also, you may put more fat and oil into the drain than it can handle. (I.e. the soap that normally ends up going down the pipe.)
Reply to
Mike Duffy
The foam packing is polystyrene plastic and should go in any place that takes #6 plastic. Easily recycled.
Reply to
Ed Pawlowski
Hi Arthur,
We try not to buy more food than we'll actually use, so any food waste (carrot tops, banana peels, expired condiments, etc.) is minimal. We don't produce enough food waste to bother with composting, and our waistlines prove it. :)
Our recycling service is VERY picky about what they will accept. Basic stuff like tin cans, cereal boxes, jars, and PET soft drink bottles are fine.
However, they don't want food soiled boxes, frozen food boxes, or those plastic clamshell packages like you get from the bakery. It's unfortunate considering many of these are made of the same material as the ones they do accept. We could recycle a lot more if they would take them, but they have to go in the trash.
Plastic bags from the grocery store get taken back to the grocery store for recycling.
I have very little electronic waste, but when I do I take it to the recycling center.
I've switched to Eneloop rechargeable batteries for most electronics, so I rarely have batteries to deal with. However, when I replace batteries in my UPS I take the old ones to the recycling center.
Our local Home Depot takes old CFL bulbs, and a local hardware store takes the larger fluorescent tubes.
We're on a septic system, so nothing but toilet paper and human waste goes down our toilet.
We have two forested acres so any yard waste just gets tossed into the "wild" areas to decompose over time. Natural composting. :)
I take motor oil to the recycler once or twice a year, along with other used car chemicals (coolant, brake fluid, old paint, etc.).
Tire shops recycle our old tires when we buy new tires.
Large metal parts like hoods or doors go to the metal recycler.
- Plywood scraps, composites, and pressure treated lumber.
- Rags or paper towels soiled with paint or chemicals.
- Small car parts like air filters, spark plugs, alternators, light bulbs, switches, etc.
- Clothing that is not good enough to take to Goodwill (torn jeans, underwear, socks, etc.). Our recycler doesn't accept clothing.
- Mixed packaging materials like bubble envelopes.
- All bathroom waste. Tissues, Q-tips, floss, etc.
Anthony Watson
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Reply to
My wife just can't believe what I'll take the time to fix... but when I repair something it's usually better than new.
It usually takes less time to fix it than if I would have gone to the store to buy a new one.
I was 30 when I bought my house (same one I still live in 36 years later). I was tired of renting but a bit short on funds for the down payment. I had to "borrow" $1500 from my mom. Years later she told me I did not have to pay her back. I was really counting on that.
If I did not own my own home, there is no way I could afford to live in this neighborhood, the rents are up to $1600 a month for a new, two bedroom apt!
Reply to
In article , mqduffy001 @bell.net says...
Maybe so, but I've found in the past that since our garbage only gets picked up once a week, putting food in the trash invites maggots and roaches and stuff. I'm happy to let my taxes and garbage fees work at the water treatment plant rather than the landfill.
Reply to
Interesting world we live in, and neighborhoods. I irritate my neighbors by not spending what I have, they irritate me by spending what they don't have. The number of trash carts seems to be some sort of a status symbol with the "Bubba folks" and how high you can stuff the trash into one so the lid won't close. It's a sign of affluence to them I suppose.
Reply to
My 2 Cents
Is there a problem with the lid on your gargabe container?
Some might say that you are using the taxes of others to subsidise your disproportionate use of the operational capacity of the water treatment plant.
In practice, it is more complicated, because in some places, the sewage plant captures the methane produced, and are actually designed with garbage disposals in mind. Also, less fuel is consumed carrying the waste to the dump. If your community incinerates garbage it will incur an extra environmental cost as well.
A lot depends on how expensive water is in your community, and how much soap and hot water you use to prevent grease build-up.
Reply to
Mike Duffy
My philosophy is that anything to be discarded which fits into an opaque garbage bag goes into the trash bin.
Reply to
Roger Blake
In article , mqduffy001 @bell.net says...
All of the soap and water and electricity I use to heat the water and run the garbage disposal (et al )I pay for. I also pay to have my garbage and recyclables picked up and pay a storm water runoff fee. If that's what you call using other peoples taxes we'll just have to agree to disagree. And if you think a garbage can lid will keep out roaches and maggots we'll have to agree to disagree again.
Reply to
One thing I do:
If it has any recycle value at all just as scrap bits of metal, old lawn furniture or computer cases...I just put it next to the trash container and half the time it's gone in a few hours.
My wife and I always joke if it takes more than 24 hours...about how picky they are.
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