Friday, March 8, 2019
I know you’ll be proud of me. All the trash that I sent to the landfill for the month of February only took up half a bagel bag. How do I know? I saved all my trash last month. My personal garbage for the month of February weighed 4 ounces. 4 ounces is the same weight as couple swigs of Diet Coke if you’re really gettin’ after it. 4 ounces is not much.
(See more about average Rabbit trash here )
The average American is estimated to throw out about 4.4 pounds of trash or 72 ounces per day which is 2,016 ounces for an average February. 4 ounces is about 0.2% of 2,016 so good for me. I wasn’t even trying that hard. It is amazing how living in a community of folks that are consciously consuming less, reusing creatively, and recycling aggressively makes it so much easier to cut down on my landfill contribution. Like I said, I wasn’t even trying that hard.
I did generate other sorts of refuse, but it’s not going to the landfill. I composted some stuff, mainly used tea bags. The foil wrappers those tea bags came in is a large part of what is getting hauled to the landfill though.
My eating coop has been in discussions about buying loose tea to avoid the boxes and wrapping and tea bags, and we agree to it in theory but have not yet made the loose tea purchase. We plan to use up the bagged tea we already have, 500 boxes or so?, then switch permanently to loose tea some time in the year 2086. The road to the landfill is paved with good intentions even in an ecovillage, alas.
The biggest contributor by weight of my trash is the bag that the box was wrapped in that contained my new boots. My old boots gave out after less than a couple months as I climbed around in wood piles and slopped through our mucky village during short-lived thaws this winter. Those boots were not sturdy enough to climb out of bed.
Also going to the landfill will be four orange, used earplugs. I can’t think of an upcycle here. I do know I could buy reusable, custom-fit earplugs which would be pricier but “greener.” I got a deal on the little orange earplugs - a box of 1,000 pairs for $30. I’ve stashed a few pairs here and a few pairs there so I always have them just in case. They come individually wrapped, uh oh, so those wrappers are also landfill bound. I do have big, heavy-duty earmuffs for working outside, but I don’t think I could sleep in them. Maybe I’ll try though for the sake of the environment.
I’m throwing away a pen that quit working.
I’m throwing away a disposable dust mask I was wearing for fire tending. I don’t think the mask really did much so I’m just sticking my face into the boiler with only my beard and God to protect me. I got my beard trimmed up a little last week so God is going to have to kick it up a notch.
The rest of the landfill-bound trash seems to be packaging; plastic wrap from a roll of electrical tape, a muffin cup with some muffin left on it, a Spiderman baggy that had my favorite white chocolate yogurt covered pretzels, and the windows from envelopes. About the envelope windows, I’ve seen other folks just throw the whole envelope in the recycling bin, but somehow I got it in my head that the little clear, filmy window of the envelope is not recyclable. I carefully tear them out. I’m embarrassed as I type this thinking how untrue that is likely to be, but my heart is in the right place.
“What about your food coop? I bet you’re not counting the trash you threw away there! Gotcha!” You got nothing. Everything there I’ve been involved with has been recycled or composted except wax paper the butter came in and drippings that have fallen on the floor. I do sweep up the floor every couple days and that goes into the landfill bin, but guess what. I put a dustpan full of that stuff into my bagel bag representing my portion of floor drippings so it was also included in the 4 ounce total. I imagine there was some dried carrot shavings or potato peels in there plus some good ol’dirt.
I’m also throwing away some used dental floss. I have a couple upcycle ideas for used dental floss, but I want you to keep being my friend so I’m not going to tell you about those ideas.
I was curious how this trash level might compare to other Rabbits. Am I a special Rabbit trash-wise, or just an average Rabbit trash-wise. A fellow with a doctorate named Josh has done some research here at DR and found Rabbits send about 0.2 pounds per person per day to the landfill. I sent .25 pounds for the month of February. You do the math, it’s late. You might like reading Josh’s article. It covers trash and car mileage and electricity. Overall, my takeaway from the article is that Rabbits are thriving on about 1/10th the inputs and waste as The Average American. The article has more detail and graphs. Graphs are nice. I like them. If you like graphs, you should go read the article too.
Another way we try to keep things out of the landfill here at DR is to see if anyone else wants our stuff before we recycle or trash it. Rabbits often bring items like this that are Up For Grabs (UFG) to the Week In Preview (WIP) on Sunday afternoons and put the items on display for all to enjoy and perhaps take home as their very own.
Last Sunday I could have procured a nice green ceramic piggy bank with a nature motif. Last week, I got a bright yellow, long-sleeved shirt with black writing that I will wear to the MU Tiger basketball game this weekend. The black writing does not say “MU Tigers” but I hear many of the students there don’t care much for reading anyway - kids today. A few weeks ago, I got a shelf which is exactly what I needed for my tea, headlamp, as yet unopened mail, peanuts, pill bottles, and earmuffs. I think someone made the shelf out of pallet wood. It’s pretty nice for a DIY pallet wood shelf. I’ve seen worse. It has some blue paint on it. I like blue.
I almost forgot. Someone was giving away a toothbrush at th WIP Sunday too. Nobody picked that up.