What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Garbage Day

Our garbage collection day is Thursday with pick-up usually before 8 AM.  It's an odd day and rather inconvenient for putting out garbage from the weekend when entertaining but overall it isn't bad.  Every other week they collect the recycle bins on the same morning so at least we don't have to worry about remembering a different day.  Several years ago I saw a news clip about a family in British Columbia that only had if I recall correctly two small shopping bags of garbage for the entire year.  Everything was recycled.  Ascribing to that ideal has proven to be almost impossible.  Even though we put out on average one large garbage bag each week and even though that is a lot less than our neighbours, I am still not happy about it.  We have cut back and cut back yet the garbage is still there!  Here's some of the things we do and yet still have garbage for pick-up.

  • compost - We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables which means a lot of trimmings.  I compost what I can but with the amount we eat even the compost cannot keep up.   In addition to the daily produce consumed, we go through a vast amount of produce for home canning and freezing at least a year's worth at a time.  Aesthetically and in terms of space there is only so many compost bins we can have and due to property limitations there is only so much compost we can use and give away. 
  • non-compostable food scraps - Certain food scraps cannot go into the compost.  These include fats, oils, dairy, corn cobs, fish parts and type of thing.  Two houses ago we had a food garburator which helped immensely but until we move back into town a garburator is not an option.  I save larger bones for a friend of ours who has a dog.  I also save bones for stock making which gives me a useful product before having to toss the bones.  Cooking oil is a huge concern as the only way to dispose of it is in the garbage. 
  • food containers - We use little in the way of food containers since I do a lot of home canning.  What we can't curb side recycle which is mainly plastic tub containers are used around the house and garden but what we can't use find their way into the garbage.  This concerns me and it won't be a problem when we move into town but for now it is a problem.  Short of not buying cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream and ricotta cheese there isn't a way to eliminate these containers so finding a way to recycle them is the only option.
  • burnables - We are technically rural so can have a burn pile or barrel but we don't.  While this is a ready solution and we have used a relative's burn pile for brush, burning normal household garbage just contributes to air pollution trading the landfill issue with air quality issues.  Although some household waste could be burned we don't take advantage of this.  
  • excess packaging - We are quite diligent about reducing the amount of packaging we bring into the house.  Less in means less that has to be tossed out.  We  use reusable shopping bags as well as shop farm stands, farmers' markets and bulk food stores which eliminates a lot of food packaging.  We are at the point where we don't need to buy a lot of household items so that saves on packaging as well.  Still there is some packaging that is unavoidable but we keep looking for alternatives.
Garden Gnome