Trash Talk: Efficiency Equals Reduction

By Brummet
November 28th, 2010

Imagine that if at the grocery store the person bagging your purchases left empty, unused spaces in each bag causing you to carry 10 instead of 5 bags out to your car then into your home. You would be investing some extra time, energy and space when it was unnecessary. Now transfer that thought to the waste and recycling industry. Instead of filling a trash bag or bin with large empty spaces, we can all do some simple acts to help keep transportation costs down while reducing fossil fuel consumption and saving ourselves some time and money.

The flattening of boxes greatly increases space efficiency in a bin. This does not just apply to cardboard boxes, but also includes any paperboard (cereal or pet food) ones as well. Crushing cans before recycling is much more easily done if it is possible to remove both the top and bottom lids first. Foil products are easily flattened by hand.

Periodically crush your garbage bag down to its true size – you will find that it does not need to be placed on the curb as often. Fewer trips to the dump means less fossil fuel consumed and reduced curbside idling – idling is known to be terribly inefficient and more polluting than vehicles on the move. Garbage collection fees are more easily maintained by the company due to reduced costs per bag, and some companies even offer a discount for those who produce less waste. Also worth noting is that the household will go through fewer plastic garbage bags.

Some kitchen waste disposal units tend to put unnecessary pressure on overtaxed sewage plants. A much better option is to practice composting or vermiculture methods instead. Composting organic waste reduces household trash by approximately 30%. Go one step further by reusing various plastic bags to isolate smelly meat, bones and pet waste. By controlling odors in the garbage, the bag will not have to be put out on the curb as often.

So, imagine that if your waste and recycling was now half the size that it typically was before. That means in theory the waste pickup service would decrease costs by 50%, the landfill would be receiving half of what it used to, fewer trips to the recycling depot, less pollution…

Well you get the picture. It is easy to make a difference and we can all start at home. Right where we are.

— Authors – Dave & Lillian Brummet —



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