Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | December 21, 2013

We Gave up our Garbage Can

By now you likely realize I am an advocate for waste reduction.

While I know I can still improve we try to live a life that process very little waste. Our landfills are over filled, recycling for all its great benefits still takes fossil fuels and I make this effort because want to leave the earth better than when I arrived on it.

I get asked questions about how we keep our footprint light. Yes, we gave up our garbage can when we moved here thirteen years ago.  It was then we began moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle.

This is what we do well:

1)      Compost all kitchen waste (except meat and bones)

2)      Recycle egg cartons, sending them back to the farmer we buy our organic eggs from

3)      Buy mostly through Craig’s List, Resale shops, Free Cycle (and donate as well) When we don’t buy used it’s for items like long underwear and shoes, items that will last us decades

4)     Glass frames are recycled through the Lions Club

5)      Recycle the water off our pole barn onto our gardens

6)      Recycle the water off of our homes roof onto our two compost stations

7)      Use washable carry bags. When my husband forgets (?) recycle plastic bags at the library.

8)      Grass trimming and yard waste go into the compost bin. Twigs go into the woods for breakdown

9)     TP (urine only/sterile) and paper towels go into the compost bins

10)   Newspapers go in the compost or are used to build a fire

11)   Fireplace ashes go into the woods. Organic

12)   Honey jars go to a friend that keeps bees

13)   Maple leaves go on the veggie garden / Oak leaves go on the woods trails

14)   I buy our household goods/TP/Paper towels/Shampoo/conditioner/lotion and household cleaning sop in gallon jugs from Frontier Co-Op to reduce packaging

15)   Spent batteries are taken to a local school that uses them in fund-raising projects

16)   We read and return library books

17)   We order movies from Netflix, watch and return

18)   Dog food comes in semi plastic bags but we take those to a crafter who turns them into shopping bags

Here are the places we need to do better. We are not there yet.

1)      We try to buy without much packaging but Styrofoam remains a difficult issue for us.

2)      Light bulbs/spray cans (I don’t buy those but my husband occasionally does.)

3)      Dental floss / toothpaste containers / tooth brushes

4)      Blister packs for monthly dog medicine

5)      Plastic baggies. I have seriously reduced our use of these, but my husband can do better

6)      Q tips / broken hair elastics

7)      Razor blades

8)      Hazardous garage waste

I am the most committed of the two of us, but I am working on Gene to keep this in the front of his mind. We average a plastic trash bad per month that we are not able to recycle, repurpose or compost. For a family of two this is not bad, but there are still areas we must work on. We can do better!

Small House / Big Sky Donna



  1. RE # 7 above: I’ve recently started using a product that greatly reduces the number of razor blades you’ll use! It’s called Lonz Great American Shaving Secret. It really does work and I’ve recommended it to others.

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