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Friday, February 03, 2006

Sustainable Trash Meets Weekly Pick-up

This week we were forced to sign up for garbage pick-up. In the past we would go into New Paris to Tudor's and buy special trash bags for $2.50 each and would put our trash into those when we needed to and put them out for collection. For over 10 years this system has worked well for us.

You see, a part of our being sustainable is creating as little trash for the landfill as possible. So we recycle, we compost, we burn things that are not too toxic (no tires, plastics, combustible liquids etc.. mainly paper and trash wood). Our household garbage collection might be considered insane by those of us who do not care about sustainability.

There is an ad on TeeVee that shows a woman saving her zip lock bags and cleaning them after each use and she is called crazy, crazy like a fox, as she is saving both money and resources (along with time she does not spend driving and shopping to get more plastic bags). I do the same thing and have found I can get 10+ uses out of the old style zip lock bags but only about 3 uses out of the zipper lock bags (which I do not like for a variety of reasons). I save money, I save resources and I do not see what is crazy about doing so.

But I digress... This is an entry about signing up for trash pick-up.

Okay, when we moved here back in September we brought along our special trash bags we bought in New Paris and loaded them up with trash about every other week and put them out by the road Sunday night and early monday morning a Rumpke garbage truck would come by, stop and take the bags. This stopped 3 weeks ago. Eugene would put out the bags and they would still be there monday morning. This happened for 3 weeks and finally Eugene called Rumpke and see what was going on. It seems that as of Jan. 1 Rumpke stopped the individual trash bag service and now requires everyone to sign up for monthly curbside pick-up at $15.50 per month. Not that Rumpke told anyone (like us) about this major change

So we signed up and than realized that at $15.50 a month we will have to come up with a lot more trash to put in the landfill to make this service worth it to us. In the past we generally put out 2 bags a month because that is all the landfillable trash we generate in a month since we recycle, compost and burn most of it. And buying trash bags for $2.50 each to be used when we needed to landfill garbage was perfect for us.

But we do not want to put any more trash into the landfills than is absolutely necessary and over the past 10+ years we have done a pretty good job at keeping material from being landfilled. But by using the Rumpke (or any) curbside service we are being encouraged to throw out as much trash as we can (up to 6 bags a week!).

I believe what we will have to do is cancel curb-side service and pay the dump $10 every time we take trash to the Preble County Sanitary Landfill, which is about 9 miles due south of us (and we can recycle many things including hazardous items such as batteries and paint). This way we do not have to come up with a weekly bag of trash to feed the garbage mountain. I don't think we will be able to come up with that much garbage in a week. We simply do not consume enough, unless we quit our crazy sustainable ways with garbage and that ain't gonna happen folks... ain't gonna happen.

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