Thursday, April 18, 2013

So Was Walt Exaggerating?

In Saving the Planet & Stuff, Walt and Michael head on over to the transfer station one day, the first trip Walt's made there in nearly four months. The back of his station wagon is filled with recycling. Additionally, he has a white kitchen trash bag that's one third full. Walt holds it up and announces, "Four months and this is all the nonrecyclable garbage we've generated. It's a record." Later Walt says, "There are some people out in the Midwest who claim they can go all year without using more than two thirty-gallon trash bags, but I think Nora and I could beat them."

Think I was going a little (or a lot) over the top with Walt's claims? Well, first off, I really did read about the two thirty-gallon trash bag family. That was years ago, though, and I have no hope of tracking them down. I don't have to, however, in order to support Walt's contention that he and Nora might be able to toss out less than sixty gallons of trash  a year. Check out Trashy No More, which was published this past February in the Tribune Newspapers. Forget about those wasteful thirty-gallon bag folks.  Author William Hageman found a family that claims to generate only a quart of trash a year.

Yeah, they've got a book on how to do it.


tanita✿davis said...

I certainly didn't think Walt was exaggerating; we - without trying near so hard, nor filling up so many rooms with stuff - tend to fill half a bag in a month with uncompostable, unrecyclable, actual trash.

Now, if we tried, actually taking our stuff by hand to the dump, figuring out where to recycle things which the county won't take, Freecycling everything else -- well. We could really push things to their limit!

But, then, we'd have rooms full of Stuff and spend a lot of time doing things we're not sure make as much a difference (the whole argument about how recycling uses fossil fuels is one in which I note Walt wisely chose not to engage.)

Gail Gauthier said...

I think we're conscientious about recycling, and I definitely try to avoid buying a lot of things in the first place. Things require time and effort, forget about the wrappings they come in and the fact that everything is going to end up at the transfer station sooner or later. And STILL we're hauling a couple of 30 gallon garbage bags out of here every week. I am mortified.