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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Frugal side effects. . . . .

Pictured to the left is my accumulation of trash for the month of May. This bag represents the items that couldn't be composted or recycled, and as you can see, the bag is quite small---about the size of a full-grown cat---and it isn't even full yet! I estimate that I will get away with this one bag of trash, plus one from the bathroom, for the entire month!

About three months ago, I switched from weekly trash pickup to monthly service, saving myself about $12 a month--this made me nervous at first (I imagined smelly garbage overflowing from the trash can, raccoons and feral cats setting up shop outside my house, and neighbors picketing in my driveway in opposition), but soon I realized that I could probably get away with even less frequent trash pickup (unfortunately, there aren't any plans for service every two months. . . .)

Now, granted, I live alone, and when friends and family come to visit, they generally don't bring their garbage with them, but one of the reasons my trash accumulation has decreased so substantially is due to a frugal lifestyle.

I'm paying greater attention to the items I purchase: I buy in bulk, and often bring my own bags or re-use packaging (like Quaker oats tubs); I shun pre-packaged food or items that are individually wrapped (these are usually more expensive anyway); I compost tons of vegetable scraps and shredded paper; I fill my recycling tub religiously (this is still picked up weekly).

When I started thinking about simple living, frugality, and downsizing my expenditures last year, I never considered the fact that I would also be minimizing my footprint on the earth. I was so focused on my debt, my income, my expenses (and the widening gap between those last two), that I didn't pause to consider the positive side effects of living a more frugal life. Now I can see that I'm not only bringing more 'green' to my bank account, I'm greening the environment too!

5 comments:

Dina said...

That's really great. My parents live in Toronto, Canada, and they told me that the city has started collecting compostable waste and limiting the number of garbage bags they will pick up every two weeks, so people have to recycle. I wish they would do that here too, because I don't have a yard.
Also, that cat is adorable!

stackingpennies said...

That is so impressive!

I've recently stepped up my recycling, but composting really isn't an option in an apartment. At least not that I know of, but maybe there is a way...

Scott said...

Our city is updating the recycling and garbage to an automated truck system. Currently, the driver has to get out an manually pickup recycling and green waste. I'm not sure if we are limited to the size of the container for the green waste. I should look into composting alternatives. You have a wonderful blog!

Scott

Finally Frugal said...

Think of the gas the garbage companies would save (and the noise and dirty air we would avoid) if trash pickup were once a month for everyone! It truly would force people to recycle and compost (if possible).

Scott: As for automated pickup, that's something I've never heard of before! I've often watched the garbage men (and women) try to hoist heavy trash and yard waste cans, and wondered about their backs---that can't be good for you.

I considered going to a 'fee for service' plan (pay $7 for pickup, only when you need it) but then I'd lose my weekly recycling and bi-weekly yardwaste pickup service. . . . darn!

Finally Frugal said...

An idea for Stacking Pennies: do you have neighbors with yards in the vicinity of your apartment complex? You might ask (or even advertise free compost materials on Craigslist)---then you could just save it up for them and deliver when you wanted---they might even share their homegrown veggies with you!

Just an idea, which might be more trouble for you than it's worth, though! Keep composting in mind for when you and T. buy a house!
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