Trash 18.5 lbs. E-waste Bin 12.5 lbs. Paper Recycling 16.5 lbs. Cardboard Recycling 6 lbs. Misc Recycling 9.5 lbs. 71 Bottles and Containers. That's the tally thus far for Dave of 365 Days of Trash, who is attempting to keep all of his garbage and recycling in his basement for all of 2008...
"We were talking about the idea of throwing things "away" and how "away" is just that, somewhere other than here. It occurred to us that it is easy to waste because we are not confronted with that waste since it goes "away" and then began to wonder how our choices would differ if we had to keep everything in a pile in the backyard. So the idea is to keep everything for a year and in doing so, be able to see how much waste I create and how much I can avoid."
We often wonder how much trash we produce in our moderate sized apartment on a yearly basis. And although we wouldn't want to store everything like he has (he composts all the undesirable organic matter), it might be a good lesson to tally even a single week or day of the trash we produce for reference. A trash audit might help us reduce our waste even further (I stopped recycling bath water for the garden after a few mishaps down the stairs and should improve about shredding and recycling documents).
Even with recycling, purchasing a majority of our groceries without packaging, reusing household items and trying to mindfully purchase only what we need or will appreciate long term, we're still amazed with how much "stuff" that goes in and out our doors. Living with less is an admirable endevour, but as Dave's blog illustrates, the modern life is one of considerable consumption. We'll be following Dave's 365daysoftrash every couple of weeks and hopes he makes it out alive.