2020 Trash Stats: 640lb (and Towards Zero Waste)

Perks of the trash trailer I have: I get a very, very good feel for just how much trash we produce on the hill. With the recycling diverted out, I’m able to get about a year on the trailer, and it’s typically been right around 600lb. This year, no change, 640lb. Or 0.43 lb/person/day. :frowning:

At this point, a lot of our trash is actually the various plastics we can’t recycle (local places only take #1/#2). However, I think I’ve found a solution in that Boise has a plastics-fuel-burny-thing that takes a lot of the weird plastics and uses them to help heat a concrete kiln somewhere not too far away. Just need to make a trek over there, buy some bags, and then occasionally haul them over to a friend’s place for disposal. Or find somewhere I can drop them directly.

It’s definitely been interesting paying closer attention to our waste streams. I’ve got about 3 “touches” on each piece of trash at this point (though mostly aggregated into bags). Trash into the trash can, trash can to the trailer, and emptying the trailer. And, in the summer, dodging the occasional wasp. :confused: Plastics are the real problem, along with the various “paper with wax coating” containers. Finding a solution to the films and styrofoam ought to help a lot, just… I can’t round trip on electrons to drop the stuff over in Boise, so it’s a bit silly burning gas to go drop plastic to be burned.

And, yes, I have considered burning it locally, but I can’t get temperatures anywhere near high enough to safely dispose of the plastics. Once I get a greenhouse, I’ll probably build a rocket mass heater and play with burning some of the paper scrap in that (compressed into bricks).


Some of the electric fan fueled burn barrel setups can get pretty darned hot, plastic-wise.

Yes, but I’m still not comfortable taking care of that sort of thing myself, given what various plastics release in terms of nasty chemicals. I’ll collect it for burning elsewhere and that should make a difference.

Now, once I have a greenhouse and a rocket mass burner, I may re-evaluate. Those suckers burn blisteringly hot!

A year and change later (Nov 2020 to Feb 2022), 580 lbs. Not only is the mass going down, the length of time to fill is increasing. This works out to around 0.33 lb/person/day, which is still higher than I’d like, but a lot of the mass is from overnight diapers that should be ending soon.

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Soon! We were cloth but towards the end we went to pull-ups for overnight.

Updates: Feb '22 to Aug '23, 18 months, 740 lbs. Still about 1/3rd lb per person per day. :confused: But we’re done with diapers now.