Canceling Trash Pickup Will Remind Me Of How Much Trash We Dispose Of.

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As of this morning, we are no longer having our trash picked up at our home. For those of you who have never had trash pickup at their house, this is no big deal; you have been dragging your own trash to the landfill for years. For those of us who have had the luxury of having our trash picked up at the end of our driveways, this will be a big change. But there are several reasons why we are canceling our trash pickup, and the time has come for us to go it alone.

Waste Management has the contract for picking up the trash here in our town, and we pay $27 a month to have their giant polluting truck stop in front of our house and take our garbage away. Each month, we throw away a grand total of about 2-3 bags of trash, meaning that we pay somewhere around $12 per bag depending on the week. Once I realized how little trash we threw away and how much we were paying to do so, I called and canceled the pickup. For less than $.35, I can take my trash to the dump a little ways down the road myself. I already have to take my recycling to the recycling center (except for the plastic recyclables, of course), so throwing an extra bag in the car to bring to the landfill is not going to hurt me any. So reason number one for canceling pickup is to save $20+ every month.

Reason number two is to further reduce what goes out in the trash. As I have mentioned before, we do recycle as much as we can and we compost most of our food scraps, but I am sure that more stuff ends up in the trash than needs to. Sometimes you get lazy or forgetful and food and envelopes end up in the trash. But knowing that I pay for trash disposal by the pound now, I think it will force me to never be lazy or forgetful! We have to pay $.35 for every 20 lbs of trash, which gives me even more incentive to reduce what we throw away each week. I would like to get our trash down to two full bags a month, and I think I can do it.

The only thing that concerns me is my own emissions from taking the trash in my own car, but I figure as long as I combine that with any other errands I have to get done while I am out I will be fine. Honestly, I wish everyone would do it themselves in my town, because Waste Management here runs a fleet of filthy, polluting trucks that you cannot even drive behind without gagging. So much for the slogans on their website…

Having to add up your trash, lug it yourself, and pay by the pound sure gets you thinking about how much you contribute to the waste stream. Too often, I think people just fill up those big bins every week without realizing that their “stuff” as to go somewhere. As a study of our waste habits, I will start tracking how many pounds of trash we throw away each month, and see if I can get that number to go down month after month. Look for a follow-up post in a few months!

What about you? Do you have trash pickup or do you lug it yourself?

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Comments

  1. Wow. You know, I’ve never thought about that. We also produce very little trash these days, but still pay the monthly fee to get it picked up. What a waste! A simple yet profound insight!

  2. We too produce very little trash, but we also don’t have to pay that much for pick-up. $27 per month sounds REALLY expensive!

    Here in Southwestern Ontario we buy tags for $1 each. Stick a tag on the bag, put it out on the side of the road every two weeks, and the truck comes by and scoops it up.

    Recycling is the same, only we don’t have to pay anything at all. I suppose we do pay for it in our taxes, but if curbside recycling encourages more people to do it, then I’m all for it.

  3. I had curbside pickup once a month for a few years, but after paying for a service I only actually used every 2-3 months when I remembered to put the can at the curb on the appointed day, I realized I could cancel it. I should say I live alone, which makes it a lot easier to control the accumulation of stuff that could possibly end up as trash.

    Now I call to schedule a “special” pickup when needed, which I expect to be about twice a year for a 30-gallon garbage can. It helps that I can keep the can outside so that any odors from the contents are not immediately disturbing anyone. My city does also have curbside recycling — including plastic bottles and tubs, but not lids or other shapes — and I have continued to pay for that service (about $10/month; each “special” garbage pickup is $8, and it can only be scheduled for the regular day of the week for garbage trucks in my neighborhood).

  4. I read an article a while back in Readymade magazine about a guy who saved all the things he normally would have thrown away for a whole year. I think it was this guy: http://saveyourtrash.typepad.com/ . The thing I remember most from the 2-paragraph article was his chagrin at how many beer bottles he had accumulated (i.e. how much beer consumed) over the year.

  5. Hmmm… I wonder if we can cancel our garbage pickup. I think my husband looked into it once years ago and they said that we had to have garbage service.

    We pay $13 for the smallest size garbage cart (20 gallons) and we often skip weeks. However, the nearest self-serve landfill I know of is a bit out of the way so perhaps it is well worth the money.

    We would probably consider it if it was $27, though! Yikes! $26 per month will get you weekly pickup for a 96 gallon garbage cart here. I haven’t seen many of those around, but I think most of our neighbors have 35 or 64 gallon carts — so full they don’t close, of course. I’ve only seen a few other 20 gallon-ers in the neighborhood. It feels like being in an exclusive club 😀

  6. I barely have any trash too. I almost never need to have them pick up my trash. But, I pay the full amount. I usually have more in my recycling bin, than my trash bin. What heather w. said sounds like a great idea. I wonder if my trash service will let me pay for just “special” pick ups. That would be great if they do. I think I am going to call them tomorrow to find out. Thanks for the idea!

  7. A neat idea. I’m a spoiled kid who never did do his chores often enough, and living on-campus at my university (where I must take out my own garbage and recycling) has taught me to be mindful of my use of resources.

  8. We pay $1 a bag and it is collected weekly along with the recycle bin which is paid for by the council. We only use a bag (40 litres) once a fortnight on average with the odd extra – say about $3 per month and $35 per year as part of our council tax.

    Cheap really

    viv in nz

  9. How come I keep hearing that waste management is everyone’s provider? These guys must be nationwide. We are trying to use as little trash as possible. I like the idea of burning waste into fuel. It would almost solve two problems at the same time.

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