Day 10 (post 1): Three Clean Bins

We started off by just wanting to buy “less stuff”, but this has really turned into an experiment in garbage obsession. Grant, Rhyannon, and I are into day 10 of our consumer free/garbage free year aka The Clean Bin Project. It has been pretty easy to stay away from material goods; it’s the food choices that are the challenge. Every decision we make hinges on what that food comes packaged in. We rejoice when we find a deli that will put cheese in our tupperware container or a market that sells five kinds of bulk cereal. Our hearts sink when the deli sandwich we successfully bought with no wrapping comes with a plastic toothpick holding it together.

Besides reducing waste, I’ve been madly researching recycling so we know what goes where. In addition to our three separate garbage bins (one each so we can track how we’re doing), we have ones for paper (high and low grade), soft plastics, hard plastics, milk containers, and bottles and cans, as well as compost. We’re lucky in Vancouver because the curbside pickup is so good, and it’s actually illegal to put recyclables in the trash (although I wonder how they monitor that). Yes, it’s a little crazy, but for now, we’re separating everything we can in hopes that we can find a taker for it. Does anyone out there know what to do with bottle caps?

My favorite thing so far is the looks people give you when you try to get something to go in your own container. They usually either stare at you incredulously like you just asked them to spit on your burger or try to convince you that after they package it and hand it over, you can put it in your container yourself – then you have to hold up the line explaining why you don’t want the wrapping that you’re going to throw out in about 5 seconds. (Thanks to the girl at A & W who did neither of these and filled our tupperwares with burgers without question)

After a week and a bit, all I have in my bin is a plastic dental floss package with no recycling number on it (wouldn’t you know I ran out on day 1 of the project). Other than that, it’s not a bad start.



Filed under recycling

10 responses to “Day 10 (post 1): Three Clean Bins

  1. Stacey

    Jenny, I think it is great what you and Grant are undertaking. Throughout the months you should come up with a list of easy recycling/reducing tips for us. I try to do my part but I’m sure that is more I can do.

  2. Cool project!! I look forward to seeing how your year progresses.

  3. What a great project. Good luck with it all and thanks for the link. I can’t wait to see how it all goes and will be following you with much interest. Great blog ;-D

  4. TJC

    Nice one Jenny
    Good luck, will Derek the storm trooper be making any appearances..?

  5. righttrash

    I’m not sure about Derek – he’s a little wary of all that plastics recycling. (For those who don’t know what the heck we’re talking about check out the Slow Coast on YouTube to see storm trooper Derek in action)

  6. In Worcester, Massachusetts recycling is mandatory. I’m not sure if it’s illegal, but they monitor the recycling by mandating that all garbage must be in a specific color bag, and the bags are small and sold at ridiculous prices. So everyone recycles as much as possible to avoid paying for overpriced garbage bags.

  7. Jen CleanBin

    I definitely think making people pay more for more garbage production is the way to go.Even if it’s only a dollar, it influences peoples’ decisions!

    Recycling is mandatory here too, but only for certain things, and not for styrofoam, electronics, or soft plastics.

  8. Hi Grant from 2012 here, good luck with the project. Grant don’t buy the white pants, careful on the land-board. Jen secure all the pottery to the cupboards now. BTW the sound won’t work at your movie premiere and people will wait an hour in the rain till its fixed. Have fun!

  9. safaiicecream

    Our class has been studying your project and it’s amazing to see how far you guys have come. It really inspires me and a lot of other people to start making a difference too.

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