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.