So we’ve had a few days to settle down here after the finale of our Clean Bin Project Year. I know people are dying to know who won.
We had the official weigh in our backyard on Canada Day, exactly 356 days after the start of our project, and we managed to lure about 40 guests with free food and drinks.
We ranked each of the 3 roommates using three criteria: landfill garbage weight, landfill garbage volume, and consumerism (a scientific ranking of awesome to very bad depending on if you bought “stuff” during the year).
Now, I hate to disappoint ya’ll, but with the exception of our live audience, I’m going to have to keep my lips sealed. Grant really really wants to save something for the documentary (he has much more sense for anticipation than I do).
But what I can say is that as a household of three adults we produced about 12 pounds (5.4kg) of garbage during our year. That’s about a pound a month (yes, I was raised metric, but can’t seem to shake this imperial mindset -also, we were using an old kitchen scale from Grant’s Nanna).
To put that in perspective, the US environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American produces 4.6 pounds of garbage a day. (Apparently in here in British Columbia it’s about 3.6 pounds a day, but I think it just depends on the report.)
The point is that by changing just a few things about our lifestyle, we managed to produce less landfill garbage in a year than most people do in a week.
I’m not saying to to blow our own horn, I’m saying it because it was actually easier than we thought and because I want people to know that you can do it too. Ok, maybe not a pound a month, but what about a garbage can a month?
Sometimes you need an extreme in order to put something in perspective. I read a study that said that women who have given birth or people who have broken limbs have a much higher average threshold for pain because they have an extreme to compare too. When they experience pain, they think “heck, I’ve had worse”, so they are actually willing to endure more than they would’ve before their extreme incident.
I think this project served the same purpose for us. It helped us set our personal extreme for waste: we know how low we can go. Even when we go back to living “normally”, I still think we will have that high standard in the back of our minds, and it will prevent it from slipping too far back. Our threshold for what is an acceptable amount of waste has been forever changed.
Maybe that analogy is a little over-thought, but we really are still bringing our compost home and recycling as much as we can.
And one last note (after all this horn tooting). I do need to say that all three of us bought clothes on the weekend.