Wrap Up Results

weigh in

photos credit: Travis Smith

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.weigh in talk

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.

pounds = 5.44310844 kilograms



Filed under consumerism, recycling

18 responses to “Wrap Up Results

  1. Oh FANTASTIC Jen; well done you. What a great story, a wonderful finale and even though I’m pissed at Grant I totally understand why he wants to save the exciting bit for the film LOL!

    Congrats all of you; and I LOVE the analogy about ‘personal extreme’ that’s really excellent and is thought provoking.

    Hope you all enjoy your clothes!

  2. I love that Grant wants to keep it for the documentary. That’ll be far more exciting than the anticipation of Christmas…When can we hope to see the documentary? Can’t wait, can’t wait… 😀

  3. John Costigane

    Hi Jen,

    Grant is wise to keep details for the documentary. We all know about waste reduction, but many more are completely unaware of the waste situation.

    12lbs is a fine total for 3. Beyond the year, you can easily maintain most changes. Our view is to find more Zero Waste alternatives, with time, leading to a persistent downward trend in waste to Zero, eventually.

  4. Oh no, the suspense is killing me!

  5. Juliette

    That is so admirable. I can’t wait to see the documentary.

    Thanks for doing this. You’ve really raised my awareness, and lowered MY rate of consumerism and waste. My landfill and my pocket book both thank you 🙂

  6. Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait the documentary!
    But as I wrote earlier last weekend, you all won as you did a pretty great job and your work had an influence on many others. Congratulations to all of you!

  7. Rebecca

    Looking forward to watching the doc!
    Congrats! Way to set the bar!

  8. Incredible! I’m so glad I found your blog awhile ago. It’s definitely been inspiring. I can’t wait to see the documentary.

  9. Oh la la.

    We have to wait…but it will be worth it.

    Can’t wait to see the documentary. So impressive 12 pounds of garbage for one year!

    I agree the extremes are probably not sustainable but something very close to it is. It just turns into a lifestyle.

    Really great post!

  10. A friend passed on your site’s address just as the project was finishing, but I’m looking forward to going back through posts and discovering your zero-waste strategies. I’m so impressed at the 12 lbs in one year for three people. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    I can’t wait for the documentary!

  11. Superb! So impressed, I thought I was doing well with two adults producing 2lbs of rubbish in a week but that’s rubbish (hee!) in comparison! Looking forward to the docu, what’s your aim for next year?

  12. Wiley

    Congrats and kudos to all three of you! I met Jen and Grant at an RCBC (Recycling Council of BC) conference in May and was really impressed with their presentation, movie and, most of all, their gumption and convinction that revolution starts best with self. I hope Grant’s film catches some national attention and imagination so that maybe The Clean Bin Project can become a “Clean Bin Challenge” to all Canadians.

  13. gf

    Cliff hanger: marketing genius! It’ll make me buy a ticket.

    Congratulations. You’re all truly inspirational!

  14. Robyn

    Oh the suspense! Is it Grant or Jen? I will just have to wait until the documentary hits the big screen! I agree with ‘Wiley’ above that The ‘Clean Bin Project’ is destined to inspire and motivate Canadians to adopt less wasteful practices!

    PS…It was great meeting both of you at RCBC and watching how both of you made simple decisions to reduce your waste. Example: Grant having to eat Jen’s leftover food at dinner! I hope to catch up with the both of you again!

  15. Ooh, can’t wait to see the film!! 🙂

    Just 5.4kg in a year is really AWESOME!!

    I wish we could get even close to this!!
    (Bet you didn’t declutter much though? ;))

    • Ah the anticipation! I don’t want to build it up too too much. It’s really more about hte lifestyle than teh competition, but I do have to say that the competition part is pretty darn fun. Thanks for the support everyone!

  16. safaiicecream

    5.4kg in a whole year is an amazing number. I wish I could somehow get close to that! The film was really well done, too.
    What are your suggestions for getting started on a project similar to this?

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