In The Way

Tracking My Garbage Experiment: Update #1

It’s been almost a week since I started measuring how much I throw away.

The expected pieces were groceries, receipts, plastic bags.

For an idea of the kind of trash I expected, check out the beginning of this video.

But several times I realized I was drinking or eating something out of something I was about to throw away. My first reaction to this was, “Whoa, how did this thing get into my hand?!”

Both of these instances happened on Sunday, the sabbath of all days.

Sunday morning we went to church where I got coffee in a paper/plastic cup. The Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church shared their expenses for the year, and I couldn’t help but think how much of the $800,000 annual spending on worship went to the coffee before and after church, and the immediately disposable cups. As I finished the coffee inside the cup I held onto the cup, leaving it in my coat pocket as Wesley scanned Valerie and I into the DC, putting it in my grocery bag full of garbage back at the house.

The second incident happened while watching a documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Office of Intercultural Relations was hosting the event, and they provided water in a styrofoam cup with deliciously salty popcorn in a paper bag. These too ended up in my grocery bag in my cupboard. I have yet to get a large garbage bag to hold this stuff from Ormston.

I thought I was doing pretty well until I got a box in the mail yesterday from REI containing a new and shiny green backpack. I was going to have to save this box, along with the other thing currently shipping to me in the mail: A pair of socks with a lifetime warranty.

Here’s the picture of my trash from the last week. Not too shabby, but it definitely contained a few surprises. I’d like to know how much garbage the average American creates per week to see how I compare.

Garbage accumulation for one week.

This picture does not contain the veggie scraps I’m “composting” AKA “leaving in a plastic container outside in the 10 degree weather.”

I’ve made some goofs. I’ve thrown away tea bags, realizing later I should have saved them. I’ve also thrown away two cans, one containing garbanzo beans and one containing tomato paste. This next week I will remember to save these kind of items. I’ve also thrown away out of habit the food other people have given me. Last night, for example, someone gave Valerie and I a 1/2 of a pizza in a box I immediately trashed. For the next week I hope to save the tea bags, cans, and any garbage or handout someone gives me, directly or indirectly.

Thanks for reading!


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3 thoughts on “Tracking My Garbage Experiment: Update #1

  1. Interesting experiment. I’m curious to see how much you accumulate.

  2. Pingback: Just throw it away! Garbage Accumulation Update #3 «

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