"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Do You Deal With Your Trash?

I've always lived in subdivisions.  It's expected that the homeowner pays a fee for curbside pickup.  We also pay a fee to have them accept our recyclables. Never really gave it a thought.  This was just how it's always been done.

Until 2008 and a little thing called a "gas surcharge".

If you recall, gas spiked that summer.  Diesel too.  And our trash company added a surcharge ("Fuel Recovery Fee") of $3.90 per household, per quarter.

Now that doesn't sound like much.  (My total quarterly bill is $56 or $18.67 a month.) Which is bad enough.

If I have 100 homes in this subdivision paying a surcharge of $3.90, that equals $390 a quarter or $130 a month or $32.50 each week.  (They probably DO use $32 in fuel to drive around the neighborhood)

So why does this annoy me so much?

This little trigger really set me off.  And SM too.  (He actually called them about it.  They said they'd call him back. Yeah right.)

It's the nickel and dime-ing that goes on in our lives.  Everytime you turn around you pay a little bit more.  Until a "little bit" becomes alot.

SM grew up in the country.  His small town STILL doesn't have "curbside" collections.  They recycle and drop off when the bins get full.  Everything else is either mulched back into gardens or burned.  They have these huge metal drums to do that with. 

So this got me to thinking.  My background is suburbia.  It's all I've known.

How do you deal with trash?  How much do you pay?

My "prepaid" service ends 12-31.  I've spoken with SM and we're thinking about cancelling.  We only generate 2-3 bags a week.  Our recycling center is maybe 10 miles away.  Small amounts are free.  Larger amounts...$5 bucks.

If I'm paying $56 a quarter ($224 a year), I might be able to save a good chunk of change...assuming I'll be paying the $5 as needed.

Tell me what you think.  (I'm heading into work today but I look forward to reading your responses tonight.)


  1. We are still able to burn here also, but maybe you need to examine your garbage and if any can be avoided before purchase. If you have ever seen "NO Impact Man" it makes you think about each little thing we purchase and how much trash it makes. A lot of things can be used again, like paper shredded for compost, cardboard can line garden rows, containers reused. Buy in bulk and avoid packaging. It is something I am working on avoiding also.

  2. You've hit on one of my pet peeves. Not about trash and recyclables pickup (fortunately we live just outside of city limits, so that isn't expected for us). Mine is the phone company. Have you ever looked all the extra "allowable" fees they add? A lot of them are so called "recovery fees." One example. A 50 cent long distance call costs me $8.00. Even if I don't use the service I'm still charged all those "allowable" fees. If we could workaround the phone company, we'd be off it. Right now it's still cheaper to have an at&t (formerly bellsouth) landline with added internet service, than to get another mobile phone and additional internet service.

    I'd cancel the trash pick up service if it were me. Costs will only go up in the future. True, it will mean a new routine in your life, but at least you'll have control of when and how often you go, and you won't be victim to their whims. We always combine trips to the recycling center/landfill with other errands, so it isn't so bad. Maybe if enough folks in your neighborhood follow suit, they'll get the message.

  3. What to do with our trash is something we also have been giving a lot of thought to. We had curbside pickup where we just moved from, provided by the city. We really never had to worry about how much trash we put out on the curb it just got picked up, including recycling.

    Our new place is outside the city limits so it is up to us to pay for it to be picked up. The nearest paved rode is over half a mile away so that is another consideration.

    We are planning on making a much more concerted effort to recycle and reuse things we normally would just have thrown away, as well as burning what is left.

  4. I am not entirely certain of the numbers, but they say if everyone composted, our trash output could decrease by up to 50%.

    Things you tend to not think twice about can go back into the ground in a very good way.

    We compost anything we can, burn in our woodburners and use the trash last.

  5. Jane...I haven't seen No Impact Man. Thanks for the "heads up". I have no idea where this "new awareness" came from but I'm glad it did. Fortunately we CAN burn here and I buy bulk as much as I can. I think your point of EXAMINING your trash is a good one.

    Leigh...(Laughing and nodding my head). "Tell it like it is, Sister." I think I'll pop a bloodvessel over the phone company while I'm at it. They really CAN'T explain all those charges. It's insane.

    I also agree that if WE have to be the ones to put forth the effort to be responsible with OUR trash (instead of "out of sight, out of mind")...than maybe WE might benefit by being more AWARE consumers.

    Like most Mom's say to their children, "Clean up your own mess."

    Cesar... Welcome! Thanks for commenting! You made me think of Jimmy Buffet...("Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude")

    Sometimes you just have to be in a different place to be able to look
    at things you thought you knew and understood with new eyes.

    Ap Gal...That's what I'm thinking. Put as much as I can back into the ground. Recycle and burn the rest. Now I have to figure out what to do with the dog poo...(grin) Too bad THAT doen't help the garden grow!