Deliriously Happy About Garbage

by Katy on September 3, 2009 · 8 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published column. Enjoy!

I just notched down my 20 gallon garbage service from every week to once a month. The reasoning was both environmental and financial. The change would force us to be super-finicky about how much garbage our family is producing, (always a good thing) plus it saves us five dollars per month. I know the money difference may seem minimal, but I feel a $60 per year savings is nothing to sneeze at.

What I didn’t consider, was how the added stress of “Oh crap, it’s Sunday, I gotta’ do the garbage” would suddenly become a monthly pain instead of weekly. Ahh . . . .

We got home from our trip to Seattle at 10:15 last night. I saw that the neighbors all had their bins neatly lined up, ready for garbage day. After the schlep of luggage and sleepy kids, the last thing I wanted to deal with was garbage night. But then I remembered that I didn’t have to put our garbage out! I was happy, deliriously happy that our 3-1/2 hour drive was not topped off with the tedious chore of garbage gathering. Garbage happy!

So many changes made in the name of frugality and green living can bring about extra household work. For example, I love hanging clothes on the clothesline, but am fully aware that it takes longer than throwing everything into the electric dryer. I love my clothesline, and am willing to make this change because I know it’s better for the environment, makes the clothes last longer and saves money. Plus I really enjoy it.

I now get to delete the garbage chore from my mental to-do list 75% of the time. And those are some numbers I can stand behind.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Check out for more information about reducing your family’s garbage/rubbish output.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

tara September 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Very nice! I myself got us down to the smallest bin available, but we still have a weekly pickup. It only gets half full though! I compost, recycle, and freecycle religiously, and have recently begun seriously pre-cycling: when I do buy things, I pick the one with the least packaging.


Meg from FruWiki September 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm

We are using the smallest bin available to us from the city, and though we have to pay for weekly service we only put out the garbage twice a month — and are hoping to push it even further (as is, it’s still not completely full after two weeks and there’s plenty more we could sort out).

And yes, it is a GREAT feeling to not have to put out the garbage every week! Plus, I’m proud of our small little bin with the lid closed whenever I see the neighbors’ bins several times its size bulging with bags weekly. I’m a garbage snob and proud to admit it 😀


Dippidy September 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Okay….first off, you rock!!! Seriously! Wow. I’m really excited that we just went down to the 65 gallon trash can every week…can’t imagine 20 once a month! Wow. Well, I guess it’s a goal to move toward. I’m extra-excited that we have our new recycle cart is 95 gallon. DH thinks I have them reversed. It will be too cool if I can get down to the 35/week cart for trash. Maybe I *can* do this! 🙂

Thanks for your inspiration!


Lisa September 3, 2009 at 5:45 pm

We moved down to a 20 gallon bin and it is usually only half full every week. We have weekly service ( no other choice) and we still put the bin out even though it isn’t full. (I can’t stand the stink factor, otherwise.)

and Meg, I’m with you. I love our petite little can compared to the neighbor’s overflowing, two cans, twice the size.


Karen September 3, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Well, I love Katy’s idea of simplifying our lives, and spending the time saved in doing more meaningful things, and got all excited about cutting our garbage collection down to monthly. We too have been using a 20 gallon cart for the past 5 years, and it’s never more than half full each week, due to recycling, composting etc.

But I found out that there’s no reducing pick up from weekly to monthly and saving any dough, as the fee covers street sweeping too. Of course we could just put the cart out every other week ourselves, which is a good idea. It was good to go to the garbage/recycling website, as I found out a few more things were recyclable that I hadn’t known about.


Mrs Green September 3, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Oh, brilliant post – I hear you on this one; no more stomach lurch at 6am when you hear the rubbish cart coming down the road and you realise you have to jump out of bed and get your bin out on time.

We’re doing well – we haven’t put our bin out since the beginning of the year. We want to get to the end of the year, but looking at it; I don’t think it will be possible.

Doing the maths (we don’t use gallons over here) it looks like our bin is 26 gallons. It’s awesome that you can save money by doing this; there is no scheme like that over here and I wish there was as I feel more people would take a look at what they throw away. We pay the same as the family who throw out 2 full bins per week :/

Thanks for the mention of our site; I really appreciate it. Next week is National zero waste week; would love you and your readers to join in the fun 🙂


Pat September 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

We made the switch last year to once a month. Only here (Michigan) they won’t pick up either so I have to take it to the waste transfer station. They also accept recycling there so it is pretty convenient too. I take recycling in at least once a week since we are pretty diligent about it (which is why our actual trash is so minimal). People are always amazed at how little trash we have and when I explain about the recycling you can just see their eyes glaze over. They aren’t interested even though it takes mere moments of time once you get used to it. I used to pay $80 per quarter for garbage pickup. Now it is $2.50 per bag and I only have one bag a month! So I’m saving about $290 a year! Helps the environment and my own wallet too.


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