Low Tide in Pooptown

by Katy on February 6, 2011 · 18 comments

I switched over to once a month garbage service a couple of years ago, and every now and again it’s five long weeks between pickups. Unfortunately, February is one of those months, and also happens to be a month when we had whole dungeness crabs for dinner.

And let me tell ya’, crab shells, plus all that cat litter is a deadly combination.

So, sorry garbage collectors. And, um . . . next month’s pickup will be in four weeks, not five.

Sorry about the low tide in pooptown.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

P.S. At least my kids are potty trained.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda H. February 7, 2011 at 6:13 am

Yeah, cat poop is solely why I smile when I see the garbage men coming…especially in the summer. Whew! We only have 2, but they sure can generate a lot of waste.


HeatherS February 7, 2011 at 6:21 am

We don’t have trash service anymore due to the cost. (In our town you have to contract with your own trash collector as there is no city service). We recycle and compost everything we can and my husband takes a bag of trash to work with him about once every week and a half to two weeks. They have a dumpster at his office and they don’t mind. It’s ok in the winter but in the summer I have to plan carefully or it’s gross and smelly. Any food waste that would cause stink, like wrapping that held meat, I collect in a bag in the freezer and put it in just before he leaves with the bag. So I guess I freeze my trash! It does encourage us to recycle more and to use up leftovers so they don’t have to be thrown away.

I hear you on the cat poo though, that has to be taken out right away or major yuck!


Anita February 7, 2011 at 6:28 am

We live in a small city where garbage and recyclables are collected weekly. We keep our big can outside with the stinky stuff. I can’t imagine where I’d even keep 5 weeks of garbage. Maybe if I used no paper products, composted food waste, bought less packaged food, still some junk is junk.
I’m always fascinated by how you do it all.


sandy February 7, 2011 at 8:12 am

We have weekly garbage pickup, but never produce enough to put it out more than once a month. I wish we had a monthly option. Since we don’t put the can out often, we make sure not to put smelly stuff in the kitchen trash or in the garbage can so that it doesn’t stink up the kitchen or garage. Most of the smelly stuff is meat scraps and packaging. We don’t eat huge amounts of meat so it’s easy to store it temporarily in the freezer.

Is there anything cheap that can be used to neutralize the strong odor of cat litter to make it more bearable? Moisture content might be a factor you can adjust.


farmgal February 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

Baking Soda, I buy it by the 40 pd bag from the feed store and use it for a ton of things but it really helps in the litter box’s or even sprinkled into a garabage can itself.


Sara Tetreault February 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

Katy, I can totally relate to this post as we’ve had once a month garbage for 10 years at our house. Every once in a while, I’ve called our garbage hauler to change the day of the pick-up to a week earlier and they are always agreeable. Seafood scraps are by far the biggest (smelliest) problem for us.


CanadianKate February 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

It is only dh and I so we can easily go three weeks between trash pickups (our service divides out compostables, cans/bottles and paper from ‘garbage.’) In the winter the compostable is only picked up every second week but garbage is every week. How screwed up is that?!

In the summer we put the compost in the freezer in a plastic bag and then just load the compost bin that goes to the curb the day of pickup. We compost our own vegetable scraps so we have only two tiny bins of compost material a week to go out plus two grocery bags of trash (meat wrappers, food packaging.) If there’s room in the freezer, we only put our bins out every second week even in the summer. It seems ridiculous for the truck to stop for a 1/3 filled bin.

No babies or pets here so that really reduces our garbage production.

We find the freezer trick useful when we are traveling as well, since we often leave days after trash pickup and then are away for 3 – 4 weeks.


Erin February 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

I think it’s great that you have that option do choose the frequency of your pick up! Our community wants to switch the weekly garbage and biweekly recyclables and am hoping it will start asap.

What Anita said about adapting to the frequency is exactly why communities should do it. Good luck with the smell..up here in the North everything freezes so there is very little smell;)


Lisa February 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

Our garbage service picks up once a week. That said, we only put ours out maybe twice per month. There’s just not that much of it. As for stinky litterbox waste, I scoop the cat cookies into a throwaway covered plastic container and pitch the whole thing. (We eat a lot of ice cream so have tons of these plastic tubs). Heaven help the dumpster diver that takes the lid off one of those things! But as long as the lid stays on, there’s no noticeable smell.


Mary H February 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Maybe you could use some garden lime to help control the odor. I’ve used it in my compost pile before and have heard of it being used around kennels and horse barns, also in privies and emergency toilets.


Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire February 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

This totally made me laugh!

We have twice a week garbage pickup in our neighborhood. I’m always amazed at just how much our neighbors put out every time. I really don’t understand how people generate that much trash! (Although I’ll give a bit of a pass to anyone with a baby wearing disposables.)

Out of curiosity, what kind of cat litter do you use? We use pine litter, and it genuinely doesn’t smell! It’s great! It’s flushable, too. We used to flush the solids, but now we also use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior (what a name, huh?) in a second litterbox for our old, sick cat. That can’t be flushed, so my husband just throws all the solids away now. That one is more odorous than the pine litter, but Sick Kitty likes it, and that’s what matters right now!


namastemama February 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

we also use the pine and it can be composted . I really like it because it so light my lil kids can even carry a huge bag.
I’m envious of the once a month too. We canceled our service and combine with a neighbor. I to am amazed at the quantity of trash families produce and what people will put on the curb. It’s really sad. I do not live in the city limits with no recycle or mass compost options. We personally compost and I take my recyclables into town but most everyone else puts EVERYTHING in the garbage.


Katy February 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I use clumping litter, which works well. I tried the pine litter awhile back, and the cats peed in the spare bedroom, in the back of the coat closet and in a bed.




Allison February 8, 2011 at 7:31 am

yes, cat litter here is my most non recyclable item and I have 6 cats. I have used the pine before, but was having a hard time finding it after I moved to Oregon (at least at a reasonable price) so I switched back to clumping. I recently was reading about training your cat to use the toilet. When I was a child we had a cat that did that. I recently have bought some Worlds Best Cat Litter which is made from corn (the grain itself) and is flushable and even safe in septic tanks. BUT my cats don’t really like it (even though they have a box with the old clumping litter too so they have a choice) and one of them is protesting by peeing on the carpet. AAARRRGGH!!! I’d love to find a better solution.


Sheila Keenan February 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Fascinating to read about variations in garbage pick-up. Twice a week, wow! And choosing frequency, also interesting. And no service at all. Here (suburb of Vancouver, B.C.) we get once a week pick-up for garbage and also just started getting compostable (including meat/bones) pick-up weekly. (I think crab shells could go in the compostable bin.) Recycling is also picked up weekly. Since we started getting compostable pick-up our garbage volume has gone way down and would go down even further if I took the time to sort the soft plastics (plastic bags). Those don’t get picked up though, I’d have to drive them to the recycling depot.


Erin February 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

This is one of the few advantages to living through a Michigan winter – even though we only generate enough trash to put it out every three weeks, or a month, frozen trash never smells bad. And if it did, I’m not outside long enough to know.


Marissa February 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I too have put smelly food trash including crab shells in the freezer until trash day. Newspaper wrapping also.


Riean February 14, 2011 at 12:11 am

Do you have a garden? her in Australia we can buy a ‘doggie Dooley’ sort of septic system for getting rid of cat and dog droppings, and it works quite well. Still have the bulk of the litter to dispose of, but cuts down on the horrendous smell. Also, I always freeze any ‘stinky’ good scraps, and just pop them in the bin on Bin days, which seems to be what a lot of others who have commented also do.

Cheers from Riean in Western Australia


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