Lightening the Trash Man’s Load


dumpster-with-boxes-and-plastic-crates-600x400Recently I have been looking at all the ways that I can decrease the ways that I contribute to the problems associated with the American lifestyle. Last week, I wrote about how we can escape from the plight of living pay check to paycheck. {Here’s the Link to the Article}This week’s blog is about decreasing our garbage output. Every week, I noticed how the dumpster outside our housing project is packed full to overflowing every week with stuff that people are throwing out. Though I cannot change the habits of others, I have decided that I was going to do whatever I could to decrease what I throw out.


The first thing that I have learned is that I need to first reduce the consumables that I bring into my own home. There are numerous ways that I can do this. First, I can reduce the packaging that I bring in with the groceries. I can buy from bulk bins and make food from scratch.

In addition, I am learning that I don’t need keep a lot of stuff around to enjoy life. I have been getting rid of things that I don’t need so that I no longer must store them. Our consumer-based society is based on the collection of a lot of junk and I have decided that I am going to free myself from that American obsession. I am starting to get a better grasp of the concept of “less is more”.

I can also reduce the number of miles that my food travels. This summer I have started buying from local producers rather than from grocery stores that truck produce in from California. Our current Republican government is trying to get us to consume more fossil fuels and encourage us to believe that climate change is a hoax. Some people try to make us believe that the earth is flat too, but that doesn’t make it so. By buying local I not only am helping reduce carbon emissions, I personally like the idea of helping out the local economy.

In addition, reading and writing articles, emails, and books online, I am able to reduce the need for using paper. I am not the only one who sees the benefit of using the computer and the internet to save trees.


Though there are some things that you never want to buy used like underwear, pillows, and mattresses, there are still others that are just as good used as they are new. They also cost a lot less and are often better quality than those things that are bought new. Children’s and women’s clothing are at the top of the list of things that can be bought used. Children grow out of their clothing quickly and women often prefer to change out their wardrobes so there is a lot of good clothing out there that can be found at yard sales and used clothing stores. In addition, flea markets are a useful place to get many items that can be repurposed in your own home.
Things that you no longer need can also be given away or resold. These items can be donated to charity as well. Reducing the need for storage space to store those things can also make a positive impact on both the environment and your wallet.


There are those things that you cannot avoid bringing into your home or allow others to reuse. Recycling takes on many faces. Aluminum cans, plastic, tin cans, glass, cardboard, and paper can all be separated and taken to the local recycling center to made into other products. You can also recycle tires, electronics, and batteries and avoid sending them to the landfill.

One of my favorite ways to recycle is to recycle organic materials by composting. Composting is a way that I can recycle organic materials right on my own backyard. I have composted for years and it is easier than many people think. Almost every home could compost almost all their homes organic household garbage and use it as sustainable fertilizer to produce 50 percent of their daily vegetable intake. Recently I took composting one step further by setting up a vermiculture system where worms are break down the compost into castings that make an excellent nitrogen source for plants.

Just the Beginning

This is just the beginning. As I make these habits a part of my every day life, I feel as though I am more in control of my life by controlling what does and what does not come into my home and what does or does not go into my home.




  1. We are in the process of downsizing in preparation for a big move in a year. It is amazing how much junk one accumulates over the years, stuff you never use….it feels good to get back to basics!

    • 1authorcygnetbrown said:

      You’re right. It does. I can’t wait to see more about your move on your blog. (I would love a tiny house too!)

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