Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thinking outside the box (or trash can)

When we moved, we found a few more ways to save money on our monthly expenses. We have a well and a septic tank, so we are no longer paying for our water. We don't live in an HOA, so no monthly or yearly dues. And we didn't sign up for trash pickup.

Well, we did sign up for it, then realized the logistics involved and the cost and said 'forget it!' and canceled it before ever having a pickup.

There were two main problems. The first was the cost: we would be paying for two months' service what we had been paying for three months' service at our old house. The second was the logistics: we live on a narrow private lane with no turn around space. The pickup location for the trash was by the mailboxes next to the main road, a quarter mile from our house.

Were we going to drag a trash can a quarter mile (with hills- the private road is not flat) each way every week? I don't think so!
Do we generate enough trash to justify the increased costs? Nope!

Because of the way we eat, we don't have a lot of packaging to throw away. Most of our trash ends up being fruit and veggie trimmings, and now that we've bought a compost barrel, we'll be composting them, which will further decrease our trash output. Before we moved we would fill a kitchen trash can every two weeks or so. That's two, maybe three bags of trash per month.

In researching our options, I discovered that the local dump will allow you to drop off 30 gallon bags of trash for a dollar a bag. That's two of my 15 gal kitchen bags. You can buy a savers card for $10 that allows you to bring 12 bags of trash, further decreasing the cost.

$1 or $2 dollars a month versus $25? That's pretty much a no-brainer. Of course, it's not quite that simple, but since the dump is on the way to LMS' co-op class, there's not extra mileage or gas involved. The only problem will be hauling the trash in our CRV. But I think I have that figured out- put the trash bags in a large rubbermaid container to prevent leakage and drop off on the way to class, not after. The smell problem should be fairly nonexistent now that we are composting and don't have to worry about rotting fruit and veggies in the trash. And we're buying a truck in a couple months, so if it's really an issue, we can throw it in the back of the truck.

It's a little unconventional, but it will save us a significant amount of money ($275 a year!), so totally worth the small amount of extra work needed.

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