The average American throws away over 4 pounds of trash per day. And over half of the hundreds of millions of tons of trash we send to landfills every year is compostable or recyclable.

When we lived in the city, twice a week we’d take our trash out to the curb in the morning for pick up. I’d roll a large trash can or two down the driveway in the morning before leaving for work, along with the containers filled with our recyclables (mainly newspapers and bottles).

It doesn’t work that way out here in the country. Instead we have to haul our trash to the nearest dumpster, which is about four miles away. But I suppose that’s an improvement on the way it was done when I was boy. Then we’d dump our trash into a pit in the woods.

But in those days we didn’t have much trash. We probably generated more trash in a week during our city life than we generated in several months back when I was growing up.

And now, I’m pleased to say, we again generate very little trash. Maybe once a month we’ll have a full trash can for me to haul off. That’s less than half of what we accumulated in a single week back in our city dwelling days, and I’m sure our trash production back then was well below the average.

Cherie is particularly adamant about recycling. We keep a container in the kitchen for any trash that can be recycled.


When the container is full, we sort it into bins in the garage, separating paper, plastic, glass and metal.


When the bins are full Cherie takes them to the recycling center in town.

No food waste goes into our trash. We keep containers by the sink, one for things the chickens will eat and another for anything they won’t eat.


When the pigs are here we keep a container for them as well. Every morning I feed the chickens the food scraps set aside for them and empty the other compost material into a bucket in the garage. When the bucket is full it goes to our compost pile, where it is turned into rich black soil to nourish our gardens.

Recycling and composting leaves very little trash behind. And before resorting to recycling, where ever possible we first reduce and reuse.

We’re not doing it perfectly, of course, but the end result is that with just a little extra effort (which quickly becomes a routine), we have significantly reduced the amount of trash we generate.  That’s something our entire society ought to do.