Monday, January 17, 2011

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Garbage bags must be black for a reason.  It is a black wall so that we are not reminded of all the crap we throw away.  Colin Beaven, aka No Impact Man, talked about this phenomenon in his book.  He actually sat down and picked through his garbage the first week of his experiment.  I was really not into pulling out all our garbage a few weeks ago when we started this project, since it was the week after Christmas and we had lots. I know our bag was filled of mostly of clear plastic.  The wrappers off the board games, the bags the duplo came in, cracker bags, cheese and meat wrapping, candy cane wrappers, I believe are the “bulk” of our garbage.  Plus the bathroom bag full of heavy diapers. 
I did, however, put a clear plastic bag under the sink in the kitchen, so we could see what item we were throwing out.  Although, when Adam took out the garbage he replaced my clear bag with a small black bag and put my clear bag into a large black bag!  Poof, the garbage that we could see was now gone from our sight.  Well, I guess I came across a little irritated, but I asked if we could change the routine a bit.  We are now using bags that are not recyclable at the moment and hopefully we will have less and less garbage as this project goes on.
            In our laundry room, we have a pile of plastic bags that I hoard.  They include bagel, English muffin, sandwich bread, milk, cereal, fruit/veggie and cracker bags that we have received with our grocery purchases.  We also have recyclable grocery store and bulk barn bags.  So for our challenge, I organized all these bags and now have a place to put everything we are baking and freezing.

We wash and reuse our bulk barn bags for each visit; we need to drop off our milk bags to a local project that builds sleep pads for children in Haiti; and our grocery store bags will be dropped off at the food bank like we have done in the past.

To never having to change the garbage again: Cheers!


  1. Visiting here from The Compact. I started compacting in Jan. of 2007, so this is my 5th year.

    The whole garbage and bags issue is big for me too. Years ago I started carefully smoothing out all plastic bags and folding them. They take up no space at all that way. Then I found a pattern to use them to make plastic "Yarn" and started crocheting them into really nice totebags of all sizes.

    At first I was only using the bags you get from stores, but then I started noticing that the bags that potatoes come in is the same texture, and tortillas and bread bags and all sorts of plastic bags that sneak into my home can be used this same way.

    I have been guilty of going through the garbage and re-sorting what is actually trash, what is recyclable and what is compostable. If you buy with an eye on packaging, and then compost what you can, there is very little that needs to be garbage.

    You are so right! Keep up the good work. I'll be back to see what other adventures y'all are up to!


    My friend Emma sent us this link too. I am going to try the bibs. It might take awhile to get to, but here's the info for everyone else.