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Green Living: Once-a-Month Garbage Collection

Once a month garbage collection

Our family is celebrating 10 years of once-a-month garbage collection.  Everyone always wants to know the secret of how a family of four can do this.  Well, there is no secret just some simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of trash you generate each month.  You and your family should give it a try.  Try these 5 easy steps to get started.  Yes, our backyard chickens love snacking in the compost bins.

Green Living:  Getting to once-a-month garbage collection

  • Limit new purchases.  Try buying used instead.
  • Question the packaging.  Don’t buy items with too much packaging.
  • Recycle everything.  Think before you put stuff in your garbage can!
  • Compost produce scraps, eat your leftovers, and skip the carry-out containers.
  • Find a drop-off spot in your city for non-curbside recyclables.

In Portland, we have Far West Fibers.  They accept all the items pictured below.  Search for a company in your area and start reducing your garbage today!

Non curbside plastic recycling

These are the items that get “recycled” at our home, just not at the curb.

Non curbside plastic recycling

Lids, tubs, and trays.

Plastic tubs and lids

Many grocery stores recycle these plastic tubs at the store.  Locally, New Seasons Market recycles plastic containers.  Plastic bags can also be returned to many grocery stores.

Shredded materials

I used to put my shredded materials in my compost bins.  After learning that receipts contain BPA, I no longer do that.  BPA (which is very bad) doesn’t belong in receipts (or in my garden!).  Shredded documents and receipts can also be taken to Far West Fibers.

Compost bins once a month garbage collection

Let me just apologize for these pictures –  first! I purposely made them smaller.  You’re really getting a behind the scenes view here!  Two compost bins really help.  Make sure you put hardware cloth (large screening) underneath your compost bins first. You don’t want rats or other creatures in your compost bins.  That is our garbage can, in all its glory.  It’s 32 gallons and the smallest size for once a month collection.

Want to try once-a-month garbage collection?  Try putting your garbage can out every other week and work up to once a month.  See how it goes.  Find a spot in your garage or basement where you can collect your non-curbside recyclables.  Mine gets stashed in a plaid duffel bag – so at least they’re hidden and cute!  Link up with a neighbor and trade off with the chore of who gets to drop off the non-curbside recyclables.

You can do it!

Note:  Once a month garbage collection is something we did after both of our kids were potty trained.  I did use disposable diapers, I admit!

Go Gingham related links:
Once-a-month garbage even during a house re-do project – yes!
Buy second-hand, first – cut down on trash
Backyard chickens love compost snacks!
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins saves on packaging, too

2 thoughts on “Green Living: Once-a-Month Garbage Collection

  1. I don’t believe our waste collector offers once monthly pickup, so we are on the twice monthly plan (1st and 3rd weeks) (also for 10 years!). In a month with 5 weeks, we go 3 weeks without pickup, which is rarely a strain. Unfortunately our city does not recycle nearly the amount of items yours does. And as far as I know we don’t have cool stores willing to do it either, although I will look into it.

    Here are a few tips we also use to reduce waste:
    1. No paper towels or paper napkins. Cloth napkins only, and rags, rags, rags.
    2. Wash out and reuse ziplock bags. Only toss them once they are punctured.
    3. Freecycle all the weird stuff. A beat up 3-ring binder, clamshell plastic, unused vinyl checkbook covers, torn blankets. There are people out there that want that stuff. The goal of Freecycle is to keep stuff out of landfills, so it’s the ideal place to post items you don’t want to throw away. (www.freecycle.org)


    1. Liana, thanks for the great tips! Trader Joe’s used to accept plastic containers at their stores. I’m not sure if they stuck with the program or not. Also, Whole Foods had a plastic recycling at some stores that they were testing.

      I love Freecycle’s goal. We should all have the goal of keeping stuff out of landfills!


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