Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 by Rachel

During our first week living here, we created tons and tons of trash. Boxes, bubble wrap, wadded up balls of tape. You just can’t help the amount you generate when you move. We couldn’t believe it when we called to set up our first trash pickup to find out our home was not eligible. Derrick and I must live a tenth of a mile outside the city limits. This was panic time. We couldn’t live in trash forever!


We knew many of our neighbors had trash pickup from private companies, but finding a private company that fit our needs seemed to be much more of a hassle than it was worth. Some required special blue bags. Some required that you own your own trash bins. We couldn’t even compare the companies and cost-effectiveness of each, because all of the requirements were so different.


The owners left us a note with helpful Hendersonville tips, and one of them was that if we took equal amounts trash and recyclables to the city dump, it was free. Still, the idea of hauling trash in my little Grand Am didn’t seem ideal. It’s different for van/truck/SUV drivers. I just imagined vegetable juice and litter spilling all over the inside of my trunk.



I succumbed to the inevitable. I, as a temporary stay-at-home housewife, am in charge of getting the trash out of the house. I take two trips a week to the dump. At first, I bagged my recyclables, but now I’ve got a system of plastic bins in the garage. I rotate the bins and try to take one bag of trash per bin. Today I took the cardboard bin and a trashbag filled with cupcake making materials, litter, Superbowl old cilantro, tissues, etc.


The bins at the dump (as well as mine) are broken up into 1) household trash, 2) cardboard, 3) mixed paper, 4) cans/jugs/jars/bottles. Everyone at the dump is at least 50 years older than me. Sometimes they sneer. Sometimes they smile. At 8:30 in the morning, no one is there. At 9, there are at least five other cars dropping off stuff. At 12, there are ten other cars. The dump monitors make me nervous, but I have only been approached once, when struggling with Derrick’s packed-tight shredded paper bag. A trip to the dump takes about 15 minutes. I like going before I eat breakfast. It makes me feel like I’m already having a productive start to my day.


Some of you might not be interested in trash. I can’t say I was particularly interested in trash either before moving here, but now I think about it (and talk about it) all the time. Here is our history. We recycled when we lived in Asheville, when recyclables were picked up in convenient blue bins every other week. We recycled in part in Flagstaff, where our apartment building had two dumpsters (one for trash and one for cardboard/paper/maybe cans), though you had to take glass bottles (the bulk of our recyclable material) down to the city dump and we didn’t do that. We tried to recycle, at least at the beginning, in Milledgeville, before they began to require and limit permits in order to recycle at the city centers.


So really, we haven’t consistently recycled in five years, and now I am recycling AT LEAST 50% of what we produce. It’s probably closer to 65 or 75% because of my rotating system. I know that at first these trips to the dump seemed like a stinky hassle, and I’m still hoping to avoid spillage, but it’s actually saving us money (a minimum of 20 dollars a month, we guesstimate) and we’re doing something nice for the planet. I feel so warm and fuzzy!… on the inside…really, I am very cold after being outside at the dump!

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