Two months of waste

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On December 7 I zeroed off my waste tracking after finally determining to weigh everything going out the door (see the full numbers here). So what did the first two months of tracking look like?

Prior to starting the tracker, I’d thrown a bag of garbage out for landfill on September 7, October 19 and November 16. Since starting tracking everything, I’ve thrown a bag of garbage for the landfill out on December 14, then again on the 28th, none in January and another bag on February 7. My son and his partner were home with us over the holidays and some of the gifts given had packaging – including some big pieces of styrofoam that resulted in throwing out that second bag.

Overall, I’m a little gobsmacked that we’ve thrown out 131 kg of waste over two months through today. That seems like a lot. About 93% of that has been in the diversion streams – recycling or compost – but almost 300 pounds of waste has me thinking about the energy cost of moving that kind of weight through the supply chain multiple times. I take some comfort that two-thirds of that waste is compost – either in the backyard or the municipal green bin – but it still seems high.

Waste destined for the landfill is 7% of the total weight we’ve thrown out, which I’ve calculated to be about 12% of the total volume of our waste. The amount of blue bin recycling we’ve put out also seems high at 12.1 kg in the last two months. I may eventually start breaking out how much of that blue bin waste is plastic, which I consider problematic, versus glass and metal.

Paper was a relatively unsurprising 21.4 kg – we get four newspapers a week plus junk mail, packaging, etc.

Overall, I’m pleased that in the first two months of tracking we’ve only thrown those three bags out, one of which was bulky but light holiday waste.