Trash Diary Trends

Keeping a trash diary has made me more conscious than ever about what I’m throwing away.   Although I should note, while I am more aware of what I’m discarding, I haven’t been making any behavior changes just yet.  I want to get a good idea first of what I normally do on an every day basis.

I’m only 12 days into it and I’m already noticing some trends.

  • I use paper towels, tissues, and napkins EVERY DAY. Some days more than others. (The frequency surprised me on this one.)
  • What I throw away directly correlates to my eating, cooking, cleaning and purchasing habits.  For example, I’m wasting a lot more in take-away packaging (not to mention money) when I don’t set-aside time to make a lunch to bring from home. (Not a big shocker, but keeping track of my habits has been a big eye opener).
  • I’m throwing out a lot of non-recyclable plastics.
  • With the food scraps generated I’m definitely seeing composting in my future.

Now for a few admissions on the process so far and clarifications on my self-imposed trash diary rules.

  • I haven’t been so great about keeping tabs on everything the hubby is throwing away at home (as was my original intent), but have been pretty diligent about most waste that I’ve been generating or that we generate together (meals cooked at home, junk mail, etc.)
  • I do sometimes forget one or two things.  For example, I was preparing my lunch today (partially brought in a plastic baggie) and remembered I tossed a few baggies last night that I didn’t include in my trash diary.  So, I’ll include them in today’s.
  • I haven’t been including all bathroom waste.  I’ve been including things like toilet paper rolls and dental floss plastic container (and will include toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles when I’m done with those.)  I have not been including things like clumps of hair from the hairbrush, used bandaids and feminine products.
  • I’m still undecided on whether or not to include ‘durable goods’ (those things you don’t throw away every day like computers, furniture, etc.)

I started this to evaluate and hopefully change my own behavior.  If you decide to keep a trash diary, your ‘rules’ and parameters may be different than mine.  The goal is to identify trends in consumption and to do something about it.  I’ll evaluate again at the end of the month.

And so the trash diary continues.

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About Amy Marpman

Director of Recycling Services at Great Forest, Inc. in NYC. Continually finding the balance of idealism with the practical realities that make or break recycling programs.
This entry was posted in Recycling, Trash Diary. Bookmark the permalink.

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