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Garbage in the kitchen?

Ewww……stinky, rotten leftover food & the containers it comes in! Everyone has garbage in the kitchen, no matter how diligent they are about disposing of the day’s leftovers or cleaning out the refrigerator produce drawers. How often you clean is up to you, but I’m here to give you three options as to how to dispose of the stuff:

  1. Recycling
  2. Kitchen sink disposal
  3. Compost bin

Years ago, before recycling was “in”, my husband and I would save our newspapers and haul them over to a center every few months or so. The city we lived in had no garbage recycling options so we threw everything else away.

When we moved to our current town, we learned that it recycled paper/cardboard, cans & glass for free, and every household got a blue plastic bin.  So, like good stewards of the earth that we are, we recycled as much as possible.  Our town charges for garbage pick-up. You can pay by the bag by paying for a sticker or pay a monthly fee for a large plastic garbage toter/can.

Taking into account my growing family’s ton of cereal boxes, milk jugs, cans from food, and beer bottles (my husband’s contribution), we really still didn’t have much garbage in the kitchen, so our weekly cost was relatively low.

Another thing to think about when throwing out the garbage is the use of plastic garbage bags and the effects on the earth. Most bags are not biodegradable and will last just about forever in a landfill.  You can find some biodegradable bags online, but they do cost more. So, if you do care about the earth, the best thing is to use biodegradable bags for any trash you do have.

What’s the best place for kitchen garbage can storage?  Many people have two bins under their sink cabinet for easy garbage disposal and recycling in one place. If you’re unable to do this, find a way to organize your bins to make it easy.  If you have small children, train them early and make it fun to do. It’ll be a lifelong habit for them. We have a regular plastic garbage container next to our cabinets and our recycle bin is in our attached garage. We just have to open the door and toss things in—easy!

My mother-in-law was the first person I know who had a kitchen sink disposal, and always talked about how great it was. I never heard of that before, never knew anyone else who had one, and didn’t really care much about it.  But after we installed one when we built our new home, wow, I was astounded! The stuff you could put down there was amazing! Leftovers (no meat, though), rotten fruit & veggies in my fridge, leftovers you forgot about in the back of the fridge—it all went down the drain—just pass on potato peels. Yes, there’s a story there.  Less garbage in my garbage bag equals less money to pay!

About five years ago, I started to learn about composting for my garden. After some trial & error with containers, I finally bought a revolving barrel type compost bin. Just throw stuff in and turn it over! Again, no meat involved, but you could throw in rotten fruit & veggies, peels/skins, egg shells, grass clippings and small twigs, etc. You can do a more thorough search online as to “proper” techniques for the best compost, but I just throw it all in and turn the bin over.

A few problems arose with saving garbage in the kitchen for the compost bin. I would throw everything in a bowl on my counter until it was overflowing. Well, in warm weather, fruit flies were my best friend. So I need to dispose of these morsels right away.   Also, in the winter, I don’t want to go outside just to pry open a frozen lid, so I will flush most things down my disposal until the weather warms up.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Reuse, Reduce & Recycle”.  So, here’s a tip on recycling non-food metal items—many towns have a scrap metal recycler where you can takes old, broken, odd pieces of metal and sometimes they will pay you a few bucks per pound. You can donate other unwanted household items or clothes to your local thrift or charity, or you can sell them online at Ebay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.

Now that it’s just my husband and me, between recycling, using the disposal, and composting, we put garbage out maybe once every two weeks! Instead of paying about $20/month like most of my neighbors, we pay less than $6. It drives me crazy when I see my neighbors’ large brown plastic garbage cans overflowing every week. What are they putting in there? Even with several kids, they could be doing a better job and saving money–just saying!

Garbage in the kitchen?  No problem!


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