A few years ago, I did my first “trash project”: I didn’t throw anything away for the month of June. I carried everything I would have thrown away with me for the whole month. I did that two years in a row. I liked it. It was a good conversation starter (“Want a popsicle?” “No thanks… I’m not throwing anything away this month and I’d rather not carry that wrapper around with me.”) and it got me thinking more about how trash-oriented our culture is. I ended up both Junes with a bread bag full of plastic stuff, less than a pound, which I thought was impressive. I was aware of avoiding any (of my rare) major purchases, though. I didn’t want a TV, but I certainly wouldn’t have bought one during June, when I’d be carrying around all that Styrofoam with me. I decided the first week of January, 2009, that I would do a new version of my trash project–photographing everything I send to a landfill until January 1, 2010, and post it here. That should be a better representation of my landfill contribution. The project is complete and the photos are below.

This doesn’t include things I recycled. I understand that recycling is not a great solution, and honestly, I’m not positive that it is worth the water I use to rinse out a plastic container to recycle it, but I do recycle and I wanted to draw clear lines for this project. This also doesn’t include things I composted, which is all my food waste. I created other waste that isn’t be accounted for, of course, like everything that got flushed, went down the drain, out of my tailpipe of my truck, and especially the packing material that the things I bought came in but the stores threw away, not to mention the exhaust of the tractors, trucks, trains, and ships that made and transported that stuff.

It came to about 57 pounds of landfill, which is way, way more than I anticipated. More than half of that was generated by moving and having to get rid of stuff and painting the new place. Still, even without the move I made 28 pounds of landfill in one year–that’s a lot! I felt a little better after looking at the Clean Air Council’s page on American waste; apparently, the average landfill per person per day in the US is four pounds! Yikes.

Landfill, 2-20-09, 6 Pounds (mostly the tires)

Landfill, February 20, 2009: 6 Pounds (mostly the tires)

Landfill, April 11, 2009: About 2 Pounds

Landfill, 6/19/09

Landfill, June 19, 2009: About 4.5 Pounds

Landfill from Moving, Painting, Culling, June & July 2009: About 29 Pounds

Landfill from Moving, Painting, Culling, June & July 2009: About 29 Pounds

Landfill, 7/28/09: About 5 Pounds

Landfill, July 28, 2009: About 5 Pounds

Landfill, August 22, 2009: About 2.5 pounds

Landfill, October 19, 2009: About 4 Pounds

Landfill, December 5, 2009: About 3 Pounds

Landfill, December 31, 2009: About 1 pound

One Response to “Landfill”

  1. […] And my friend Nathen has for several years collected all the trash he made for one month and carried it with him. This year he’s collecting all his trash for the year. For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Nathen’s trash project, here’s a link to his landfill page. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s