How Much Trash Do You Produce in a Day

After reading the article from the AARP Bulletin, which I posted yesterday about generating 50 tons of trash by the time we are 70, I decided today to see how much trash I generate in a day. I have been amazed.

For breakfast, I finished off the last of a large bag of raisins. The raisin bag isn’t recyclable, so I put it in the trash. Luckily, I compost the coffee filter and the grounds from my morning coffee.

While dressing, I put the plastic dry cleaner bag in a bag to take to Publix for recycling. The wire hangers I’ll take back to the dry cleaner. The safety pins I keep and reuse. Any paper generated from the dry cleaning goes into the paper recycling bin.

I needed a new roll of toilet paper. I recycled the cardboard tubes and the paper wrapping around the new roll of Scotts Tissue. No, the used toilet paper is flushed away. I’m crazy, but not that crazy.

Before lunch, I discarded a CD at work. Is there anything we can do with CD-ROMs? At lunch, I used three paper towels (something I have eliminated at home) which added to the trash. Parts of the tomato I was eating was thrown away. At home, I would have put the inedible parts into the compost.

I also trashed the tea bag that I used at work, while at home this would have gone into the compost bin. We can’t compost at work because our office in an office building. It’s a miracle that some office paper is collected and recycled. When I suggested setting up plastic and aluminum bins for recycling, I was rejected. Personally I use my own cup, dinnerware and flatware at the office. I refuse to use the styrofoam offered by my employer.

Through the afternoon, I added to the trash bin gum and an apple core (again, something I would add to the compost heap at home). After a trip to the ladies room at work, I realized that every trip there added two paper towels (as well as that unusable toilet paper) to the trash heap today.

After working late, at home I found a mound of mail, both junk and necessary. Fortunately, all is paper, and all will go into the recycling bin.

While preparing dinner, any vegetable scraps went into the plastic tub for the compost pile. We don’t eat meat, so we don’t have fats and bones to discard.

I throw away and accumulate less “trash” at home. I’m not sure if I collected 4.5 lbs. of trash today, but I realize now that I generate more trash that I thought. I’ll be traveling Friday through Sunday. It’s very hard to be green while flying and staying in a hotel. Everything is disposable.

I suspect that the 50 tons may be underestimated, since more disposeable items are available now. Someone born in 1980 will definitely produce more trash than someone born in 1940. In 1940, there were no disposable diapers. Unfortunately that person born in 1940 might wind up in disposable diapers afterall.

6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Bellen said,

    To reduce your waste at work: First, bring a canvas bag, then

    Bring a container to take your compostables home – they should not generate any smell during the day.

    To eliminate the paper towels – bring your own hand towel – carry it to the restroom in a canvas bag if you wish – any questions from others, tell them what and why

    CDs – google CD crafts – there are a ton of ideas. I’ve even seen CDs hung as Christmas ornaments outside on the trees (not my taste but kids love them)

    As for paper waste – if your office building is not recycling, could you take it home to recycle? Or use a shredder and take that home to recycle.

  2. 2

    Brenda said,

    wow. we empty thrash at the house at least every other day.
    we recycle papers and plastics. but still have a ton of garbage.
    i will definately pay more attention.

  3. 3

    milad said,

    i just need to know how much trash is produced by each person around the world, not just in USA or UK.
    thank you

  4. 5

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  5. 6

    Cathy said,

    Hello all!
    This is the first time I’ve bumped into this site and I’ve become anxious about my green life I was struggling to lead, but when my child was born it all collapsed. Disposable diapers – they are so comfortable and as I had ceasarian and had no one actually to help, weakness of my character occured and I decided to use them. I’ve been using them for 11months so far ;/ and I wonder: what about those ‘normal’ diapers? Water I’d waste to wash them up, and substance to wash it, even if chosen with awareness – it all may do harm for the Earth, too. In such cases I just don’t know what to do. In addition, I live in Poland and in my one-horse town there is NO RECYLING FACILITY and all I would collate would end up in a common landfill, so the effort is of no avail. Still I try to buy wooden instead of plastic, and when I’m forced to, I buy reusable, second-hand. What to do if my society and administration remain ignorant and reluctant to undertake appropriate steps and help us recycle?
    I’ll try to make a list of garbage I produced today but the end is the same everyday: one rubbish bin as there are no institutions to get my collated garbage and reuse it.

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