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you know you're on the path to zero waste when...

 
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... you haven't put your trash at the bottom of the driveway for so long and the garbage truck drives has to stop suddenly in surprise and reverse to collect the trash.

(we only put it out when it's full and it's been five collections since we last managed to fill the bin)
 
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We don't get garbage pick-up. My husband has been telling me a dump-run is on his list for 10 months now, but it hasn't happened. This hasn't resulted in stinky garbage, because just about everything that would stink is actually compostable (occasionally burnable in the wood-stove in the winter) if I do it right. When he does finally take it, I suspect 50% will go to the "recycle" section of the dump, but it's stuff that the curbside recycle program won't take.

This wouldn't work except that we do get pick up of sorted recyclable stuff which takes care of shiny paper and printed cardboard, glass, and plastic. The pick up is every two weeks, but paper and plastic rarely goes out more than once a month, and the glass even less often. We can also drop off Styrofoam (when we can't avoid getting some) and metal at our local bottle depot. The food "tin cans" can go to the curb, but we often have metal they won't take like rusty fasteners or broken metal stuff we just can't fix and the Depot is happy to take that.

We try to use clothing until it's past the mendable stage, and then use it for rags, but that is one area I don't feel we're there yet. It's getting harder to find 100% cotton clothes or other natural fiber that I wouldn't worry about either composting or burning. I'm just not at r ranson's stage of growing, spinning and weaving her own!
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