I have been fascinated by the idea of how to have a minimum impact outside of my property. I am far from net zero but I have been exploring basic things I can do.

My transfer station splits things into: garbage, paper, card board, 1-2 plastics, 3-7 plastics, metal, and glass. There are others but those are the standard visits.

The station is $110 a year. The garbage is $10 a bag and I hate going. In addition, I refuse to pay for the truck to come to my house. So I have been playing with the trash and recycling for years to make a simple system that impacts my family little but reduces what gets to the transfer station.

First thing is, we have flower gardens all around the house so I created compost piles. The compost is all the yard refuse and the food waste from the house. So in the house the garbage is split into two: 1) dry non-compostable garbage in the trash compactor and 2) compostable food waste, napkins and packaging.

Using a trash compactor with no food waste allows us to compact garbage for a family of four from three to four weeks before requiring removal. The food waste is collected in a twelve gallon container with lid under the sink. It’s collected over two to three weeks before removal. If these were combined in a garbage bin they may last two to three days at most. Then it would also require weekly visits to the transfer station.

This method worked well for a long time. Everything else was put into recycling bins in a bench in the kitchen. So every three to four weeks I would make a visit to the station.

Now I added a new process that extend this for another few weeks and removed two recycling items from the station. I shred most of the paper and card board we recycled before. All the shredded paper products go in the compost.

I learned a couple years ago that a great way to make a worm farm flourish was to shred newspaper into the bin. Since my compost is a mini worm farm I decided to try shredding paper. It worked really well. Now I shred all the mail, newspapers, bills, food packaging and card board and then add it to my compost.

The shredded paper in the compost reduces a huge amount of waste going to the station and it is a small amount of work shredding instead doing into the recycling bin. Now I go to the transfer station every 6-8 weeks.