The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mountains of trash

Hauling trash to the dumpOver the last year, we've made mountains and mountains of trash, which we tossed in the barn to be dealt with later.  This photo shows about half of the trash, and I'd estimate three quarters or more of it is plastic packaging.

We cut down on our trash by buying in bulk and by using food scraps, paper, and cardboard on the farm.  But plastic seems inevitable.  Milk jugs, styrofoam meat trays, thin sheets of plastic wrapping everything from toilet paper to boxes of tea bags.  In many cases the plastic is entirely redundant, seemingly tacked on for the sole purpose of filling my barn with trash.

The worst part is that plastic isn't really recyclable.  So how can we cut down on our mountain of trash?  The best options I can come up with are:

  • finding a way to buy even more things in bulk
  • growing more of our own food
  • buying less

If you have any better ideas, I'm all ears!  I'm especially interested in ways you might reuse plastic on the farm.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

I'm amazed that it is so little trash! It seems EVERYTHING comes in plastic. We try to buy used as much as possible to stay out of the consuming machine but even then it's soooo much.
Comment by Fostermamas Sat Aug 8 20:36:02 2009
That makes me feel better. It still feels like an awful lot of trash, though....
Comment by anna Sun Aug 9 18:21:51 2009

Hi there,

I saw this on Instructables recently and thought you might want to try it someday:

Maybe you could somehow integrate the finished product into your garden, decoratively or otherwise?


Comment by sarah Thu Dec 16 18:06:07 2010
I love it! Especially if you could make the concrete out of wood ashes...
Comment by anna Tue Dec 21 09:48:55 2010

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.