One of the first major overhauls to our property was the Septic Tank addition to the homestead.
The previous septic tank has basically disintegrated…we found only chunks of tiles where a tank would have been. The county required a new tank for anyone who bought the property, and we qualified for a loan to get a tank installed.
Well friends, the good news is that the septic tank is working well, the loan for the tank is paid off, and I’m feeling like we are getting much more efficient at waste management. Even the leech fields are, once again, able to be mowed, so we no longer are showing off Jurassic Weeds (well, minus the garden plot-that’s crazy weeds still).
So besides the tank, because we are technically within city limits, we also have city garbage pick up. The city recently upgraded its system to a plastic bin and truck pickup unit (We use to have buy these wild light green garbage bags for city collection that were oodles and oodles of money for a roll. As you can imagine, raccoon LOVED getting into those green bags).
Since living on the homestead, I’ve had a goal of shrinking our garbage as much as humanly possible. And even beyond what’s humanly possible. We usually have one bag a week of garbage, but I suspect that could be even less, if I make myself a little more conscience. And here’s how we are accomplishing that:
Okay, so they aren’t actually bins. They are cardboard boxes. Why buy actual bins when you don’t know what your kitchen set up is going to be in a year? The city has a recycling drop off location, fortunately. And they also accept a varied and large amount of plastics to be recycled. We have recycling for glass, tin, paper, cardboard, and plastic. I take these to our city’s recycling center every two weeks. It could probably be less, but Tyler does eat a lot of plastic pre-packaged meals when he’s working late on the house…and frozen pizza…and pot pies, he’s been into pot pies that you heat up yourself for awhile.
In March of 2017, Gus and I “built” a compost bin out of old pallets. It’s hideous. But it’s been incredibly functional. I had made a resolution that year to have less food waste. But throwing out the little papery part of the onion seemed just as wasteful as throwing out half an onion that had gone bad. Enter compost bin. Technically speaking, compost can be used for feeding your garden. But I don’t actually follow any guidelines in how much food waste versus organic material versus dead leaves (etc), I put in the compost bin. Because even if you don’t have a garden, why wouldn’t you let rot-able food decompose? It requires almost no effort. So, inside, I collect the bits and pieces of compostables and walk them out to the bin every day or two. Apparently, the muck in it is so healthy, that I often find vegetables growing from the bits I’ve thrown out. I’ve accidentally grown compost jalapeños, onions, strawberries and what appears to be small trees.
Okay this isn’t really a category. But we continue to have a separate dumpster for construction waste. I’m entirely sure it’s not eco-friendly. But it has come in handy more than once. Besides using it for the bits and ends of Tyler’s house and homestead projects, it was extremely helpful during the flooding and for when my parents dropped off a trailer full of my childhood room (I was brutal and only three tub fulls of my child hood made the cut). Hopefully though, we’ll be done with that soon.
So I’m not gonna mention much here, because I don’t believe all reusable and washable products are the same and they certainly don’t work for everyone’s needs. But let’s just say I’ve paired down some of my biggest offenders. I purchased a mesh coffee filter for our Mr. Coffee, reusable menstrual products, water bottles, turned old t-shirts into washcloths, I have been switching from bag tea to loose leaf teas with stainless steel-in cup-strainers and because I’m usually able to eat almost every meal from home now, I rarely need plastic baggies or those type of disposables.
That’s it actually. Basically composting and recycling have saved us almost everything. Here’s to what may be the longest winter in years. And my continued efforts to stay “green.”