First Person: Hauling My Own Trash Saves Me $300 a Year

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I don't live out in the country, but my house is outside the city limits. That means no city garbage pickup. There's a privately-owned sanitation service that comes to my area once a week. It charges $25 per month to take people's trash to the dump once a week. Because the people who owned my house before me used that service, the trash collector continued showing up when I moved in. I figured since it was only $25 bucks, it was worth it and I became a subscriber. I had always lived in the city, where pickup was twice a week so I didn't consider that I'd either be letting garbage pile up all week or making trips to the dump myself anyway.

There were some weeks when the one pickup sufficed. When I had thrown away items that were perishable, like leftover meat and other food items, however, I would make trips to the dump as needed. It's not a long drive to get there, and it's on my way into town. After several months of paying this guy $25 to show up four times a month, I realized that by not using his services, I could save $300 a year. When I considered that I passed the dump anyway and was already making regular trips there, it seemed silly to pay that much to have someone else deal with my trash.

When you take care of your own trash disposal, several things happen. One is that you really start noticing how much excess packaging is used for nothing but aesthetics. You also become more aware when food is being wasted. It wasn't long before I was developing more conscientious habits regarding such waste. There are some recycling bins at the dump for aluminum, plastic and paper. There's no glass recycling in my area. Once I began doing that more habitually, I started considering those things when I was making purchases.

By taking my own garbage, I now have more control over whether things get recycled and I can plan my garbage drop-offs so that they fit into trips I'd be making anyway. Any gas costs are minimal. For people who live in the city, paying for pickup is required. But for those of us in suburban areas that are near the city, it's definitely worth considering hauling your own trash to the dump.

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