The year of measuring trash: How much stuff do you throw away?
Eco-Tip | By Scott A. Rappe Have you ever wondered how much stuff you throw away? For years I wanted to measure our household waste stream. My opportunity finally came when Santa brought me a small spring-balance weighing scale. It took a lot of persistence, but I found the effort very enlightening. Here’s a breakdown: Trash discarded by my family of four, during 2009 (1,800 pounds total) First, I was amazed by how much paper we accumulated. Beyond an occasional Sunday newspaper and typical food packaging, the bulk of it was junk mail 600 pounds of junk mail! The next number that struck me was glass. No pretenses here: With two kids and two stressful professional lives, we drink a lot of wine. The plastic number is a bit misleading. While the weight (47 pounds) was almost equal to that of the metal (43 pounds) I would bet that the volume was at least 100 times larger, so diverting it from landfills is really important. But while metal is recycled, plastic is only down-cycled,