We don't use garbage bags, the big black hefty kind, for our garbage. We keep a wee trashcan in the kitchen and line it with leftover plastic bags from various shopping escapades. The trash stays small and goes out regularly, before it can get too fragrant. I like this system. But I'm not really buying stuff anymore, or at least not the kind of stuff that comes in plastic bags. No trips to big grocery stores where they bag your food in little portions with a double-layer of plastic bags. No random trips to Marshall's for, I don't know, socks or a cheap shirt or household flair or whatever. At Goodwill I just fold my clothes and carry them out by hand.
And about paper bags. We folded them up and collected them under the sink for ages, to be reused at the co-op or to sort and contain the recycling or to corral donations to Value Village. Then I finally got in the habit of carrying at least one of my million tote bags at all times, for those impromptu food stops. The result: we keep running out of paper bags, and the stupid recycling guidelines specifically tell you to put your sorted recyclables in paper bags and set your bags in your blue bins.
I think there has to be a better way for recycling, but I am stumped about the trash. I'm not going to a store specifically to get bags. That would totally defeat the whole reduce-reuse part of the equation. I'm going to have to start pillaging the plastic bag recycling bins at the co-op or fishing the bags out of trees. You know how plastic bags are always caught in trees?
In the meantime, those fucking produce bags are multiplying like rabbits, even though I am constantly washing and reusing them. Washing plastic bags is at the top of my list of unfavorite kitchen activities, but what am I going to do, just chuck them? I don't think so. Too bad they're too weak for garbage. And ultimately I'm going to end up buying or making reusable produce bags anyway.
God, it's so harrrrd being a hippie.
I think we're going to try a little compost pile this summer. There's not a lot of food waste because I'm saving odds and ends of vegetables in the freezer for stock and chucking wilted leafage out for the animal friends and there's a garbage disposal to boot, but I'd be interested to see how much composting reduces our trash heap.