When I was a teenager my grandmother gave me a book titled "The Millionaire Next Door". The jist was that many people who were millionaires you would never know it. They got their money by living within their means and not keeping up with the Jones' and over consuming. There were a couple points I took from that book and always remembered. First was the debate over college or not. It argued both sides well, and didn't just default to "You have to go to college or you won't make enough money". It presented that college is years of borrowing money when you could be making it, added with some compounding interest and a reasonable lifestyle, it was a feasible alternative. Of course college wasn't presented as a silly thing to do either. The other thing that stuck was garbage output and how it is a direct gauge of consumerism. People who kept up with Jones' made a lot of trash. Younger people made more trash than older due to having to make major purchases like appliances that will get purchased less frequently as life's gadgets are acquired already. Ever since I read that book I have monitored my weekly trash output (so basically my entire adult life). Not on paper or anything, but it's always been my job to take out the trash, and it's not hard to figure out if you've taken it out 3 times or 4 before you pull the can out front for county pickup and know what average per week is. When I was in my 20s, there was tons of trash. I wasn't to be bothered recycling and I wanted everything right now. Everything had packaging, and it was just as unnecessary bulky packaging was starting to become taboo. Also my son was born. I was running 4-6 trash bags a week and was always working on a dump run pile of larger stuff. In my 30's I started feeling bad for not recycling, but didn't start.I had a much better job than in my 20's, and although I remembered the lessons of the book I had read I was still making lots of trash. 3-4 bags a week but with no where near the dump runs. Doing the whole unemployment thing in my 40s has been challenging. It's obvious that a big hit in income would lower trash output. Also my son moved out. In the last couple years we've been down to a couple bags a week with one small spring cleaning dump pile every year. Still wasn't recycling. So in the last year I've accepted that I'm not working, and have been working here at home. We have an acre and it's perfect growing soil in the middle of one of the most fertile areas anywhere. It sat mostly fallow while I was working. Since I have no money, I started researching sustainable gardening and just overall self reliance and started digging. Lot's of digging. I started a compost pile and a worm bin, and that started me separating trash. About a month ago the county picked up our huge garbage can that I only had to pull out front every couple weeks at 2 bags/week output, and replaced it with a cute little can that fit exactly two bags. They also dropped off two big huge shiny new recycle bins, one for green waste one for mixed recyclables. They were obviously pushing for recycling. I have 8-10 times the bin space for recyclables than I do for trash. It finally pushed me over the edge to start recycling. So now in the kitchen we have a trash can, a recyclables bag and a little covered flip lid can for food compost waste. This has been a long slow process but all came together in the last couple weeks. Ok so here's the thing... My trash output this week? zero! First time ever. I don't have anything to put in the garbage bin to pull out front and it is trash day. Ok for the sake of accuracy I'll admit that there a half a bag of trash in the kitchen bin, but that's hardly worth pulling the county bin out front. We have filled our big mixed recycle bin not quite halfway up in a couple weeks so will pulling that up sometime in April, and we throw a pound or two of food waste to the compost and worms every couple or three days. It's amazing to us how much of our trash output wasn't trash. I won't go on and on about the worm castings tea or the free fertilizer and compost or how well my heirloom tomatoes seedlings came up in the cold frame I built or how much better fresh eggs are when you know what the chicken has been fed or how my honeybees get here in a couple weeks or any of that stuff. This thread is about trash, and how easy it is to make less of it. We're mostly men here. I'd imagine there's a few regular garbage haulers here. How many tall kitchen bags of trash a week do you generate? Has it changed as you've gotten older? Do you recycle anything?