Dump Your Monthly Garbage Bill!

by Don Baumgart


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You may be able to eliminate your monthly garbage collection fee. While some cities still bundle water and other charges with refuse collection into one bill that must be paid, more and more communities are making curbside collection voluntary. The reason is that state and federal mandates require municipalities to reduce the amount of material flowing into landfills by a set percentage each year. By giving people like you some waste disposal options, like recycling, that waste flow is dwindling.

A typical monthly fee for picking up all of your waste at the curb can be in the range of $14 to $20 or more. However, the fee for two or three trips a year to the local landfill or transfer site with your reduced waste output can be as low as $12 a year!

The key to reducing your cost is reducing your garbage. If you have a spot in the back yard where you can start a compost pile for organic garbage, you can make big financial gains. With that out of the waste stream flow to the landfill, about all you have to dispose of there is packaging.

If you curbside recycle, stop doing that! The deposits on the various drink containers that you are essentially giving to the waste collection company by curbside recycling should be going into your pocket. There probably is a location in a nearby supermarket parking lot where you can turn in old newspapers, cardboard, bottles and tin food cans. The beverage bottles you turn in there will return to you the deposit you paid when you bought them.

Junk mail is an unwanted input to your disposal situation. Like email spam and telemarketing calls, this annoying attempt by companies to gather in some of your spending cash probably can't be stopped. But, you can stop paying to have this annoying trash hauled away. Most recycling centers have a bin for non-newsprint paper.

One community that I discovered has an annual hazardous waste disposal day run by the county. It's a drive-through operation where you can take paint, solvents, corrosive materials, car batteries, oil, anti-freeze, and a host of other materials that most waste collection services won't touch.

Often there's a table full of still-useful products you can pick up, like solvents, paint, paint thinners, and some types of cleaning materials. You sign a waiver taking responsibility for the "hazardous" materials, and take them away free.

Discovering the where and how of these alternatives to the monthly garbage bill takes just a few phone calls. Start with your county's recycling department. Most counties have them. Look in the phone book under your county listing and the sub-head "Sanitation." You also can check with the company that collects waste from curbside cans. One I found has a recycling center where all manner of materials are accepted free.

By taking the heart out of the trash pile you stuff in those garbage cans and wrestle out to the curb every week, and recycling most of it, composting the rest, you can dump your monthly garbage bill.

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