First of all I should start by saying that I love your blog!! I read it every day and have followed so many of your tips and recipes. Just recently I made my own laundry detergent following your recipe and I love how much money I am saving! One thing that I am sooo sick of pouring money into is garbage bags. Every time I buy them I always think 'Why am I paying for something just to throw it away!' Just recently I paid $6 for 40 garbage bags at my local liquidation store (big lots). So I was wondering if you have came across a garbage bag alternative. Several people have told me to use plastic grocery bags from the store but I have started using canvas bags to get the 10 cent discount per bag. Any suggestions you can think of would be greatly appreciated!
REDUCE - Make less garbage which equals less of a need for garbage bags.
It seems that a frugal lifestyle means simpler foods and products which equals much less in the way of wrappers and boxes to throw away. As you decrease your processed foods and begin buying the basics in much simpler forms you'll see your garbage decrease.Begin composting. We have a simple 2 gallon bucket that sets under our kitchen sink. Any compostable material (garlic skins, banana peels, carrots peelings, apple cores, moldy bread, tea bags, coffee grounds) get thrown in there and then emptied every few days into the two big bins outside. One is a working bin where we throw new compost (including grass clippings and leaves) and the other is a bin in the process of decomposing. I don't turn, I don't add anything to make it go faster, I just let it set and do it's thing. While one bin is being added to for a year, the other is just rotting away for a year and then gets put in the garden during the fall. (See my right sidebar under "I Recommend" for a simple book on how to compost.)
Burn or compost paper items. Any papers get shredded and thrown on the compost pile to enrich our homegrown veggies. But cardboard boxes or other burnable items get turned to ash in our fireplace or a burn barrel outside. And then the ash goes in the compost as well and finishes it's journey in the garden.
Sort out your recyclables. We have a bin that gets picked up by an automated garbage truck that is just for recyclables. We sort, wash and prepare those items and they get picked up without the need for a garbage bag.
Don't use disposable sanitary products if you can help it. Use the Divacup or reusable menstrual pads (Gladrags) to keep the waste at a minimum. (See my right sidebar under "I Recommend" for a link to these products.)
After all that, you should have very little left for the regular garbage pickup. Our once overflowing garbage cans are now barely half full at pick up time. Now what?
Let your garbage "Go Commando" - Who says your garbage needs a bag?
Use a garbage can or bucket that can be easily rinsed out and just toss it in there without a bag. Make sure you get in the habit of rinsing liquid garbage down the drain to cut down on any goo. (Drain off leftover juice, liquid in glasses or cans..stuff like that.) Check with your local garbage service to make sure there are no bag requirements first. We have automated trucks without anybody having to touch the garbage, but in areas where there are still garbage men tossing the cans they might have restrictions.
If all else fails, Recycle.
Intentionally gather plastic or paper bags from the grocery store. Use emptied dog food bags or kitty litter bags. Use the bags your newspaper or new phone books come in for the gooey garbage. Use bags that your potting soil might come in or from the inside of a box that contained something that was shipped to you. If it holds stuff once, it will hold it again.
I hope that gives you some ideas to cut back on the cost of buying garbage bags. It does seem a shame to purchase something for the intention of just throwing it away again. Save those dollars for something better.
For more WFMW tips go see all the frugal ideas over HERE.