Living without Trash Service

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living without trash service

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Before moving out to the Missouri Ozarks, we lived just outside a large city on an acreage.  This meant that we had the privilege of a trash service coming out and picking up our garbage once a week and our recycling every other week.  We totally took advantage of this service, watching our garbage and recycling magically disappear week after week.  Sure, we fed food scraps to the chickens and had a compost pile going.  But the bulk of our waste was being carted away by a trash truck.

Then we moved to the beautiful Ozarks.  We live in an area that there is no trash service out here in the country.  Our trash no longer magically disappears.  In fact, we realized just how much trash our family of five made!  Holy moly!  It’s very common to see people burning their trash in burn barrels around here, so we tried it once.  It was effective, but it made Travis’s allergies flare up, he was stuffed up for days!   Not very pleasant.  So we decided to recycle as much as possible and try to get our trash output as low as possible.

How We Live Without Trash Service:


  • We are trying to reduce purchasing any plastics/plastic wrap that is not recyclable.  A hard feat for sure, but we’re getting there. A great plastic wrap alternative that I’m eager to try are Beeswax Wraps.
  • Use reusable bags when shopping.  We keep extra bags in our car, just in case we forget to grab them when leaving the house.
  • We plan on growing and canning/preserving most, if not all of our food.  Processed food is something that we just don’t buy, but even buying whole foods can result in a lot of plastic.  Everything from bacon to broccoli is either plastic wrapped or placed in plastic bag!


  • Glass jars have been very handy for leftovers, broth, spices and organizing screws and nails in the garage.
  • If we use a ziploc bag, we wash it out and use it again. I would really like to get away from using ziploc bags altogether, but old habits die hard.  We’re definitely using them less often than before and using them multiple times.
  • Our chickens and pigs feast on food scraps.  They love it!


  • There is a recycling center in the town nearby.  We have been sorting paper, glass, plastic and tin and taking it all in to be recycled.
  • We are saving cardboard boxes for our garden beds this spring.
  • Using junk mail as fire starter has been a great way to get rid of the extra paper clutter that I never know what to do with.
  • We have several compost piles going, for food scraps that the chickens won’t or can’t eat, paper items that break down quickly, leaves, weeds, animal manures etc.


By doing all of this, we’re left with a small amount of trash that is not recyclable.  Currently, we take what we can’t recycle or reuse to the landfill, which is about 45 minutes away.  We typically wait until we have a pickup load before heading to the landfill.    We hope to reduce our trash even further. It is a work in progress.

Do you recycle?


23 responses to “Living without Trash Service

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