Nothing like playing around in the trash.

After a couple of days obsessing over what does and doesn’t go in the bin, I feel like we’ve cut down a lot on general garbage and increased our recycling output. In theory this sounds great. However, the crap I found in the recycling was more “wish-cycling” or just tossing it in and hoping it can be recycled.

Participation Trophy

But first, the items that made it into the general trash. The log I made was okay, but I am the only person who uses it, as you can tell from the consistency of chicken scratch adorning the blocks.

In Charlie’s defense, there are quite a bit of nuances involved in throwing things away. I’ve done so much research on garbage, it’s difficult to covey all the information to my husband and kids. What I will say, is the kids have a far better grasp on things than Charlie, who is quite ambivalent for lack of better terms.

My Trash Tracker

My dirty experiment was fun. I got to make some TikToks about garbage. My tracker really made me think about the different avenues of waste management and prompted me to think of alternatives.

The List

  • Styrofoam meat tray; not compostable; not recyclable; unfortunately this does belong in the landfill (BOOOOO!) There are no waste free alternatives to purchasing meat aside from not eating meat. This is not something we, as a household, need or want to change. What we can do is request the meat from the counter and ask them not to use Styrofoam. The plastic they do use can be put in the EcoBricks. The wax lined paper, I might have to look into further.
  • Banana Peel; yes it’s compostable; not recyclable ; does not belong I the landfill. Instead of putting this in the trash, we can soak the peel in water for a couple of days and use that water for our plants. I just need to remind the baby to leave the peel on the counter instead of putting it in the trash. Banana water is so easy and then I can compost the peel when I’m done.
  • Paper Towels; yes they are compostable if they are not soaked with milk, grease or blood from meat; they are technically recyclable, but not if they are wet; this belongs in the landfill if it has those animal by products on them;
  • Yogurt lid; not compostable; it’s actually recyclable, if my little turkey burger cleaned it off first; does not belong in the landfill; While I am happy my kids make healthy food choices, I think we can do better about single serving food items. She would still eat yogurt if it came in a tub, though she might need more help.
  • Fudgepop box; we can recycle a dry box and use the popsicle wrappers in the EcoBricks. While these are just an one-off purchase, I am confident I could find a copycat recipe and make these at home, but do I want to… no.
  • Salad bowl. Man oh man, this is Charlie’s handiwork. Lettuce still in the bowl, all of it thrown away. Our waste management will recycle #1 and #5 plastics. There are components of this that are not recyclable, but he’s just not even trying. I pick my battles wisely (unlike him).


“Who cares about the trash when there’s no food at the grocery store to make trash from?”

To which I responded how we can’t just burn everything, we still have to be responsible to the shitty world we live in. Then I went and took a nap. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle the recycling bin list. No promises. This is truly an uphill battle.

Until later.

Beth Pedersen

Want to influence the story? Tell me about your best end-of-days minded trash tips or resources? What are your favorite plastic-alternative products? Have products you’d like mentioned in Beth’s journal? Send me samples—or hate mail to PO Box 336 Mars, Pa 16046.

This is a fictional character in a fictional world navigating the collapse of society. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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