Life without a trash can

Since we started “eco bricking” my partner and I have been able to completely get rid of our trash can. It has been exciting not having anything going to the dump and creating building materials instead. As I write this she is stuffing bottles we found on the roadside last night with some un-recycleable materials we’ve accumulated; styrofoam, clifbar wrappers, some shirt scraps and water filters that in the past would have ended up in the landfill. This process has also given us a chance to examine “waste” more closely and see the different materials that make it up. For example, upon closer examination the water filter that we replaced in Carrie’s Earthship the other day is made up of a plastic tube that can be recycled, a compostable paper liner and just a few pieces of un-recycleable plastic that will end up in a Eco brick.

Here’s Carrie sifting through our “PUM bucket” removing recyclable materials from this water filter.

Getting a bit more intimate and spending some time thinking about these materials may not be for everyone but it sure has given us a new perspective on things.


The eco brick is a great example of potentially useful material and one creative solution to waste. We try to be mindful about not buying too many packaged goods but are nowhere near perfect and still have a long way to go on our zero waste journey. For us it starts with trying to consume less, then compost, up-cycle what we can, recycle,  and finally building eco bricks with anything left over. Consuming less packaged goods can sometimes be difficult, the things I purchase most are tortilla chips, energy bars and tortillas. All of these things can be homemade less expensively and and usually end up tastier too! (I will admit that I often give in to the convenience of packaged goods but there is something satisfying to making it myself.) You can check out my recipe for spinach tortillas here.

Looking at waste as Potentially Useful Material has been a lot of fun for us, it seems there are endless solutions and ideas to the things we once thought of as trash. What are some creative things you have done to create less waste?


5 thoughts on “Life without a trash can

  1. Not sure I’ve done anything particularly creative to cut down on waste. However, I do try to make single-use plastic into double-use at least. E.g. if I have a bag of beans, I will then use the bag for sandwiches or in the freezer.

    I recently found a supplier of coffee beans who only use paper to ship them, which is news to my ears after three years of looking for such 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a company called The Roasting House. They’re here in Britain so not much good for you unless you wanted to pay a lot in postage…. However, I hope their model will catch on.

        On that note, having been introduced to the company by another blogger, I now need to write a post myself to spread the word.


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