Match Your Trash Service Bags to the 21st Century

Posted by Vivian McNeil on

Unlike, Oscar the Grouch, I hate trash!!  

Thirty-five years ago, as we were designing our new kitchen (which we still have today), my husband had a request. Could we please have a trash compactor? This was one of the newest kitchen appliances on the market at the time to complete a modern new kitchen. We checked out a friend’s compactor and opined them about the advantage of having this new gadget in our home. The compactor was approximately eighteen inches wide and as high as the bottom cabinets. It had two openings, one on the top for smaller items and a big draw on the bottom to place the regular larger items in. You would then, close the compactor draw securely and turn a key to switch it on. A flat compacting device then pressed down your garbage automatically so that when you opened the draw, voila, you had so much room for your next day’s garbage. 

At that time, (the 1980’s), each compactor bag cost approximately one dollar. I considered this quite a steep price at the time and mentioned my hesitation to my husband. “Think of all the money we'll save on garbage bags, we will only have to change the compactor bag about once a week, “my husband answered confidently. Warning bells went on in my mind. Taking out the garbage only once a week? As I indicated earlier, I hate garbage, especially in my house. What should I do? Rain on my husband’s parade? Just go along with a charade since I knew I would eventually add a garbage can to my kitchen repertoire. The excitement for bringing a modern garbage compactor into our home simply clouded the justification for spending one dollar on a garbage bag. On an average, 13-gal tall kitchen drawstring trash bags, range between 16 and 20 cents a bag. If we kept it to one compactor bag a week, then it would be economical. Two or more bags might just prove our eco-friendly trash compactor not to be so economical after all.  

We used the compactor for a while with infrequent trips to the outside garbage bin. My husband dutifully took out the compactor bag about once a week. I was cringing throughout this time. All my leftovers (including chicken and meat bones - sorry we didn’t have a dog) were hanging around my brand-new kitchen for days.

Why do we have so much garbage? 

Are we such an extremely throwaway society? We will always have garbage; it was included in the package deal of our planet back to the days of the flood. As a matter of fact the bottom floor on Noah’s ark was just for trash. In the United States, garbage consumerism gets only larger every day. 

Let's go back in history to less than one hundred years ago. There was much less of a need for garbage barges, dumps and recycling arenas. Most of unneeded household waste was useful and used. For many years consumers burned their garbage or fed it to the animals. In general, trash accumulation was under control or at least kept to a minimum. Today there is a specific garbage bag size per each container. 

In (the) olden days there was substantially less garbage, if not any at all. When Mom made a vegetable soup, after peeling off the skins of her potatoes and carrots, she carefully put them in a pail. The stems of the carrots were put in the pail as well. The apple cores from Mom’s homemade applesauce or pies, as well as the peels were carefully placed in pails as well. Some very happy cows on the farm next door had terrific treats instead of their usual fare of dry hay.

Hey, hay is fine but could not compare to the tasty juicy tidbits of stems and skins. Guess who was the lucky recipient of the left-over bones from the roast chicken? It was the delighted neighbor’s dog. 

The farmer had less need to buy fertilizer, both the unneeded garbage and human waste were what they utilized. Newspapers were not placed in recycled bundles. They were cut up into toilet paper. Yes, a bit rough, but if you were lucky enough to be living in a more sophisticated neighborhoods your toilet paper was softer. It was the outer paper removed from the individual pears, apples or other fruit acquired by the case. 

recycling vegetable peels for animal feed

My father, to this day will not purchase a garbage bag. He has a small plastic garbage can under his sink and uses only supermarket plastic shopping bags (not sure what he is going to do with the plastic bag ban in New York). So, there are still real people who try, even today to be conservationists. 

Most of us would not wish to go back to those hard times we just recounted. However, we must become more educated in the best and most efficient way to dispose of our garbage. Be it, industry, business, or personal waste, there is garbage bag system that can work for you. Try and calculate the true trash bag sizes of for your container and don’t waste unused space. 

Watch an efficient school janitor in action. Each individual varying size garbage container in the school has its own individual type of bag. There are draw-string bags when deployed correctly, can be implemented and removed with the most efficiency in the least amount of time.  

When the janitor is using the wrong type of bag here is a scenario that will take place.  

If the bag is too thin and the garbage too heavy, the bag will break upon removal. Although cheaper bags may seem initially cost saving, it will cause your janitor to spend extra time putting in and removing garbage bags, when he could be sweeping and mopping the floors instead. A task so simple as installing a garbage bag is often done incorrectly. Do you think a drawstring bag is more expensive? There is more than one reason to use a drawstring bag. You may believe the only reason is that when the bag is removed from the can you can tie it or maybe a contrasting color drawstring will keep the bag upright. Another advantage is when placing the bag in the garbage can the drawstring bag can be used to keep the bag in place rather than tying a knot on one side of the can. The person who is removing the garbage bag without a drawstring cord, will have to unknot that awkward knot that someone may have tied too tight in the effort to keep the bag in place. 

In larger institutions like hospitals and schools, every minute counts for the cleaning service personnel to get their jobs completed in a timely fashion. No one wants to come into a room in the morning, be it in a high school a nursing home, or any other large-scale institution and have the leftover garbage present from the day before.  

Another great idea of recycling and waste management in the modern era that is both speedy and timesaving, is a small device called a trash bag cinch that holds the trash bag in place and stops sloppy cave ins of overloaded garbage bags. Your visitors and clients will be impressed with this new age clean look.  

Trash Trauma In The Classroom

In the 1950’s I was actually traumatized as a third grader for the lack of a cover on the classroom trash can. Most of the parents of my fellow students, were either Holocaust survivors from Europe or Americans who grew up struggling to support their families. During those times it was not accepted to throw away food. What about a child who had an aversion to lukewarm or not so fresh milk and wanted to dispose of it? 

Milk was the most important part of a child's diet in those days. When I took the first sip from the straw that fateful afternoon, I found that the milk was not to my liking and inched quietly to the trash can to secretly place my still full milk carton into the garbage can. Another well-meaning child noticed the full milk carton in the trash as she placed her empty carton inside. She immediately brought the open carton, straw and all, to the teacher’s attention. 

Today it is almost impossible to imagine how upset this teacher became upon witnessing this opened carton of milk. “Who put this milk container into the garbage without drinking it up?” asked the teacher in her sternest voice. When nobody volunteered to be the guilty one, she added a serious threat. “No one is going to recess until the child who put this milk in the garbage comes forward”. 

After a substantial amount of time passed, with the entire class waiting, I knew I had to raise my hand, or my class would have no recess that day. That was the most humiliating day of my life.

If that trash can would have a had lid on this whole disaster could have been avoided. Yes, a garbage can lid can be frustrating. But, today, thank goodness, with modern waste disposal this does not need to be an issue with an array of different cans and lids available. You will find a varied assortment of garbage bags that will keep the lid on your trash can properly.

With G-D given abundance of both food and nonfood, it is imperative for the community to avail themselves of the latest trash accessories and keep up to date with other modern waste management practices. No, we do not have to hate trash, look at your local trash man. He usually wears a happy face, and so can you.

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