Sunday, September 16, 2007

Riot for austerity

So, the Riot for Austerity challenge is to use one tenth of what the average American uses. A pretty extreme challenge, but they're not dogmatic about it as they say:
"the goal is to reach a 90% reduction (or the best each of us can do) *AND KEEP IT THERE* after 1 year."

I don't think we'll ever get to the goal they've set, but we're doing better than 'average' in some respects. They say that the average American household uses 900 kwh of electricity per month. So far this calendar year, we've averaged about 750 kwh per month, even though we've had the central AC on for the last three months. The next couple of months are usually fairly low ones for our electric bills, so that should bring the average down. We've already replaced almost all the lightbulbs with CF ones. My next move to reduce our electricity use will be to buy another indoor drying rack and get a washing line set up to dry laundry outdoors.

Apparently "the average American generates about 4.5 lbs of garbage PER PERSON, PER DAY." I weighed our trash before going to the dump this weekend. I don't usually weigh the trash bag, but I could tell as I lifted the bag that it was a lighter than average trash week. We had 2.5 pounds of trash TOTAL for the four of us for the week. We also had 7.5 pounds of paper recycling, and about 9.5 pounds of plastic and glass recycling. (I forgot to subtract the weight of the container for the glass and plastic so it was probably a little less than 9.5 pounds.) There was some other glass and plastic that was not included because they were returnable bottles with deposits on them. Any food waste that we could put in the compost bin we did, and I didn't weigh that. I'm not sure if it counts as trash anyway, but I suspect the other recycling does because many communities still don't offer recycling opportunities. So I took less than 20 pounds of stuff to the dump/recycling center - about 16% of the 126 pounds of trash the 'average' family of four creates.

There are many areas of our lives that we could make less wasteful, but it looks as though we're off to an OK start.


Anonymous said...

Hoe good of you to weigh all that to check.
We recycle glass, paper, cans etc but still manage to produce an awful lot of 'ordinary' rubbish. I don't intend to weigh it but if we manage to reduce our normal five bags to four or even three then I feel a bit better.

Mister Teacher said...

Hey, thanks for the comment on YouTube! I've got you down for one entry in my T-shirt drawing. Just wanted to let you know you could get 3 more if you comment on the other 3 vids.
Thanks either way!!

Pat said...

I'm a goody because being amtedeluvian I don't use a dryer and have had a clothes line all my life. The clothes smell so good.
Ooh I can see a friend over there. Thanks for the visit.

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