Talking trash with the Clean Bin Project

If the recycling bin is in reach, you're more likely to use it.

If the recycling bin is in reach, you’re more likely to use it.

I spent yesterday morning with the people behind The Clean Bin Project, Jen and Grant. As I showed in my CBC story (video link) last night, they haven’t taken out the garbage in seven (!) months. They’re buying almost nothing, except food, and even with edibles they’re following strict rules to reduce packaging and waste.

If you’re interested in reducing waste — and, like me, bored with stories about green living that encourage buying stuff — it’s worth checking out what they’re up to.

Sure, they’re on the far end from most people in the enviro-commitment spectrum. Taking the garnish home from the restaurant to put in the compost is, even in Grant’s words, “a bit silly.”

But other things they’re doing could suit the semi-committed:

  • Make it harder to throw stuff away. The garbage bins they used to have around the house (bathroom, office) are gone.
  • Make recycling easy. They have 10 bins, so everything has a place, and they’re all within reach.
  • Don’t wait until you finish a food item to figure out whether its packaging is recyclable. Check it in the store.

We’ve been doing a bit of this at home, on the recycling front. I realized last summer that I was throwing out toilet paper rolls just because the garbage was easy to reach. So, I put a paper recycling bin in the bathroom, and now it fills up faster than the garbage.

Do you have any tips to reduce waste that you’ve used in your own home?


  1. This is the subject that needs to be front page news! All of our landfills are filling up faster now than ever. Its time to reverse this trend. Imagine, landfills shrinking… Ok that’s more advanced. The first step is to get more people doing more things like Jen and Grant. Stop buying packaging, there’s no waste to worry about. Figuring out ways and means to get the masses to follow is challenging. Make it popular with advertising with celebrity personalities is too expensive. Somehow, there’s always possibilities. Get people talking about packaging in particular is a point to ponder.

  2. Jenn and Grant are amazing and so is their documentary film. Our aim is also to get people to figure out how to cut down the trash that passes through their hands every day. We’ve set up some resources at, if you think followers of your Blog would be interested, please share this with them.

    Hopefully you’ll like what we did around Christmas this year as well (

  3. Thanks for the comment! I’ve noticed the campaign from Metro this year – you guys are always big on waste reduction but this is definitely a step up in terms of trying to motivate people and suggest alternatives. I’m a huge fan of giving experiences over stuff when possible, though I do love real paper mail more than e-cards.

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