What do you do with garbage?

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I hear a lot of talk about human waste disposal, but what about garbage? If we are to assume that maybe you cant go outside for safety reasons, what do you do? I would like to hear some ideas. Also, where to you buy a composting toilet?

-- madeline (runner@bcpl.net), September 25, 1998


I'd be interested too, especially since we live in a suburban setting.

My only thought so far is that if garbage collection is interrupted, we will definitely be separating things better than we do now. Anything which doesn't rot will be disposed of separate from food scraps, and such. We already recycle glass, aluminum, "tin" cans certain types of plastics, paper, etc. We live about 5 miles from the landfill, so if the trash man doesn't come to me, I will have to go to the trash man. One good thing, our garbage output will really decrease if TSHTF.

Man, I hope the sewers keep working...

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), September 25, 1998.

Lehman Bros offers lots of composting toilet set-ups. As for food garbage, have you done any composting or thought of vermicomposting - worms for composting? My husband thought I had TRULY flipped when I first mentioned a "Can-O-Worms" but there is a book called "Worms Eat My Garbage". You can get to it at http://www.cityfarmer.org plus a lot of info on it. Other stuff - we used to burn out in the country and in town now, we are allowed to have burning in an open space (they're thinking leaves). Rules will likely be relaxed or ignored if TSHTF. We have really had to start thinking re-useable a lot more here. Oh, wait, my husband told me that when he was young and lived in a house with a coal furnace, they couldn't afford coal at one point and burned garbage. Not the safest thing, I presume, but just passing along the memory.

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), September 25, 1998.

down the block from my house is a walking path. there used to be a railroadtrack there, and they took it out to make a walking path, which is beautiful, and goes for at least 8 miles, and I walk down it when I can. now, when I walk that path, I think to myself, this is were everyone will throw their trash when they discover noone is going to come pick it up.

-- ed (edrider007@aol.com), September 25, 1998.

Get yourself a burn barrel (50-gal steel drum). You can burn human waste when you burn other garbage. Or dig a hole in your backyard and bury the waste. I purchased a portable toilet, one that invalids use. I take it camping. I use a plastic bag to line the bucket and then burn the waste. Composting is a good way to get rid of waste that decomposes quickly. I have a turn barrel for that, it works great! If none of these things are an option, how about using an old barbecue to burn your waste?

-- Bardou (bardou@baloney.com), September 25, 1998.

Our garbage right now consists primarily of things that we can neither recycle nor burn, which includes composting all food waste. There is a product that will decompose dog waste - some enzymatic compound - that might well do the same thing for human waste. I've also read [I think in TMEN] that some business decided not to flush the toilet paper it used in the bathroom, but rather to compost/worm bin it, and it had no odor. Human urine is reputed to be good for a compost pile because of the ammonia content.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), September 25, 1998.

Lot of good answers, guys & gals. Hope this is another one --

Where human waste is concerned: when we go deep woods camping long-term, we have a five-gallon bucket with a biodegradable trash can liner as a toilet. Fairly far from camp, of course. When it fills up, tie it up, bury it. No biggie.

Now if it gets tough to go outside because of marauders getting too close, I plan on making it tough on marauders getting too close to me. I'm not above making that movement with a Mossberg 500 pump 12-gauge across my lap. You do what you have to do.

As far as regular garbage? No real worry. Just bag it up, stack it up out of the way until things level out. I mean, think about the garbage strike in the Big Apple a few years back. That had to be worse than any garbage scenario most people would encounter in six months of normal garbage accumulation. Yet NYC made it through.

-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (pcdir@prodigy.net), September 25, 1998.

The only problem I see with stacking garbage is it will attract pests that you will now have to contend with. Also, if someone sees that you have a stack of garbage, they will know that you have food inside your home that they will want to partake of. Better off getting your waste out of sight and out of mind. Save large cans to collect rain water. You can accumulate enough to at least flush the toilet thus saving you the hassle of burning and burying your waste. Don't flush toilet paper down the toilet, it will clog your toilet and then you'll really be in trouble. Toilet paper is bad for septic systems too. Always burn what you can't bury. We learned the hard way during our water crisis here in California a few years back.

-- Bardou (bardou@baloney.com), September 26, 1998.

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