Credit: Dave Hamilton, Corkxedo.com

So now that we’ve all had a peek into Davin’s trash can, I’d like to respond.

First of all, who serves liver pate at a house party? Second, I'm wondering how many of my suggestions for proper waste management you’ll actually put into practice.

Davin, you are a very creative person—obvious from your writing—why not extend that creativity to your trash bin?

1    The blue bin

What is blue and white and square all over? You guessed it! A recycling bin. I’m not a fan of “preaching,” but seriously—the first thing I learned in kindergarden was how to recycle.

So what in your waste bin can be recycled, Davin?

Safeway’s “Lucky Break” and price tags = mixed paper because they aren’t quite cardboard, nor are they newspaper. The cereal boxes and comic books are also mixed paper.

2    Fraud protection

For your personal safety, there are two things I really don’t think should be thrown in the trash: bank and visa receipts. There is lots of personal information on them, and in combination with other bills and receipts that you may throw away, the potential for identity theft is high.

I would suggest keeping all these receipts to “shed some light” on a proactive initiative against identity theft. All it takes is a little bit of paper mache paste and a lamp you’d like to spruce up to create your very own receipt lamp.

Receipt lamp, ecofriend.org

A use for old receipts: a paper mache

receipt lamp. Photo: EcoFriend.org


3    All creatures great and small

I’m afraid of spiders, but I respect the role they have to play and I know that they’re beneficial insects in the garden. Obviously, Davin, you’re not afraid of them—as evidenced by the spider carcass in your trash can—so you won’t have trouble spending an extra 30 seconds of quality time with Charlotte to avoid killing her.

Step 1. Get a cup.

Step 2. Get a piece of paper.

Step 3. Put the cup over the spider.

Step 4. Slide the piece of paper under the cup thereby “scooping” up the spider too.

Step 5. Walk outside.

Step 6. Place spider Charlotte down on a nice leaf.

I don’t know what you have against moths.

Beer belly dancing belt, All Things Crazy

Fashion your own "beer belly dancing belt"

out of old beer bottle caps and tabs.

Photo: All Things Crafty


4    Let me see your jelly roll

Davin, I know you’re a fan of Bikram’s yoga—whether it’s for the work out or just the sightseeing, I can’t say. However, I will suggest you try some belly dancing too! I think you’ll find that it is a lot of fun, and will make good use of all those bottle caps you’re throwing away. Start saving them now for the best belly dancing belt ever



5    Composting revisited

Onion peels. We’ve talked about worms before, right, Davin?

6    Food waste

Pasta leftovers and half a pepperoni stick? Seriously, digging through your garbage for that stuff is gross.

Instead of pitching these in the first place, it’s easy enough to scrape what’s left on your plate into a reusable container instead so you can have it for lunch tomorrow. Salad gets a little bit soggy, but pasta keeps fairly well. And you could even cut up that pepperoni stick and add it to the pasta—yum… I think (I don’t eat pepperoni). 

Getting creative with leftovers cuts down on cooking and eating out, and reduces the amount of food waste being diverted to our already crowded (and gaseous) landfills.

7    A new way to use old Bic pens


Recycled Bic pen vase, Designboom.com

What about a Bic pen-blown vase?

Photo: DesignBoom.com

Need any new cutlery? If you’re looking to add to your collection, I’d pick up Din-Ink lids. Of course, they’re 100 percent biodegradable, non-toxic, GM-free and hygienic. Now, you can keep all your pens instead of tossing them in the trash!

Or, you could try your hand at plastic “blowing”—much like the fine art of glass blowing—to create a unique vase.

8    The second “R” – reuse

Through the grape vine, I’ve heard you can refill your old Bic lighters. I’ve never done it myself, but here’s a how-to guide. Make sure you tell us how it goes!

'Potato chip bag' bag, Curbly

Save those potato chip bags and make

yourself a purse. Photo:



9    Arts and crafts

I actually used to save potato chip bags for doing arts and crafts. Ohhh, those were the days! I stopped eating chips before I ever had enough to make my own handbag. But maybe you could carry the torch on this one, Davin.

10    Foreign coinage

Do you have any little cousins? Kids love money—even if they can’t spend it. I’m sure giving that Swiss coin away for a little munchkin’s piggy bank would have made their day!

11    Cork suit, cork chair, cork everything

Wine corks! You couldn’t ask for a medium more fun to get crafty with! You can make pin cushins, corkboards, chess sets, even a suit. Have a few more house parties and you’ll be able to make a chair!

12    Head scratcher

There are still the Subway wrapper and the plastic wrap from the liver pate to deal with. To be honest, I'm kind of stumped on these ones. Depending on how messy your sandwich was, you could use the Subway wrapper as a festive wrapping paper. The biggest issue with food wrapping of this sort is “contamination”; papers and containers that are soiled with food cannot be recycled unless they’re cleaned out. And last I checked, Subway didn’t offer any DIY wash bins or drying lines for their wrappers.

Plastic wrap. Sigh. Not recyclable and not easily reusable. So much of the pre-made and processed foods in the grocery store are packaged using plastic wrap and various other forms of non-recyclable plastic. This is another reason to avoid these foods and to make an effort to cook meals from scratch.

There are mobile community recycling depots that sometimes take plastic film, but it depends on the market, so check before you go.

13    Joke or not


New Blog!

Lifting the lid

Emily's Green vs. Reality counterpart Davin Luke lifts the lid on his garbage can. See what's inside, and offer your own advice for reducing, reusing and recycling the contents.

As for the microwave, instead of tossing your old one, see about getting one more (through Craigslist or perhaps a friend has one you could use). Then grab some 10-gauge wire and some wire nuts from the hardware store. Now you have all the ingredients to make an Arc Welder. Note: You could die or go blind from the high-voltage electricity of this DIY project.

Another alternative: Check out this complete list of electronics recycling depots

(Oh, and remove the four stacks of unused paper, and place them on your computer desk.)

Final results

That leaves you with exactly… one thing in your trash bin: liver pate plastic wrap (perhaps a testimony to avoid serving that at your next house party).

Although I don’t expect you to actually do all this stuff, it is a good exercise to see what else our garbage can be made into and to show that garbage isn't always necessarily "garbage."

And as for Fred the chicken, please take him with you to the David Suzuki seminar; he’s a big fan, and it would mean a lot to him.