Talking Trash – 8 Trash Hauling Alternatives for When Regular Garbage Pickup Isn’t Enough

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trash hauling

There you are – Christmas afternoon. You step precariously over the river of candy wrappers, moving through the pass between Mount Cardboard Box and Wrapping Paper Hill. So close to the coffee pot you can almost taste that 10th cup. Still salivating, calamity strikes – an errant plastic brick. Your tender foot gives way and you yelp in pain while crashing down into Styrofoam Insert Glacier, a mercifully gentle landing. Sitting up, the living room you once remembered has been converted into a temporary holding facility. A chamber designated to mitigate the bolus of trash from the most wonderful time of the year. It starts out with trying to find a place to “store” that 3rd gifted fruit cake, but the next thing you know your visiting family thinks it might be time for an intervention. How did the producers of “Hoarders” find your number so fast? Good thing for you, the intrepid team members at are here to save the day. The top minds in the world of garbage bring you these 8 trash hauling alternatives for when regular trash pickup just isn’t enough.

1 – Double Check for Recyclable Items

We’re all prone to mistakes. No one wants to open that bloated and curdled gallon of milk, but it is quite bulky. The space can add up as it is separated from the normal trash. United States EPA has a great list of what can and cannot be recycled – however when in doubt, contact your local waste disposal company. Here is a good example of some larger items that feel like they could be recyclable – however many people often put these into the trash: Broken tote boxes, lawn chairs, buckets, planters, and laundry baskets – all are frequently recyclable and will save you precious trash real estate.

2 – Start a Compost Pile

The FDA and EPA report that an estimated 22% of landfill is discarded food waste. If you removed 1/5 of your garbage pile now, would you have the space you need? The EPA has a good overview of composting, but this requires some space outdoors. Our urban cowboys may be thinking “I don’t have a yard” but there’s also a handy introduction to indoor solutions too.

self irrigating planter
And some people buy these buckets without anything in them!

3 – Reuse Some of Your Trash

This is my personal favorite of all the trash hauling alternatives. This technique requires some creativity. If you can figure out how to hide that hangover on Christmas morning, then you can figure out how to reuse some of your trash! We’ll be publishing instructions on how to make a Self-Irrigating Planter out of a kitty litter pail and a 2-liter bottle shortly. That’s one example of repurposing “trash” for a new, higher use.

For advanced users, you can even take other people’s trash and turn it into something useful. The chest freezer seen below was found DOA on the side of the road. After a little research and a $24 part it fired right up and is an important mainstay for life in our North Carolina home. Reusing glass food jars for leftovers and plastic food containers for finally sorting out that mixture of random nuts and bolts…

The freezer isn’t pretty, but it works and isn’t in a landfill

…just kidding, nobody will ever do that. The possibilities are endless here. Here is a good guide on what plastic numbers mean and can serve as a starting point as to whether or not your container is food safe. At worst, when you sell that noisy kids’ toy to the highest bidder online, you can ship it in a reused cardboard box and padded with discarded papers and plastic – no need to buy any additional packaging materials.

4 – Curb Alert!

Your trash may be another’s treasure. If you intend to throw out some worn but usable items, consider donating them to a charitable organization instead. If you’re short on time or motivation, post your items out front with big ol’ FREE sign. Want them to disappear even faster? Post them on your favorite local online marketplace like Craigslist or Offer Up for $0 and label it “CURB ALERT”.

5 – Get an Auxiliary Trashcan

Purchase a separate and second can from your local hardware store

Some weeks there’s a lot of trash. Some weeks there is very little. Using an extra or auxiliary trash can will allow you to maintain some semblance of sanitation while you wait that extra week. Just be sure to keep it clean!

6 – Call for an Extra Pickup

Municipalities and waste companies alike would prefer you call them if your normal pickup will be larger than expected. There may be a surcharge or fee, but it beats running out to your cans at 2am with a broom to shoo away the raccoons.

7 – Ask Your Neighbors to Use Some of Their Space

Not all communities are created equal, but there’s bound to be at least one sucker good Samaritan that will take pity on you and share their unused space. Just remember that if the arrangement is inconvenient for them, you might want to consider dropping a plate of cookies or a 6-pack of beer for their troubles.

Look around the neighborhood. Hint – if the lid is fully closed they might have room!

8 – Take it to the dump yourself.

Line the back of your vehicle with a tarp and load up the excess waste. Call ahead or research the hours open to the public before you do though – dumps and landfills usually have limited availability to the public. You will also need to pay a fee. Still better than pretending your current backyard is the landfill, and your family will thank you for it.

Trash Hauling Alternatives – What Not To Do

Here are some of the photos of the surprise DIY landfill attempts from the previous owners of our home. It is generally considered a poor use of judgment to dump the waste in a corner of the property and let vegetation cover it up.

rubble in a yard
Rubble in the yard – looks like tile scraps and burned carpet mat

Additionally, as tempting as it may be, avoid filling your neighbor’s trashcan without their permission. Even if they deserve it. Proper disposal of all materials is important to prevent pollutants from reaching unintended food chains.

disposed concrete
Crouching asphalt, hidden concrete.

Hopefully, this list got that hamster running the wheel in your brain as you brainstorm trash hauling alternatives. While not comprehensive, with a bit of know-how, creativity, and further reading on, you too can conquer your trash problems and maybe even get something useful done at the same time. Leave a comment below if you have any other ideas that could be added to the list!

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