Family makes one bag, one year trash pledge

A Breslau family of four has pledged to reduce their trash output to a single 75 litre garbage bag over the course of a year.

Family of four to limit trash output to one 75L garbage bag over 365 days

Stacey Vandermeer, her husband and her two sons have vowed to cut their garbage output to one 75 litre bag for one year. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

A Breslau family of four has pledged to reduce their trash output to a single 75 litre garbage bag over the course of one year.

"We made this decision in about the middle of June," said Stacey VanderMeer, a self-described stay at home mom of two children: six and eight.

VanderMeer said her husband Matt came up with the idea after hearing Waterloo Region's Erb Street landfill site would be full in about 20 years.

"For the first two weeks we were doing waste audits and coming up with ideas on how we could do garbage reduction and ways to use reusable products and that sort of thing," she said.

The official start date for the family's self-imposed one bag, one year, challenge came on July 1st.

One week of garbage: one deli bag

During the first week, the family managed to fit seven days worth of garbage into a single grocery store deli meat bag, which is about 1.5 litres.

During the first week of their 'one family, one bag, one year' challenge, the four-member Vandermeer family of Breslau managed to limit their garbage output to one 1.5 litre deli bag of waste. (Contributed by: Stacey Vandermeer)

"One of the biggest challenges was milk," VanderMeer said. "In this region, the milk bags are not recyclable. That was a big surprise."

VanderMeer said her family considered using milk cartons, which are recyclable, until they learned milk in cartons costs twice as much as bagged milk. So, they had to come up with a creative solution.

"Matt's family is out of town and they take milk bags and stuff in their recycling, so we'll gather those all up for however long until we go down and we'll put those in their recycling."

VanderMeer said the challenge isn't without a few surprises.

"I had ordered a platter and it came broken and the company said, 'oh it's fine, we'll replace it, just dispose of it' and I was like, 'what do you mean dispose of it? I can't dispose of it.'"

VanderMeer said her family has learned to create garbage-free alternatives, such as making their own bags for produce for use at the grocery store.

"I hope at the end of the day we are not only being better to the earth, but we can be better to ourselves," she said.