Trash Bags Story: The Irony of Paying for Trash

I’m not sure how it goes at your house, but at my house we make a lot of trash, and it’s mostly a mystery to me how this happens.  I get the junk mail and toss it in the trash on my way in the house, and most of the other trash just happens around me.  I guess we get trash from food boxes, bags, cans and other things, but since I don’t cook much of anything I never see this happening.  I guess the kids throw things away or waste food or something, but again I don’t see this happening.  So, when my outside trash can is full on Tuesday and trash day is Thursday, I find myself telling my wife, “We make too much trash.”  It’s still a mystery to me how though.

trash bags
Proof I took the picture.  Big Boy here!!

So, for the first time, in many years, I was a big boy, and I noticed, as I yelled at my 10 year old about 40 times to take out the trash, that we where out of trash bags.  So, I made a note of it, and after work I went to Costco to get some new trash bags for the house without being told to do so.  I even took a picture of the empty box to make sure I got the ones my wife always bought.  As I walked to the back corner of the store I found them and noticed they were $17.99 for 93 bags in the box!!  I thought trash bags where like $5 a box!!  (I’m really out of touch with prices of certain things.)  So, I shopped the other bags around me and they where all ridiculously priced in my $5 world of trash bags.  I called  my wife to converse on the price of trash bags and she said, “That’s what they cost.”  Then ended the call with a chuckle towards me.  I walked the walk of shame from the back corner, to the front, to purchase the box of trash bags, then I drowned my sorrows with a $1 warm churro, and drove home pondering our trash situation.  I was taking out stinky bags that where half full, and I should have filled those bad boys up to get my money’s worth.  I went through a range of emotions from anger, to fear, to loneliness, to anger again, to sorrow and pity at the same time, and then finally to acceptance.

But, I couldn’t get over that I already paid $26 a month for trash service once a week, and

Trash can
About $0.19 worth of bag!!

now $17.99 for trash bags too.  How cheap am I, that I started to break down the monthly cost of trash for my family of five ($2.32 a month for bags at 3 bags a week on average, plus $26 for pick up, for $28.32 total).  I also couldn’t get over the irony of paying for the pleasure of throwing stuff away.  Everything that I bring home in the form of a wrapper is costing me money ($339.84 plus Christmas and holiday trash, probably makes it $350 a year!!).  I am paying for every box at the store when I purchase it, and then again in the trash.  Every piece of plastic used to wrap a toy is paid for in the price of the toy, and again in the form of trash.  Trash is the financial gift that keeps costing me.

“Most people probably don’t realize this”, I thought to myself.  So, I asked a few people I know about this idea and my hunch was correct.  No one realizes that trash is, us paying for an item twice, and worst of all it isn’t even necessary.  Not to mention bad for the environment and polluting our natural resources with plastics in the oceans and stuff.

So, this year I am going to make an effort not to be an environmentalist, but a better cheapskate.  I will shop for items with less wrappings/ trash involved, and maybe I can move slowly over time into one of those zero waste households.  I bet they don’t buy trash bags at Costco for $17.99 or have trash service for $26 a month.  I bet they also invest their extra $350 a year in a great mutual fund and make 18%!!  But for right now maybe I can get my 3 bags of trash down to 2 bags for $0.19 in savings a week, or $0.76 a month, or $9.12 a year.  Oh crap that’s cheap!!!

So what do you think on this great trash debate…..comment below!

Now to find a way to get this without plastic trash wrapping!!



One Comment

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  1. In my town in Massachusetts, we pay per bag brought to the dump, with bags we have to buy through the town. It’s a great way to make people aware of how much they throw away, even if I hate the expense, hassle and bureaucracy of it.
    We also have paper/plastic/styrofoam recycling, so Christmas wrapping paper and Amazon boxes are ‘thrown away’ (put in the recycling dumpster) for free. And obviously they require no trash bags at home, just a reusable bin.
    A way to cut down on catalogs: I used this free site religiously for any catalog that arrived, and my weekly overflowing recycling bin went down to 1/4 full within a few months.


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