green match ended yesterday, trash match ended today, 0-0 for both…should I go into playoffs? See also game stats and conclusions

game stats and conclusions

OK, so even though they say that there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics, I’ll do some number crunching on the scores from my friendly competition with Mr. Racoon.  Please see my previous post, game on, for an explanation of this competition.

The green bin was out with waste in it for a total of 21 nights.  Of those nights, the racoon successfully opened the green bin on 2 of those nights.  It knocked over the bin, but didn’t get at the waste on 4 additional nights.  The racoon visited a total of 6 nights.  The nights that the racoon was successful, I had forgotten to secure the green bin lid with bungee cords;  on each night that I was successful, I had remembered the bungee cords.

It’s interesting to note that the garbage can (which I store right next to the green bin) had trash in it on 4 of the 6 days the racoon visited, but the racoon only attempted to get at the contents of the garbage can on one of those 4 days.  That was the racoon’s only attempt at getting at the trash in the garbage can (compared to 6 attempts in total for the green bin).  Also, the garbage can had trash in it for a total of 24 nights (3 nights more than the green bin), and the garbage was there longer…a record of 12 days without the racoon showing interest in it.

In conclusion, if I divert organic waste to the green bin, the racoon likewise diverts its attention from the regular garbage can.

Do you use the green bin?  Have you noticed a similar drop-off in any pest’s interest in the non-recyclable trash?

 

* * *

the raw data:

Green Game

  • Match 1:  Start Apr. 15, 2012  ran 3 nights, score:  0-0    
  • Match 2: Start Apr. 20, 2012  ran 6 nights, score:  Racoon 1, Me 0 
  • Match 3: Start Apr. 27, 2012   ran 6 nights, score:  Racoon 1, Me 2 (Mr. Racoon attempted to get in the bin twice in one day, but I’m only counting that as one of my points)     
  • Match 4: Start May 7, 2012    ran 2 nights, score:  Racoon 0, Me 2
  • Match 5: Start May 12, 2012  ran 4 nights, score:  Racoon 0, Me 0                              

Trash Game

  • Match 1:   Start Apr. 15, 2012  ran 3 nights, score: 0-0
  • Match 2:   Start Apr. 20, 2012  ran 13 nights, score: Racoon 1, Me 0 (Mr. Racoon didn’t score a point until the last day)
  • Match 3:   Start May 9, 2012    ran 8 nights, score: 0-0

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Blue Box

Last fall, my son and I went to some sort of City run information fair about waste management and conservation.  My son got a real kick out of flushing bright rubber tubes down a low flow toilet they had on display. Flushing over and over and over.  I got little more out of the recycling displays.

I learned that the City now accepts a wider range of plastics and even empty aerosol cans into the blue boxes.  That’s how I started recycling more last fall.  But I started recycling a long time ago.

Aluminium soft drink cans were one of the first things we started to recycle at school.  Drink containers are the best things to recycle—not too messy and the material tends to be in demand.       

When Cornwall (where I was living at the time) launched its municipal blue box program, my family started to put a variety of food containers in the blue box.  I don’t think we even rinsed them or took the labels off, but it was a start.

In the late 1990s, I went away to school in Guelph, Ontario.  Here, instead of a blue box, we put all the “dry”, non-compostable waste in clear blue plastic bags.  This was part ofGuelph’s experiment in a Wet/Dry garbage system, wherein all household waste went into one of those two waste streams.  By then, I was rinsing out tin cans before chucking them.

I lived in student residence the summer of 1998 in Rimouski, Quebec.  I didn’t see any recycling program there…  Really?  We just put recyclables in the garbage?  Weird.  Recycling had become second nature.

When I lived in an apartment in Cornwall, I had a small blue box that I would empty into one of the blue carts by the parking lot when I took my trash to the dumpster.

At my apartment in Williamsburg, we stored recyclables in an outdoor wooden cupboard. Williamsburg was quaint and small like that. 

Most communities use the blue box, but the program is a bit different in each to suit the community.  What goes into the blue box is different from one city to the next and changes over time.  So part of the recycling habit is keeping tabs on the latest recycling news.  How do you get the blue box to fit in where you are?

…from yesterday…Racoon 1, Me 2

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw Mr. Racoon trying to get into the green bin in broad daylight.  It was so unusual that one of my neighbours got out his camera. 

Mr. Racoon couldn’t get into the bin, so he started pulling stuff out of the garbage can through a hole in the cover.  I gotta remember to get out the duct tape to fix it. 

Then in the evening he knocked down the green bin a second time in the same day, but he was thwarted again by the bungee cords.

Racoon 1, Me 0

Yesterday, Mr. Racoon paid me a visit.  I had forgotten to lock the green bin with bungee cords this week, so the racoon tipped it over and was noshing on the contents by the time I got outside.  The funny thing is that the bin had food waste in it for a few days, without any visitors.  I have been putting the waste in a sturdy paper bag in the green bin…maybe the bag had been containing any smells and maybe I didn’t close the bag well enough yesterday?

game on!

The neighbourhood raccoons, squirrels and flies’ love affair with my garbage predates the green bin program.  I’m starting to outsmart them. 

For the next five weeks, I’ll keep track of how successful I am with keeping pests out of the garbage can and green bin–I keep both receptacles outdoors.  Sometimes they stay empty for days after garbage pickup.  The day that I first put garbage in the receptacle, it’s game on.  If the animal tries to get at the garbage, but wasn’t successful:  one point for me.  If the animal, usually racoon, gets into the garbage:  one point for Raccoon.  I can potentially have two games running at once:  Green Bin Game and Garbage Can Game, but they won’t always start and stop at the same time.  When I put the bin or can to the road, the match ends. 

Starting April 15th, 2012,  it’s game on for the green bin and the garbage (trash) can.  I’ll keep a running tally on this page, with updates on Twitter.

Green Game

  • Match 1:  Start Apr. 15, 2012  ran 3 nights, score:  0-0    
  • Match 2: Start Apr. 20, 2012  ran 6 nights, score:  Racoon 1, Me 0 
  • Match 3: Start Apr. 27, 2012   ran 6 nights, score:  Racoon 1, Me 2 (Mr. Racoon attempted to get in the bin twice in one day, but I’m only counting that as one of my points)     
  • Match 4: Start May 7, 2012    ran 2 nights, score:  Racoon 0, Me 2
  • Match 5: Start May 12, 2012  ran 4 nights, score:  Racoon 0, Me 0                              

Trash Game

  • Match 1:   Start Apr. 15, 2012  ran 3 nights, score: 0-0
  • Match 2:   Start Apr. 20, 2012  ran 13 nights, score: Racoon 1, Me 0 (Mr. Racoon didn’t score a point until the last day)
  • Match 3:   Start May 9, 2012    ran 8 nights, score: 0-0

using the black box

Like the little black dress, your black box is versatile must-have.  In a pinch, you can also use the black box as an extra blue box for recyclables other than paper.  The black box is super-useful because it can hold a lot of paper and boxes that would otherwise take up a lot of space in the garbage.

If you are just starting to recycle, paper and cardboard are the easiest things to start with.  

Here’s how it works at our place:

We keep the black box out of sight in the basement.  We used to tuck it into the back of our entranceway closet, which was super-convenient for quickly ditching junk mail before it starts reproducing in some dark corner…seriously!  Amid some repainting and reorganizing last summer, the black box got relegated to the basement.

I think the biggest challenge is actually getting the paper and cardboard to the black box…without having a cluttering little pile of recyclables on the counter or near the stairs to the basement. 

At my place, the kitchen is where we regularly generate the most garbage and recyclables. 

I saw the coolest thing at some friends’ house a while back:  a two-compartment kitchen garbage can.  I recently bought one.  We put garbage on one side and paper/cardboard and other recyclables on the other side.  This system works so much better than the pile system:  no clutter and a container to easily take a worthwhile bunch of newspapers, cardboard egg cartons and cereal boxes and the like to the basement.

You could also look into an under-the-sink pull-out systems with multiple compartments, although these usually cost much more.  Another idea in an extra waste basket or bucket dedicated to recyclables.

The trick is to figure out what makes things easiest for your household, with a focus on the spaces where you typically generate the most paper and cardboard waste.

Good luck, and please share new ideas

How much each week?

an ongoing list of how much garbage and recycling my family puts to the road each week:

2012

First week of April:       one garbage can, one black box and one green bin

Second week of April:   one blue box and one green bin

Third week of April:      one garbage can, one black box and one green bin, plus two empty cardboard boxes that didn’t fit in the black box

Fourth week of April:   one blue box and one green bin

First week of May:        one garbage can, one black box and one green bin

Second week of May:    one blue box and one green bin

Third week of May:      one garbage can, a crib mattress, a furnace filter, two black boxes (I had a backlog of shredded paper), one green bin

Fourth week of May:   2 “blue” boxes (my black box served as an extra blue box filled with recyclables a neighbour and I collected from a park) and one green bin

First week of June:      2 recycling bins of paper/cardboard, an empty box, one garbage can and one green bin

Second week of June:  2 “blue” boxes and one green bin

Third week of June:     1 black box, one garbage can and one green bin

Fourth week of June:   1 green bin

Fifth week of June:       1 black box, one garbage can and one green bin 

First week of July:        2 blue boxes and one green bin

Second week of July:    1 black box, one garbage can, one furnace filter, and one green bin

Third week of July:       1 blue box and one green bin

Fourth week of July:     1 black box, one garbage can, one crib frame, and one green bin

First week of August:    1 blue box and one green bin

Second week of August: 1 black box, one garbage can, and one green bin

Third week of August:    2 “blue” boxes and one green bin

Fourth week of August:  1 black box, one garbage can, a furnace filter and one green bin

Fifth week of August:      1 blue box and one green bin

First week of September: 1 black box, one garbage can, and one green bin

Second week of September: 1 blue box and one green bin

Third week of September:    1 black box, one garbage can, and one green bin

Fourth week of September:  1 blue box and one green bin

First week of October:             1 black box, one garbage can and a garbage bag, and one green bin

Second week of October:        1 blue box and one green bin

Third week of October:            1 black box, and one green bin (now that the rest of the City is going to biweekly garbage pickup, I needed to get in sync with a new schedule:  garbage will be picked up the same week as the blue bin)

Fourth week of October:         1 blue box and one garbage can and one green bin

 Fifth week of October:             1 green bin (I forgot to take out the black bin)

For anyone not familiar with Ottawa’s recycling system:

Black box:  paper and cardboard

Blue box:   plastic, metal and glass recyclables

Green bin: compostable waste