No this isn’t a rant or me saying less than complimentary things about people, but dealing with trash when the garbage trucks don’t run for whatever reason. You have probably seen pictures of trash piling up in cities and suburbs from strikes or disasters and just because you always put your trash out on the curb does not mean it will be magically whisked away if the trucks don’t/cant run for whatever reason. Clean water and a working sewer system is what makes cities possible without those two items many people will get very sick at best and die at worse and it can happen in as little as three days or three weeks depending if it is a local disaster or a large scale event. You will probably have to deal with other people’s trash as well as your own because vermin and disease do not respect property rights or make people sick based on who is the dumbest and dirtiest!
The first thing you can do is simply reduce, reuse and recycle! I’m no environmentalist but a benefit for me becoming a prepper and buying bulk I generate a lot less trash than I did five years ago when I started. Packaging from prepared foods is a big contributor to trash, if you buy in bulk and make stuff from scratch yow will be amazed the difference in the amount of trash you generate. I began to look at what used to be considered trash and started seeing how I could use those items for all kinds of neat survival stuff. Cans became potential rocket stoves, dryer lint and cardboard rolls became fire starters, leftover cardboard boxes became weed blockers for raised beds and news paper could be used in place of paper towels soaking up grease or used to clean windows and that is only a few examples of reusing stuff.
If you have enough water on hand you can wash your pots and dishes, but moving and heating water takes a lot of energy and fuel and may not be a good option if you have a limited water/fuel supply. I think I have a solution of using food as a plate or bowl. Most of us have had a salad that is served in a fried tortilla shell, tacos, sandwiches or soup served in a bread bowl. You can make meat or fruit pies that are single serving and you eat more like a sandwich with your hand rather than on a plate with a knife and fork. You can go to a dollar store or your local mega mart and buy many tinfoil baking pans that could be reused if washed or trashed/recycled depending on what resources are available to you.
Using a compost pile to reduce your trash. You can buy compostable paper plates and cups while they are a little more expensive they could keep the amount of trash you need to deal with much more manageable. If you have a small yard you can set up or make a compost bin or two for under $100.00 and you can save money by adding your own compost to your garden rather than buying it at the megamart. Start your compost pile today if you don’t have one yet as there is a learning curve or at least there was one for me. Plus you can toss all your grass clippings, leaves, vegetable waste and if you are careful even the paper you shred to protect yourself from identity theft. No protein or plastics should ever go in the compost pile.
If it is a long term disaster dealing with trash will be to bury or burned and I will probably burn as I don’t have enough space on my property to make a small landfill. A couple of burn barrels should do the job for whatever remaining trash you still have on hand in the event of TEOTWAKI. You would use this method only if your city or county are incapable of trash collection in the long term as they would not be able to enforce all of the normal regulations restricting trash burning.
The ideas for dealing with trash are less than optimal and simply how to make the best of a bad situation and try and keep filth and disease from either taking hold or spreading. We have seen in many disasters people don’t think or just can’t change habits or their way of thinking very quickly. It’s the store’s fault because they ran out of water or food, the gas stations fault they don’t pump gas or take electronic payments when the power is out, it’s the banks fault when the ATM runs out of money…. Don’t plan on or depend on others to prepare. You must prepare yourself because no matter what anyone says no one can care more about you more than you!