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Los Angeles Man Saves All of His Trash For Eight Months

This is the trashiest story I've ever heard. Dave Chameides is on a mission — a mission to save all of his garbage as an experiment to see exactly how much refuse one person makes in a year. This sends shivers down my clean-freak spine: his basement is lined with soda bottles, pizza boxes, Styrofoam trays, used tea bags, and plastic wrap. After nearly eight months at this project, Chameides is beginning to get a clearer picture of his landfill footprint.

The inspiration for this personal garbage collection began while exploring the tremendous amount of trash that packs our landfills, which set him wondering how much he contributed to that total. Since he does not live alone and his wife and children are not participating in this project, Chameides does have some ground rules. For one, he only collects his own trash, and does not include potential health hazards such as toilet paper, fish wrappers, or other biodegradable contaminants. Thank goodness for that. Ack. To see what good came of this plan,


The not-so-trashy news is that after several weeks of collecting, he found ways to reduce waste by taking his own plates and cutlery to work, and bringing his own containers when purchasing food at stores that provide plastic or Styrofoam containers. And then there's this detail: Chameides has enlisted a multitude of worms to consume the compost in his basement.

This experiment isn’t without its "hilarity ensues" drawbacks. Once while on vacation in Mexico, Dave was stopped by customs and asked to explain why he wanted to return to the US with a bag full of his own garbage.

Is this a brilliant way to really see the true nature of what we do to the environment, or is he one can short of a dumpster? Would you do this experiment?


Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Wall*E's got his work cut out for him! ;)
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
a friend of mine did a really interesting report on how the Victorians conserved more than we do today and they all took care of their own trash/compost in their yard. They burned a lot of their trash and sent their junk to a public place where others could sort though the metal for other uses.
SustainableDave SustainableDave 9 years
Wow, thanks fro the plug and for the kind words. The worms are in the basement and believe it or not, they don't smell at all. Everyone is kind of shocked about that. I even have a friend who has hers in a specially made coffee table in the living room. Sort of her inside joke, but nobody knows. Thanks for reading. Consume Less, Conserve More!!!! Dave
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I'm hoping that he keeps the compost outside.
stephley stephley 9 years
That's an interesting site Ms, thanks for the link.
kia kia 9 years
I think this is brilliant. While in undergrad I started keeping what I recycled, compost, and garbage in my kitchen as long as I could just so that I am more cognizant of my resource consumption. My hubby and I still do that today just to be a bit more mindful of what we use.
MsXtle MsXtle 9 years
I am know about this guy. I live in LA and our local radio station KROQ talks to him every month. He is really cool actually. He has a website where he blogs about the progress of his 1 year experiment it is They visited his house and, believe it or not, they place doesn't smell of trash at all. I think the man is dedicated and inventive!
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