Renton families take 'trash talking' to new level

Renton families take 'trash talking' to new level »Play Video
RENTON, Wash. -- There's some 'trash talkin' going on in Renton, as six families compete to see whose garbage cans can lose the most in just a month!

King County launched this friendly competition, which is a bit like that old game show Family Feud.

"It's a challenge," King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson said. "It's the smack down of recycling and garbage."

Each of the Renton families who accepted King County’s Garbage Challenge, started with a weigh in. They piled up a week’s worth of garbage bags on a scale.

So, how do our contestants stack up?

The Kawamoto family weighs in with 7.4 pounds of garbage.

The Collons family: 11.6 pounds.

Gallaghers: 16.8 pounds.

Gesell: 17.0 pounds

Nichols: 30.8 pounds.

Rubinos 62.6 pounds!

In response, Baiba Rubino said, "I mean, I had the most trash today." Was she surprised? “No, I've only been recycling aggressively since I stopped working, which was a couple of months ago," she said.

After the weigh in, Watson dumped the trash bags of garbage out onto tarps, to sift through and see what they're missing.

Holding up a pair of discarded flip flops, Watson said, "I'd say that these are things that a thrift store would accept, so that might be one thing that you could work on."

He also found paper that could be recycled and more...

“That is a bag that is a fast food bag, that could go in with the food waste," he said.

In another family’s trash, Watson found more: "These microwave popcorn bags can go into the food waste."

You may not want to spill your garbage out on a tarp at home, but these are all good examples of where you might be able to do better.

A juice box doesn't belong in the garbage, it should be recycled. You might think a juice can could be recycled but it can't, because it's metal and paper together, like a baby formula can.

And speaking of babies, several of the families in this challenge still have children in diapers. Disposables fill up a garbage can fast. Is there a better alternative?

Watson said, "I think in some cases, cloth diapers are better, but in other cases, it might sort of a wash."

He said it's best to buy disposables that are not bleached with chlorine.

The goal for each family: slash their trash by at least 20%.

"We're going to start up the food scrap recycling," said Carrie Gesell. "We haven't done that before, so we'll see if it makes a difference."

You too can probably recycle your food leftovers. 90% of King County already has food waste recycling - just put your food scraps in your yard waste can.

A few of the families also asked about plastics, saying the symbols can be confusing.

Waste Management Educator Rita Smith explained that one for them: "It's a plastic industry symbol that identifies the type of resin that's in that plastic, but it doesn't identify whether or not there's a market that wants to buy that kind of plastic and make new products from it. For example, the bottles, jugs and dairy tubs for plastic is consistent throughout most of the cities in the Puget Sound area."

We'll check back with these families in a month, to see which one wins the garbage challenge.

You can take the challenge yourself at home. In King County, we threw away more than one million tons of garbage last year. More than half of that stuff belonged in the recycle bin.

If each one of us could just recycle another one percent, we'd save 8,500 tons from hitting the landfill - that's 36 football fields of garbage.

Learn more from Waste Management: