Welcome. As a citizen of a “Zero Waste” community, you must learn how to distinguish between items that may be recycled or composted, or those that must, regrettably, be placed in the trash.

You will be charged by the kilogram for your personal weekly trash, which will be bundled and labeled with your name and address. In the event that our town landfill exceeds capacity, your past trash will be returned to you.

Plastic lids

Flat lids on plastic containers, i.e. cottage cheese containers, salad containers, etc., cannot be recycled. The sorting equipment sensors “read” these items as paper, not plastic, and they end up in the wrong bin. But some lids are made of corn and can be composted. To determine if your lid is compostable, take a bite.

Expired prescription drugs

To prevent drugs from entering the water supply or being used for illicit purposes, open the container and mix well with one cup of kitty litter and two tablespoons of coffee grounds. Then urinate on them, reseal, and dispose.

Light bulbs

What color is your light bulb? What shape? What wattage? Halogen, Incandescent, or Compact Fluorescent? Is it broken or intact? If you are unable to answer all of these questions, you haven’t earned the right to part with your light bulb.

Old sweaters

Why not have a yard sale?

Athletic Shoes

Did you know that athletic shoes can be turned into a material used to resurface athletic fields, tracks, and playgrounds? But the shoes must have no cleats, metal parts, zippers, or mud, and they may not be Keds-type canvas sneakers. Only 1985-89 Air Jordans will be accepted.

Plastic Bags

No. 2 and No.4 Plastic Bags: Recyclable. No. 3 or No. 5 plastic bags are compostable, but No. 6 and No. 9 plastic bags must be trashed. There is no such thing as a No. 7 plastic bag.


You still subscribe to the newspaper? That’s cute.

Used Mattresses

Fasten to the top of your car with twine and drive it to the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (or CHARM) on the outskirts of town. Go past the mountain of old tires and the pit of Unflushable Things That Were Nevertheless Flushed, and take a left. About 60 yards down the road, you will find our community’s mattresses heap, guarded by two Gorgons, Argus, and a Pit Bull-Sheltie mix. Answer the three questions they ask you wisely, and they will allow you to add your mattress to the heap. Answer them incorrectly, and they’ll eat your face.

Your soul


To increase compliance with our Zero Waste policy, next year we will introduce a “Public Shaming” component (per council ordinance #06-57). Citizens who produce the most waste will find their trash displayed in the town plaza the first Tuesday of each month for critique. Thank you.