The little things: Trash & Recycling

We keep seeing in the media how happy happy happy everyone in Denmark is. I truly think it has a lot to do with enjoying a simpler life and having fewer choices to ruminate over. In the US we have detergent aisles longer and larger than our local Danish markets. Here in Denmark, you tend to zip in and grab what you need (for the day) and zip out. I don’t find myself contemplating which toilet paper rolls to buy this time and then having buyers’ remorse over selecting the cheaper one, only to wish I’d have spent more for the larger rolls with nicer tissue. haha It’s a thing. LOOK.

Anyway, this post isn’t about shopping so much as how happy I was today realizing that the garbage truck had been by. What?! I. Know. Sounds bizarre. Our trash and recycling were FULL. Back in the US, we rolled giant bins down to the curb for the weekly trash day. I think in the last 3 states we lived in, each type of refuse was collected on the same day by various trucks. The rules were the same. Take bins to curb the night before or early that morning. Trucks came to empty them. Roll bins back into your garage. Fine. Except for the hill in CA… OMG. That was a STEEP and long drive to haul 3 full bins down and then hike back up with the 3 (thankfully empty) bins. In CA, we had a bin each for trash, recycling, and greens – grass, leaves, branches, and eventually food waste. In Colorado, we had recycling and trash. Compost was available in some areas. Many events in Boulder County offered trash, compost & recycle bins for festival attendees to separate their waste.

Here in Denmark, we use tiny trash bags in an under sink trash bin. Next to that, a brown paper bag for food waste. It makes sense. You can quickly and easily get your trash out on a daily basis. In our house we still need to figure out our recycle sorting. At the moment we just run it out to the garage area. Which brings me back to the excitement over the garbage having been collected… Each time we move, the trash has become more and more difficult to get rid of. This is fine by me – it causes you to stop and think about what you are buying, how long it will last, and how you will get rid of it when it no longer serves its function.

Here in Billund, trash comes weekly… however, not every type is picked up on a weekly basis. Each week the collectors come for either the black bin (trash) or the green bin (food/plant material) and the recycle bin is emptied on a 2 or 3 week rotation.

Since things can back up after entertaining or consuming a lot, having the trash emptied can be rather an exciting thing. Bonus! They come to your garage and empty the bin for you. You can see in the photo above that inside the black and green bins are large paper sacks. The collectors come by, open a door on the front of the wooden bin and remove the large paper sack and plop in a new one before heading to the curb and awaiting pick up from the truck.

Recycling is handled slightly differently. We have a rolling bin like you would find in the US, but with a divider to separate items.

photo 1 - Copy (2)

No rolling bins about. It’s lovely. See, it’s the little things. Sometimes just having your trash taken out for you is enough to make you happy in Denmark.

J’s commentary: Agree, it’s nice to have the trash dealt with for you each week. The separate bin for food waste is nice, but OMG actually getting the food waste into the brown paper bag under the sink is a pain. Have to remember to scrape your plate off into the bag and not let it go into the sink, since there’s no trap and no garbage disposal. I understand the no garbage disposal thing, but c’mon, can’t you make a sink w/ a small receptacle?? It’s just a flat drain for the water, which means we are forever pinching small amounts of gloppy food matter out of the sink to deposit in the bag… Luckily I don’t get grossed out by this, unlike my darling wife, who can’t even handle raw chicken without shuddering. #firstworldproblems


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