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Just a couple of years ago I said a very happy ‘good – bye’ to monthly garbage service.  Once the kids had moved on my husband and I had so little trash to fill our enormous green can we hauled down to the end of the driveway every Wednesday.  We paid a hefty fee for the service, not to forget the cost, financial and environmental, of the many plastic bags we used to collect our trash prior to putting it the designated green can.  One day we were driving around and noticed the huge recycling bins a few miles from our house and realized how we were wasting money having the garbage truck visit weekly.  In addition, we had started a serious, and successful effort, at composting so we had even less trash. Living out in the country we were also very lucky to have this beautiful, (beautiful to me for sure!) stove/incinerator for burning paper our son Marshall had built in shop class a few years ago.  The stove was never put to use until we ended garbage service.  Well, and the fact that about the same time we had a huge storm which blew off a chimney cap from atop our house which now sits on the stove catching cinders, etc. Good-bye trash service!  I felt richer beyond the pocketbook when I called and cancelled the service!  I will never forget the voice at the other end of the phone via the mysterious eight hundred number I dialed to cancel trash pickup.  The more’ he’ talked on about how we had had the ‘service’ for 25 yers, were great customers, prompt bill payers, etc., the more I knew I had wasted a ton of money for many years! Better late than never!  Once we had no trash service I soon became more and more aware of wasted food and wasted grocery money in the little smidgins left in jars and containers that I normally threw out.  Now that I had to rinse all the glass and plastic for the recycling bins I decided it was time to use every ingreditent down to the last drop!  If a small amount of sauce is left in a jar, I put it in a zipper bag, label it with ingredient and date, and toss it in the freezer.  Peanut or almond butter clinging to the sides of the jar?  Heat it, add a few tablespoons of vegetable stock, swirl it around a few times, and this too finds a new home in a freezer bag or other contianer while awaiting being added to my next dish needing it.  A recipe doesn’t call for all the tomato paste in a can?  An ice-cube tray home is awaiting it and then a labelled freezer bag for future use.  Think before you waste.  It is really very easy, and really satisfying knowing you are saving money.  Smart and economical – what a winning combination!  Waste not – want not, and live with yourself!

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