How to Deal with Trash on the Homestead


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You’ve finally started living your dream and you moved your family to a remote property to give homesteading a try.

One thing that I can promise you is that in a very short period of time, you’re going to find yourself wondering what to do with all the trash that your family produces.

It’s not like you can just toss it in one of those big huge plastic garbage cans and wheel it to the curb once a week.

If your family consumes store bought food or you use any store bought supplies, you’re going to have trash that will need to be dealt with. There’s just no way around it.

What Not to Do

When we plunged into the deep end of homesteading life, we just put everything in large plastic garbage bags and when we could make a trip to the town dump, we hauled them off. The problem with this strategy is that something always came up and one or two garbage bags quickly turned into ten or eleven.

A very serious problem that came from this practice was that it soon attracted hungry bears! The first time we saw garbage that a bear had scattered across our property, we knew that we needed to come up with a better solution, and FAST!

I can’t tell you how many times we see the result of people who didn’t have a good plan of disposing of their trash. Properties went from beautiful forested lots to city dumps with trees on them. This definitely falls into the NOT to DO category!

What Worked Best for Us

After we figured out what didn’t work, we came up with a system that worked pretty well for our family. I’ve broken it down by different types of trash in the list below.

Paper Trash: If it wasn’t fire season, paper trash went into the burn pile with yard debris like pine needles and fallen limbs. If we weren’t allowed to burn due to fire danger, we bagged it and saved it until it was safe to burn.

Recycle Homestead TrashRecyclable Trash: Where we live you can recycle all kinds of trash for free a long as it’s clean and sorted. This includes everything from car batteries to milk jugs. Check with your local dump to see if there is a free recycling program for you as well. We still have to take it to town but the dump doesn’t charge us a fee to recycle it there.

Food Scraps: People who live in the boonies probably don’t want to be running their food scraps through their garbage disposal. After all, if you do, you’ll just be adding more bulk to your septic system which means it will need to be pumped out more frequently.

Vegetable scraps can be put into compost bins or piles and recycled into nutrient rich soil for your garden. Unfortunately, not all food scraps can be composted. If you have a pig on your homestead or you know someone who does, you’ll be able to feed a lot of the food scraps that can’t be composted to the pigs.

Many people also feed food scraps to their dogs. We don’t personally do this but a lot of people do so it’s a definitely a viable way of getting rid of food scraps.

The Other Stuff: No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to have some trash that has to make the trip to the dump. For example, you can’t recycle dirty diapers and I’m sure you don’t want them accumulating in your yard.

There will be trash that needs to go to the dump but if you follow the tips I’ve shared with you today, you’ll be able to reduce the amount that you have to pay to dispose of homestead trash considerably.

Don’t Forget About Homestead Recycling

No one likes clutter but before you start hauling all your trash to the dump, take a minute and think about whether you might be able to find a use for certain types of trash in the future. You’ll be surprised how many uses there are for things that other people just throw way.

You know the saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. Well, there isn’t any reason that your trash can’t find a new purpose on your homestead. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone. You won’t have to pay to dispose of it and you won’t have to purchase the things that you create using your own recycled garbage.

Share Your Thoughts

I’m sure that some of you have very creative ways of getting rid of trash on your homestead. Please take a minute and share your ideas with us by leaving a comment in the box below.


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