Man Refused To Throw Anything Away For A Year We visit Dave Chameides' to see whether he was able to keep his year-long pledge. How on earth did he manage to store 365 days worth of trash in his basement?

Man Refused To Throw Anything Away For A Year

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MADELEINE BRAND, Host:

Back now with Day to Day. Talk about your New Year's resolutions. Los Angeles resident Dave Chameides embarked on a big one at the beginning of 2008.

DACE CHAMEIDES: For the past year, I've been saving all of my trash and my recycling in the basement, not because I'm crazy, but because I realize that when it just sort of leaves the curb and goes away, you don't know how much you have. So I thought, well, I'll see how much I have, and I'll see what kind of changes I can make in the process.

BRAND: So how much garbage does one person generate in a year?

CHAMEIDES: The entire stairs are covered with, you know, bottles. There are probably 220 bottles, beer bottles. And then I've got - I think it's about 51 pounds of paper, 20 pounds of cardboard boxes, cereal boxes. We've got a four pound bag of plastic bags which is - three boxes, cardboard boxes of the garbage stuff that would go to landfill that can't be recycled and can't be reused. And this represents basically 32 pounds, which is my entire year. That's what the average American makes in a week. That's what I created for the year.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHAMEIDES: The hardest thing was just stopping throwing things away, stopping putting things in the garbage because until you try to stop something like that, you don't realize how sort of ingrained it is in you, and you don't think about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHAMEIDES: Most of the garbage that I created I think was probably from the first like three to four months. As I sort of like learned about things, and once I sort of took those into my daily routine, it's now just generating half a pound of garbage a month - it really doesn't take any more or less of my time than normal. It's just my normal everyday existence.

BRAND: Now that Dave's experiment is just about finished, what is he planning to do with all that garbage?

CHAMEIDES: Thankfully, it's actually now not going to be throwing away. It's going to the museum of trash in Connecticut, which is this cool little museum that teaches kids about wasting less, which is I think really cool.

BRAND: But the experiment is not over yet. Dave Chameides has a challenge for everyone.

CHAMEIDES: Take a look at it and see what can you get around, see how much it will change, and you'll be shocked, number one, how much you created but also how easy it is to change a lot of your habits. If you can't save your stuff, you live in an apartment or something, just keep list of it, and it sort of basically accomplishes the same thing. So give it a week. You don't have to do a year and see what you learn. I think you'll find it's going to be a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BRAND: You can find out more about this save your garbage for a week challenge at our blog, Daydreaming. It's at npr.org/daydreaming, and if you decide to try it, we would love to hear about it. Again, all the details are at npr.org/daydreaming.

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