When I moved into a new home a few years ago, paying for a weekly garbage service seemed like a necessary expense. After all, I needed to pay someone to haul away my trash, right?

So once a week I dragged my mandatory rolling container (over 4 feet tall) out to the curb. The rest of the week that hulking container took up valuable garage space. My two-person household was producing garbage, but never enough to fill the container. Some weeks I didn’t even take it to the curb, and I was paying at least $60 a month for the service.

There had to be a better way than spending all that money on garbage! So I investigated an alternative approach utilizing my county’s recycling center. I cut my yearly garbage bill from $720 to a mere $34 (that’s 95 percent savings). Here's how:

I was already recycling standard objects: glass, tin and aluminum cans, cardboard, plastics, magazines, and newspapers. I learned my local recycling center also took paper, scrap metal, old electronics, motor oil, and even yard debris from tree limbs to grass clippings and leaves. They make it into mulch that county residents get for free! My sister's employer accepts old batteries in a recycling program, and my son's school accepts old cell phones and printer cartridges. So I started recycling all of those items. I also created a compost area in my backyard for food waste. At that point, the trash generated from my household was minimal.

My local recycling center also sells large-sized garbage bags with the county logo for $2 to dispose of any trash that cannot be recycled. I buy one of these, keep it in a normal-sized bin in my garage, and haul it myself in my hatch-back car to the center every three or four weeks. At $2 a bag, I was able to cancel my curbside service.

Now I am in charge of my own debris and am incredibly conscious of the trash my family generates. I recycle, buy items with less packaging, and reuse items when I can — it's a win for me, my wallet, and the environment!

Forgoing garbage service may not be possible for every family. But Krazy Coupon Ladies should explore alternative options in their area for recycling and self-disposal.

This has been a guest post by Audrey from TX
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Take Out the Trash: Reconsider the Cost of Garbage Service