Talking Trash

Talking Trash

Touring can produce a lot of trash.  On the 2020 Composition Tour, Minh and I tried a variety of things to keep our waste to a minimum.  We were moderately successful... not as efficient as we are at home, but better than my previous tours.

Over the 10 weeks, we produced about two grocery bags of trash, (one was a grocery bag of recyclables but I understand plastic isn't really being recycled properly at the moment, so it counts as trash), and three grocery bags of compost.  We took the compost to bins at stores and city-run programs along the way, but had to throw away a few compostable items when we couldn't find bins.


  • We brought our own grocery bags and containers, utensils, a knife, salt and pepper, etc.
  • We purchased low-trash items at the grocery store: bulk, bakery, fruits and veggies.
  • Documenting our trash enabled us to turn down some (but not all) trash that would have come from others.
  • Montreal has wonderful bulk food stores.
  • Taking a kitchen scale to measure would have been useful for quantifying our trash.
  • Chipotle burritos are a great low-trash option: foil and paper wrapper.  But don't ask for your burrito to be cut in half... they use a disposable knife and discard it.
  • Pre-covid, most deli sections at grocery stores will let you bring your own containers for the pre-made foods.
  • Post-covid, we call restaurants and ask what their take-out containers are made of.  We dodge the ones using styrofoam.

The following are images of recycling

The following are images of our compost: