When There Is No Garbage Or Trash Removal… What Will YOU Do?

 When There Is No Garbage Or Trash Removal… What Will YOU Do?

By servantheart, Editor-At-Large


Ms KYPrepper  recently reminded us of the fact that when IHTF, we will need to deal with the “unpleasantries of life”, such as dealing with human waste disposal. But what about those other “wastes” we must dispose of? What will happen to all the things we throw away every day, expecting them to simply disappear, never to give another thought?

How long will you be able to remain in YOUR environment when there is no trash removal around you? I’m thinking of the 1975 “emergency” in Great Britain, during which the local government went “belly up” because they could not pay the salaries of city employees, including garbage/trash removal workers. It literally piled high in the streets. We’ve seen that in a few American cities on occasion, as well.

Even if you have emergency plans in place, even if you can burn your own trash, and really are so good at repurposing, so good at “living green” and “simply” you have little trash or refuse, how will you survive living in a world surrounded with hills (or, even mountains) of trash, debris, and garbage that will increase by the day all around you? The disease potential? The rodents, snakes, bugs, etc.? How will you manage in that scenario?

Or, is this just more reason to be ready to “Bug Out”, rather than “Bug In”?

Yes, you could stay and hope it gets better before it kills you breathing what’s “out there”. Many people may have no choice. But if you have the option of a bug out property, far away from the crowds, then, my advice would be waste no time getting there as soon as it is evident that “IHTF” (“It” Hit the Fan!). Don’t delay; don’t debate; don’t gamble; get out of Dodge! If it gets better, you can return. No harm done. But get out while the gettin’ is good!

O.K., but, what if you don’t have a BOL to run to? There are some proactive steps you can take now; some of them involve other people, and you cannot control other people, their attitudes, or their actions (or lack thereof). But you can try to influence them for the better.

The Old Steel Drum Garbage Burner

Start teaching people NOW about disposing of trash, garbage, etc., when there is no alternative – the city is NOT going to pick it up for you and simply make it “disappear”. One of the things we have done is buy a metal trash barrel (an old storage barrel). DH had to cut the top out of ours; we dug a small, level hole in the ground, just a few inches, for safety. We bought three (3) concrete blocks and set them in a triangle; we punched holes in the bottom edges of the barrel, just a few all around, about ten (10) inches from the bottom rim of the barrel. Fire must have oxygen to burn efficiently. We bought a fireplace screen in a second hand store for a top cover, to keep burning debris from “floating out” on the wind, setting fire to the neighborhood (and this can happen easily). We have this same arrangement on our BOL and do use it to burn what little trash we generate, although we re-purpose and reuse everything as often and as many times as possible.


Composting is the best way I know to reduce your garbage/waste footprint. The only things you can’t really compost are meats and foods that contain meats – hopefully, you’re not wasting meats – they’re much too expensive and a tragedy to think that living things died not for food, but to be “wasted”. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a carnivore – but no animal or living thing should die because I’m wasteful of Holy G-d’s creation, over which I have been made a steward. That is just not good stewardship, IMHO.

But, just about anything else, can be composted: peelings, egg shells that have been boiled (not raw); paper, etc. This is making soil, folks; once you learn the simple techniques of making compost (making your own rich, fertile soil) you will never lack for gardening materials, and you will significantly reduce your “waste”, and thus, your garbage/waste footprint.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies: when IHTF, the China Mart may not be open to sell you cleaning supplies; even if they are “open” you may not be able to get them, or, you may find yourself fighting for your life for a bottle of bleach, etc. Why put yourself in that situation? Get what you need NOW and stay stocked up; liquid bleach does not stay “good” for more than a few months, even stored under ideal conditions. Get Leslie’s Pool Shock, 73% calcium hypochlorite solution; a one lb. bag costs about $5.00 U.S., and will last a very long time. Try to get more than one; however, as it is small, stores easily and forever, and makes a great barter item. A FEW GRAINS (note emphasis) of this in a gallon of water will do wonders to shock it (after filtering, if there’s stuff in the water requiring filtering) and make it potable. A few more grains in the same water produces bleach on demand.

Also, white vinegar is actually said to be more useful as an antibacterial, ounce-for-ounce, than even bleach and it won’t ruin your clothes. It will, however, kill everything you throw it on, just like bleach, so, don’t throw it out on grass or growing things you don’t want to kill. White vinegar is cheap in large bottles at your local warehouse club.

Here is my personal favorite “recipe” for homemade laundry detergent; which is more natural and much less expensive than what you can buy “ready-made” works just as well for washing dishes, cleaning house, etc., as it does for laundry, so you do not need a lot of cleaners.

Get a blue (non-food-grade) plastic bucket and lid from Lowe’s to keep it in. This will fill the bucket a little better than half full, and lasts for months.

Ingredients (everything needed found at China, er…Wal-Mart)


  1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax {Found in Laundry Isle } 2. Six (6) bars of Kirk’s Castile soap {Found in bar soaps @ Wal-mart – bottom shelf} – harden these bars off for 3 weeks before making, by removing from paper and allowing to “air dry” on a rack, turning occasionally; it’s much easier to flake like this; when dry; flake by hand, just using a grater (very easy!). 3. one four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda {Laundry Isle} 4. one box of arm & hammer super washing soda {laundry Isle} 5. Bucket  of Oxy Clean (laundry isle} – this is optional, but I personally do like to add it. Omitting it will reduce cost, however. I use the “Sun” brand, which works just fine and is much cheaper than OC.

Plastic bags will not be available later; stock up on them now. Plastic bags won’t be a great solution for things you will burn, but can be used for that which cannot be burned and will hold things at bay a little longer than, say, a paper bag.

Disposable Paper Plates and Towels

Disposable PAPER plates, bowls, etc. will be helpful, but try not to rely too much on them; it would be better to heat water outdoors and wash dishes daily then add to the mounds. If you’re burning, paper plates burn well enough. Please DO NOT buy Styrofoam unless there is no other choice – Styrofoam is petroleum based, it is not earth friendly and it takes forever to break down. Just wash dishes. What else will you have to do?

You’ll need paper towels; you won’t be able to get these later, either. Hand wipes, especially sanitizing, will have a useful place, but don’t rely too heavily on them; like Styrofoam, this stuff doesn’t break down well or quickly, although it will burn.

Extra garbage cans may or may not help, depending on how widespread the problem and the duration; but having extras around can do no harm, either – so buy them while you can, if it’s in the budget.

Breathing Mask

Breathing will be a problem, especially for those who already are “airways challenged”; if you don’t have asthma or breathing issues yet, you probably will by the time we get to this place, and, yes, it could very easily happen. You could stock up now on breathing apparatus such as masks, but do keep in mind most of these need replacement filters, as filters have limited life.

You can also make a simple mask by putting two inexpensive face masks together with a layer of activated charcoal between them and a thin layer of plastic to hold the charcoal in place. Activated charcoal is something that should be in your arsenal as poison control, water filtering, and any number of other uses.

Now you have another one. “Instructables” posts a how-to for a gas mask using an empty fruit can and plastic tubing; there are a plethora of posts at youtube on using just the cheap masks and charcoal, as mentioned. Spend a few minutes coming up with whatever works for you, but, have the instructions, have the knowledge, have everything you need and be ready to use it BEFORE IHTF. It may save you much suffering later.

Make sure you have as much med as possible available if you are asthmatic, etc. Be ready.

Do you have a supply of mouse traps? Bug treatments? All of these things will be both needed and unavailable when IHTF. I buy wooden mouse traps and throw them away, mouse and all  – I refuse to handle the little nasties, and, at a quarter a trap (discount stores), at this point, I don’t care. Maybe someday I will, but, not today.

Backup Power

If you have enough money, look into an in-house recirculating system; this is better than bringing contaminated air into your home. This also assumes you will have power to run it; do you have a backup system? A generator you can run? Solar system? Now we’re talking real money, but, hey! If you have it, spend it. If nothing else, as long as you still have power, run your a/c system – this will recirculate air.

Do you have a good shovel for digging and burying if you have no other choice? A couple bags of hydrated lime for your local farm store for handling odors on those things you must bury?

Please DO teach your neighbors, friends, church family, school family, anyone and everyone who will listen that all of you WILL need a Plan B for your trash, garbage, and refuse when bad stuff happens; now is the time is to “be prepared”. The more people you can get to plan ahead for system failures, the better off you will all be when IHTF.

Personal cleanliness, as much as possible, anyway, will never be more important than it will be in this scenario. Are you prepared?

Grace and Truth, John 1:14; 1:17; 2 John 1:3 Sha’alu Shalom Y’erushalayim (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem)


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