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L.A. man keeping his trash in basement

February 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Some people collect stamps, others might collect dolls. But L.A. resident Dave Chameides is collecting trash in his basement for one full year. It's a New Year's resolution, of sorts -- one that Dave hopes will open people's eyes to the amount of trash of garbage we all generate, and its impact on the Earth."My wife? She thinks I'm a little wacky, but she's definitely supportive of it," said Dave.

He calls himself "Sustainable Dave". His goal is to keep all of his garbage and recycling for one year -- 365 days of trash. It's an experiment in conservation and sustainability, all taking place in the tiny basement of Dave Chameides' L.A. area home.

It's an experiment inspired in part by his two daughters.

"And then when we had kids, everything changed because I realized wow, there's a future there, and they're going to inherit all these problems that we're creating," said Dave.

We asked Dave the one question everybody seems to have -- does all that trash stink?

"It doesn't really smell. If anything, it's earthy," said Dave.

That's in part because worms are doing some of the clean-up work for Dave, composting food scraps and converting it into fertilizer.

"There's a piece of leftover cauliflower we didn't eat, and who knows what else," said Dave.

Dave has significantly cut down on the amount of trash he throws away. While the average American generates four-and-a-half pounds of waste per day, in the first month of Dave's project he generated less than two pounds of actual trash total.

"This represents all my quote-unquote 'garbage' for the past 44 days -- things that can't be recycled that I have to throw away, and I'm pretty proud of it," said Dave. "Because it's not anywhere near what I thought it would be."

Dave is chronicling the year-long experiment on his blog -- SustainableDave.org. He also volunteers his time speaking to thousands of L.A. school kids about conservation.

This week, Dave took kids from Shalhevet High School to the Puente Hills Landfill in the City of Industry. It is the largest landfill in the United States, and students got to see exactly where their trash winds up.

"I think the number is 13,000 tons of garbage every day, which is astonishing," said Dave.

Eyewitness News will check in with Sustainable Dave at the end of the year to see how his experiment turns out.

 

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