It’s been a cold January with temps dipping into the single digits and freezing my nuts.

I don’t like being cold, but we all have to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint.

I don’t want to be heating with electricity that is generated with coal, oil or gas. I am also reluctant to burn wood. Trees suck up CO2 and we should be growing them, not burning them.

I needed to find an alternative. The answer was sitting in corner of my kitchen. My garbage.

Years ago, when I was an environmental consultant, the firm I worked for was hired to study the composition and BTU value of trash. For an entire week during winter, spring, summer and fall, a coworker and I collected samples of garbage at the Brookhaven Landfill on Long Island. There were a lot of porn magazines and billions of diapers.

Garbage, depending on its composition, has quite a high BTU value, so I decided to save the planet and heat my home with garbage instead of fossil-fuel derived electricity. It was win-win. I’d be keeping the trash out of the landfill and I wouldn’t be supporting the coal, oil or gas industries.

My problem is that I don’t produce enough garbage. I needed more.

Trucks loaded with garbage pass my house every day on their way to the county transfer station.

I thought “what a waste, I could really use some of that,” so I flagged down a truck and made a deal with the driver. For $50 a week he agreed to keep my garbage container full.

It’s worked out great. I’m never short of raw garbage. Every few days I roll a full container into the house and dump it into one of the bins I built next to my fireplace. I let it dry for a couple days before burning. It smolders a bit and sometimes emits black smoke, but really keeps the place warm.

There’s no porn in the garbage anymore, just a few condoms here and there, but there are still plenty of diapers full of BTUs.

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