Our bin gets really smelly a few days into the week, but Abi refuses to empty it until it’s full
My partner, Abi, refuses to take our bin out before Sundays. She’ll say, “No, we use only one bin bag a week, and we must wait until it’s full before it goes outside”. This habit really grinds my gears for a few reasons.
First, the bin starts to smell really quickly. Even though we have a large bin with a lid, the stench of rotting garbage starts emanating from it halfway through the week. Who wants to deal with that? Second, the stinginess. Abi believes she’s being economical by waiting until the bin is full, but what is she really saving? Five, 10p a bag? I’m more than happy to give her the money for it if it means we don’t have to deal with the smell of the rubbish. For me it’s a no-brainer.
Recently things got really smelly after we disposed of a lot of food waste and plastic containers that had had chicken breasts in them. I said, “I’m taking the bins out.” Abi tried to stop me. Her defence was, “The bin is barely full. You’re being wasteful.”
But the smell was grossing me out. The bin is in the corner of the kitchen and I hate cooking when there is rotting rubbish right near me. Every time we opened it to put some more rubbish in, it would stink out the whole room. I argued that she was making us suffer for no reason. In the end, I took the old one outside, but she kept saying it was unnecessary. But in my mind you don’t have to wait until the bin is overflowing. If it smells, take it out.
Abi is stingy about a lot of things. She never wants to throw away food and always insists on saving bits of leftover dinner, which we never eat. She also hates throwing out books and games she hasn’t touched in years. I think it’s how she was raised: to save every penny and never waste anything. But I’m more about personal happiness. If something is causing you stress, throw it out!
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m correct. If there is a putrid scent coming from the rubbish bin in your home, empty it. Abi needs to realise you can’t put a price on happiness – and foul smells make me very unhappy.
The defence: Abi
It’s a total waste of money to use more than one bin bag a week, especially as the smell isn’t that bad
The bins are a point of contention in our relationship. We got together three years ago and moved in with each other a year later. That’s when I began to notice that Chioma is a lot more wasteful than me. She will chuck milk out if it’s one day past the sell-by date. She doesn’t ever want to freeze leftovers. And with the kitchen bin, she’s determined to change it whenever there’s a slight smell.
Any little inconvenience and it’s, “Oh, we have to change the bin again.” But in my opinion, there’s always going to be a bit of an odour when you keep rubbish inside the house. It’s normal. Chioma will be getting bin bags out several times a day, even when there’s no smell. I actually think she’s just scared of a possible odour, so she prematurely takes the bins out before there’s even a chance of it festering. I tell her, “You’re being a bit over the top. There’s not even anything in that bin,” but she just ignores me.
We recycle cardboard and cans, but we don’t have a food waste bin so a lot of our leftovers go into the main bin. That probably adds to Chioma’s anxiety, but I never think it’s that bad. Also, our living room and dining area are separate, so if the smell is bad, we only ever have to endure it while we are in the kitchen. Our bin also has a sturdy lid. Chioma exaggerates when she says that it stinks every day.
I’ve been raised to be a bit more conscientious about money. Chioma says I’m too frugal but I think it’s ridiculous to be going through multiple plastic bags a week when we could just use one. I’ve pretty much refused to take the kitchen bin out unless it is at capacity and it is a Sunday.
Of course, I would make an exception if there was a really terrible smell, but that never happens. When Chioma complains about the bins, I remind her that the price of 50 black bin liners is £2.50 and rising. The cost of living is hitting us all hard. I don’t think I’m in the wrong here at all.
The jury of Guardian readers
Should Abi empty the kitchen bin more often?
While there’s nothing wrong with waiting for a bin to be full before putting it out, food waste does smell. Some people are more sensitive to bad smells than others, and it seems Abi isn’t taking Chioma’s feelings into consideration. Eira, 52
Abi is hinting at a compromise – a separate food waste bin that can be disposed of every three or four days would eliminate smells. No need to throw refuse away every day, but as you prepare meals in the kitchen, the smells in that room shouldn’t put you off from entering it either. Tristan, 33
Abi is guilty: no one likes smelly rubbish in the kitchen. However, wasting food isn’t good and Chioma should be on board with Abi’s efforts in this area. A smaller bin/smaller bin bags might be a solution to both their needs. Jo, 56
Not only does the stench permeate furnishings and fabrics, it attracts flies and rodents, too. Abi needs to be more aware of Chioma’s sensitivity to smells, and commit to emptying the bins daily to have a pleasant-smelling home. How about buying a food recycling bin of their own? Chantal, 45
It’s hard to judge when the evidence seems to differ (is it several times a day, or once a week?) but I’m leaning towards the prosecution here. Smells, foul odours or the chance of festering all seem worth the 5p it costs to change the bag. Sorry Abi, you’re guilty! Ali, 33
You be the judge
So now you can be the judge. In our online poll below, tell us: should Abi take out the bin more often?
We’ll share the results on next week’s You be the judge.