Eleventh Experiment: A Month of Zero Waste

Farmer's market shopping. Re-used Egg carton.

Farmer's market shopping. Re-used Egg carton.


"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives" -Native American Proverb

Did you know that Americans generate 25% more waste between the period of Thanksgiving and New Year's adding up to more than 1 million tons of trash each year? That makes me depressed so I thought it would be fun to try a little experiment where I produced about 90% less trash during this same time period. 

I think I care about the environment. At least I say I do, but when it really comes down to it I don't do much. Yet when I hear the plans our new president has in store for us, I'm outraged. Who knows what's going to happen with environmental policies after this election but it's not really looking good for our ol' planet earth. I feel helpless in most ways but I know at the very least, there are small changes I can make as an individual consumer. I can sit around and be upset for the next four years or I can turn the mirror on myself and see what steps I can take to be the change. Also, consumers have a lot of power ya know

So ladies and gentlemen, I'm going zero waste! What does that mean?

Zero Waste is a sort of environmental "movement" started by Bea Johnson. Her blog and book, Zero Waste Home documents her family's impressive trash-free lifestyle. I will be following her guidelines this month to eliminate waste in my life. 

The Experiment: I'm going to channel my inner hippie and try and produce as little trash as possible.

The Rules:

1. I'm swapping out my trash can for a recycling bin.

2. I'm buying only secondhand unless I absolutely need it. I'll make exceptions for a few Christmas presents. 

3. I'm buying groceries and other products with as little packaging as possible.

4. I'm going to drive less (ugh). 

5. I'm going to consume less meat. I love meat. 

6. I'm going to cut back on energy consumption around the house.

I can use up anything in my fridge or cupboard that I already purchased before but will also be on the lookout for zero waste alternatives.

I'll keep all my trash for the month and show you my results.

The Reason: There are so many social issues I can narrow in on but I love the simplicity and practicality of visually seeing your own effort towards something like waste consumption and the environment. I know I'm no angel when it comes to sustainability, I just spent the entire month gallivanting around Europe on budget airplanes just to hang out and take pictures. But this is an experiment and little experiments can lead to real epiphanies, that sometimes leads to lasting change. Let's see what happens!