Would you be able to cut down on all your waste so it could fit into a mason jar? We know that we’d struggle to even fill a single garbage can (a very big garbage can) with all our waste from an entire month, never mind a year. So there’s a lot we can learn from the woman who put 4 years of her trash into a single jar. We’re still trying to wrap our minds over how incredible that is.
Lauren Singer, author of the blog Trash is for Tossers in NYC, has just opened up about leading a zero waste lifestyle. And we have to admit, we feel inspired to at least make a few small changes after seeing her tiny jar of garbage.
“I live a normal life–I just make different choices. They just make sense,” said Singer in an interview with The Loop.
1. ONE PERSON REALLY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
People think that the effort of one person can’t do anything to save the environment, but the impact of making one small change really adds up over time. Singer explained that if one person were to get coffee everyday for a year, that’s 365 disposable coffee cups thrown away. Imagine how many thousands of cups you’d save in a lifetime just by using a reusable cup for your coffee. One little change like that may seem small, but it adds up collectively, and does in fact have a positive impact on the environment.
2. SWAP OUT DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS FOR NON-DISPOSABLE AND COMPOSTABLE ONES
Disposable products do more than damage the environment. They teach you to throw something away that still has value. Singer sees it as “inhuman to throw away things with no value, like a plastic fork… you use it once, and it no longer has value. There’s something really weird about that. Something super functional is deemed trash or not useful anymore.” On her blog, she recommends using a compostable toothbrush instead of a disposable one or a menstrual cup instead of tampons or pads (only a few of the many suggestions).
3. USE ALTERNATIVES TO PLASTIC
Whether it be an ice tray, utensils or straws, there are great reusable alternatives to everything that’s plastic,which is often not recyclable and can release toxins in the environment. So get hunting.
4. BUY IN BULK
Because it’s cheaper and you’ll have less waste from bags, plastic and receipts. Also, buying in bulk will save you a few trips to the store.
5. GET RID OF WHAT YOU DON’T NEED
“Being more minimalist is calming. I have a busy mind, and I find that if I have a minimal, clean and basic home, it helps to calm my crazy life. It helps you to create a more tranquil environment,” Singer said. When you start cutting down on clutter, you have less of a mess to deal with and it’s easier to clean.
6. BE CAUTIOUS WHEN YOU EAT OUT
There’s a lot of plastic and styrofoam you get when you go out to eat, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid eating out completely. You can bring your own metal fork to cut down on all that plastic and even have them wrap your food in reusable material.
7. MAKE BABY CHANGES OVER TIME
Instead of trying to change everything at once, make small changes that won’t give you too much of a shock. According to Singer, “the easiest place to start is just starting somewhere.”