“The benefits of living a zero waste lifestyle far outweigh any of the negatives that you could imagine. I save money because I’m not paying for the embedded costs of packaging, I shop secondhand, and I only buy what I need. I eat better because I don’t have the option to buy processed foods package-free, so instead I eat fresh fruits and vegetables and bulk nuts and grains. And when you eat better, you feel better. My weight has stabilized, I have more energy, and I need less sleep. I’m happier because for the first time in my life, I’m living in direct alignment with my values.”
~Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers)
You have 48 hours to complete today’s challenge. Ends October 5, 2016 at 5:59am Pacific Time.
We want to talk about a serious global challenge – WASTE. Take a moment to think about your week what you eat, what you toss, how its packaged, and the impact. How many times did you touch plastic? Did you throw away cups, lids, or straws? What were they made of? When you ate, did you throw away any containers or wrappers? How many paper towels or napkins did you use? What about the food you didn’t finish? Where did that go? How many paper towels did you use?
The average person produces about 1.95 kg or 4.3 pounds of waste a day. Collectively, the United States produces 250 million tons of waste annually – a quantity that could cover Texas, TWICE! According to the World Bank, at current rates of consumption and waste production, the global population will produce three times as much waste by 2100. Where will our trash go? What will our planet look like?
Bottom line – We create A LOT of waste. From food and fashion to electronics and more, waste is a negative byproduct of our daily lives, but it doesn’t have to be! By switching to reusable alternatives for cups, utensils, containers, towels, water bottles, coffee cups, and more, we can lessen our impact on the planet by minimizing landfill space. By taking only what we can eat, we divest from food waste. And the solutions are simple. Companies like Klean Kanteen and U-Konserve offer great stainless steel options to help kick start your transition to a ZERO WASTE lifestyle!
Okay, we know you may think that aiming for a zero waste lifestyle is hard and probably more expensive, but we are here to tell you that it’s actually easier and cheaper!
FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. All of these words have been ingrained in your thinking since you were young. We’re throwing a couple more important terms into the mix for you to consider as you bring these concepts to every day life, because it’s really important stuff!
RETHINK. Think hard about what you can do differently to cut down on waste. Today’s non-profit partner, 5Gyres, shares simple but illuminating information about reducing plastic pollution through exploration, education, and action.
REFUSE. Refuse all single-use items and disposables that you can live without and ask your school to do the same.
ROT. Make it your business to keep food waste and other biodegradable materials out of landfills, by creating rich compost to feed any nearby plants. And encourage your schools to start a composting system on campus.
Annie Leonard says, “There’s no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw something away, it must go somewhere.” Does this quote inspire you to think about the lifecycle of a single-use product? How goods are created, how they end up in your hands, and how you discard of them all have serious implications for the health of people and the planet. Though our waste may seem long gone, the truth is, every piece of plastic ever created still exists in one form or another today.
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Waste is a giant part of consumer culture. We buy, we use, we toss. Since landfills are hidden from view, it’s easy to overlook just how much waste we produce and how it negatively impacts our shared planet. Check out this visual of consumerism in the U.S. to see how mindless consumption can add up.
Do you ever wonder how much waste you actually produce? Well, you’re about to find out.
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Now that you’ve started to shift your own habits, you have the ability and the responsibility to inspire others to do the same. Take what you’ve learned and use your voice, your creative writing skills along with your passion to ignite a zero waste movement by example.
When aiming for a zero waste daily routine, starting with a reusable water bottle and reusable bag is a great first step, but let’s dig deeper.
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