You’re probably aware of the growing problem of too much trash, plastic, and pollution that is plaguing the globe. (If not, you can read more here and here.) More and more people are trying to live a “zero waste” life; i.e., one focused on creating as little trash as possible that goes to landfills.
Zero waste goes beyond Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It often involves a significant change in lifestyle. You may rethink how you shop, and what you buy. An example would be taking your own containers and grocery bags to the grocery store instead of buying packaged goods or using plastic bags. Or bringing your own reusable bottle, straw, or utensils instead of using disposable plastic.
Tippi Thole, from Montreal, Canada, is a zero waste star. She has whittled down her family’s weekly trash so much that it fits in a 2.5-inch mason jar! It seems unfathomable — how is that even possible? And how does she do it?
A good portion of household trash is food packaging, so Tippi buys unpackaged food. She shops at farmers markets and bulk food stores, where most food is not packaged, and brings her own reusable bags and containers. Instead of storing produce in plastic bags, she uses cloth bags. She uses glass mason jars to hold liquids and other foods like meat and cheese, avoiding anything wrapped in disposable or plastic packaging. And she keeps all these supplies in her car so she’s always prepared to go shopping. Buying unpackaged food has reduced her trash by 80 percent!
make your own
Tippi also cuts down on waste by making a lot of things you might usually buy. Some aren’t that unusual, like making your own granola, or cleaning solutions from kitchen ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. But she’s made other things like toothpaste, goat cheese, and marshmallows; and has repurposed old items to make sponges and washcloths.
You may be wondering, so what sort of trash actually does go in the jar? Things like receipts, packing tape, stickers on fruit, and labels. Her blog, tinytrashcan.com, has more ideas on going zero waste. What’s great is that anyone can incorporate this into their life, at any level. You can do a little, or a lot (and really commit like Tippi!).