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NYU student achieves a completely zero waste life, this is her story

If you ever wonder whether a No Waste Life is possible, just read this article by Lauren Singer, and find out that it's a lot easier than you may think!

This college student from New York lives a completely no waste life. She shares why and how she did this, plus the benefits that it has brought to her life in her blog ' I Haven't Made Any Trash In 2 Years. Here's What My Life Is Like ' on MindBodyGreen .

Singer describes how being environmentally conscious, studying Environmental studies at NYU, being nicknamed 'the green girl', protesting, and being president of an environmental club, did not necessarily mean that she was doing her share for the earth. Not if she was still throwing plastic in the garbage everyday and not living sustainably overall.

Singer explains this realisation with an anecdote,

"In one of my classes, there was another student who always brought a plastic bag containing a plastic clamshell full of food, a plastic water bottle, plastic cutlery, and a bag of chips. Class after class I watched her throw it all in the garbage, and I got so angry! I scoffed and sneered, but I never actually said or did anything. I just got mad.

One day I was particularly upset after class and went home to make dinner and try to forget about it, but when I opened my refrigerator I froze. I realized that every item I had in there was wrapped or packaged, one way or another, in plastic.

This was the first time in my life that I felt like I was able to look at myself and say, "YOU HYPOCRITE." I was the green girl, not the plastic girl! What had I been doing my entire life? It was in that moment I made the decision to eliminate all plastic from my life."

Singer cut out plastic from her life, then moved onto a completely zero waste life. Here's how she did it,

"First, I stopped buying packaged products and began bringing my own bags and jars to fill with bulk products at the supermarket. I stopped buying new clothing, and shopped only secondhand. I continued making all of my own personal care and cleaning products. I downsized significantly by selling, donating, or giving away superfluous things in my life, such as all but one of my six identical spatulas, 10 pairs of jeans that I hadn't worn since high school, and a trillion decorative items that had no significance to me at all.

Most importantly, I started planning potentially wasteful situations; I began saying "NO" to things like straws in my cocktails at a bars, to plastic or paper bags at stores, and to receipts ."

And she explains the benefits this brings, such as saving money, eating better and being a lot happier! I agree with this, the amount of dissatisfaction that comes with "stuff", I can imagine the happiness that would come with living a zero waste life.

It may seem like an impossible task, especially because supermarkets, shops, companies, bars... pretty much every establishment and most people on earth, are content on using plastic and put practically anything they can into land-filling, animal-killing, toxin emitting packaging. However, people can refuse these things, and the more people that do it, the more others will learn. This could be a great New Year's resolution?

There are plenty of tips and ways to go zero waste, here's just a couple of tips to help start your journey,

1. Say no to disposables, and welcome alternatives. Disposables such as paper towels, garbage liners, disposable razors, aluminium sheets etc. can be swappers for reusable things. This includes reusable rags, stainless containers, and why not drop garbage liners all together!

2. Consider homemade substitutes for cosmetics, we have plenty of great homemade remedies in our blog. Check out how to make your own lotion bars .

3. Buy in bulk or at the counter, bring reusable bags, jars and bottles for all ingredients. Farmers markets often do not package things to make it easier for you, or the growing concept of zero waste supermarkets, such as No Plastic Fruit and Vegetables supermarket in Queenscliff.

We're building a movement of women fighting climate change through the way we live.

Join us and be counted.


Shea Hogarth International Correspondent Suggest an article Send us an email

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