Earth & Conservation

You Can Live Without Producing Trash

The average american produces 4.3 pounds of trash each day. While many continue to allow their trash to accumulate, one New York woman is making an effort to change the way we think about waste.

Lauren Singer began her path to a zero waste lifestyle while she was majoring in environmental sciences at NYU. One day she noticed that nearly everything in her fridge was packaged in plastic, and she felt like a total hypocrite. How could she care so much about the environment when she wasn't doing anything to reduce her own impact? She decided then that she would progress towards a lifestyle of zero waste.

In two years, Lauren has only produced a small mason jar of trash. She re-uses, composts, or recycles everything else. What kinds of food does she buy that produce no waste? She shops in bulk from the farmers market and local grocery stores, and brings her own jars and bags to fill up. What about toiletries like toothpaste, deodorant, and make-up? She makes it all herself at home in reusable containers. She even uses a compostable toothbrush, spatulas, and sponges.

Lauren is part of a larger Zero Waste Movement that is trying to reduce the 251 million tons of trash Americans produce every year, of which only 34.5% is recycled. Organizations like the Zero Waste Alliance are encouraging people to follow in Lauren's footsteps and consciously reduce the waste they produce everyday. Simple things like taking reusable bags to the store or saying no to receipts and straws at restaurants can go a long way. This movement believes that our immense waste is the result of a larger process that is currently broken, but can be fixed if we all make an effort.

Do you think you could go even 24 hours without producing any waste? Take our Zero Waste Challenge on Tuesday April 14th and find out! For every photo we received tagged with @SeekerNetowork and #zerowaste we will donate $1 to Keep America Beautiful.

Watch more Going Off Grid:

A Snowboarder's Unbelievable Tiny House

Read more about the Zero Waste Movement:

Lauren's Zero Waste Blog: Trash is for Tossers

Ecocycle: Zero Waste

Environmental Protection Agency: Municipal Solid Waste