Lauren Singer can fit literally all the non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste she has gererated since 2012 into a single mason jar.
Five years of waste fits in a single mason jar
Picture living your life without generating any waste whatsoever, either in your house or outside. Now imagine creating your own homemade, chemical-free, personal-hygiene and household cleaning products, including makeup, shampoo, and toilet cleaners, happy in the knowledge that you aren’t polluting the environment. That is exactly what Lauren Singer decided to do in 2012.
‘Trash is for Tossers’ documents Lauren’s Zero Waste journey
Lauren Singer was an Environmental Studies major in College and had always been interested in the environment, but she made the conscious decision to live sustainably in 2012. There were two significant moments that brought her to a trash-free, waste-free lifestyle:
The first was during her senior year of college when her professor Jeffrey Hollender, of Seventh Generation fame, emphasised the importance living your values and made her think about her own personal environmental impact.
The second was when a fellow environmental studies major would bring lunch to class every week in a single use plastic bag, a disposable water bottle, and a plastic takeout container. Lauren would sit there and think, we are supposed to be the future of this planet and here we are with our trash, messing it up.
Then she learned about a family in California, calling themselves the Zero Waste Home, that was producing little to no garbage, it was this Aha! moment for Lauren. She wanted to lessen her impact, so she started her own Zero Waste journey. This was when she really decided that she not only needed to claim to love the environment, but actually live like she loved the environment.
Trash is for Tossers is Lauren’s attempt. It documents her Zero Waste journey and shows that leading a Zero Waste lifestyle is simple, cost-effective, timely, fun, & entirely possible for everyone and anyone. "If I can do it, anyone can!" — Lauren Singer
Check out Lauren’s Youtube Channel for tips and advice on reducing your waste and trash, and how to make clean, green household cleaning products and personal hygiene products.
Lauren Singer’s 2 Steps to Zero Waste
Lauren has outlined two easy steps to take as you work towards Zero Waste! These should be repeated periodically as the path to zero waste is never-ending. Always strive to downsize, find better alternatives, and educate yourself.
1. Evaluate: the first step is to take a look at your daily life and ask yourself the following questions:
- How much garbage am I currently producing and what types? Ex: food packaging- this can help you determine the places you can start reducing and looking for alternatives.
- Why am I even interested in decreasing my impact? Is it for the environment, is it to decrease toxins in my life, is it to decrease clutter, is it because i’m totally broke and want to save money? Really understand your motivators and use them as a place to start decreasing what you use.
- What do I actually use on a daily basis (what is in my daily routine) and what do I not use/need? This can help you determine the things that you can donate and reduce.
- What products do I use that I can get more sustainable alternatives to? Ex: exchanging plastic Tupperware for glass or mason jars.
- The most important one straight from Yoda’s lips: How much and what do I really need to be happy? Really assess why you own and hold on to certain things, and determine if you really need that giant foam finger in the back of your closet to be happy.
2. Transition: start to downsize and properly dispose of the unnecessary things:
- Bring a reusable bag and water bottle with you everywhere!
- Get rid of the plastic. From Tupperware to take away bags plastic is toxic. For items that are lightly used, donate to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. For products that are recyclable, like plastic, do so.
- Replace these products with sustainable, long-lasting alternatives. Such as Organic cotton, stainless steel, wood, and glass. Donate your crappy college plastic kitchenware for some nice glass, stainless steel, or cast iron. It is sexy.
- Be creative. Figure out what you can use in different ways. Organic cotton napkins can also be used as a drying rack, to store leafy greens in the fridge, or to bring lunch to work. Mason jars can be used for coffee, takeout, leftovers, toothbrush holders, lotion dispensers…
- Make your home your sanctuary. For me that means having a few things that are really important to me. Most of mine were either handed down to me or obtained on craigslist. Secondhand!
- Minimise. Ask yourself, what do I not need? What do I wear every day? What did I buy last year that still has tags on it? Whatever it is, it most likely has a value of some sort. Whether it is donating to your local Goodwill or Housing Works, or selling your products at a consignment store or on Ebay, you can always get a return on your items.
- Think Organic, think Local, think Sustainable and BUY IN BULK!