Although I attempt to be green in as many aspects of my life as possible, I have to admit that, despite my efforts to reuse and recycle all that I can, I am completely guilty of producing my share of trash. So many things are disposable, and those sandwich bags are just so convenient…
Convenience, however, does not assuage my guilt, so I was thoroughly impressed when I came across the story of a New Zealand couple, Matthew and Waveney, who spent the year producing no more than one small grocery store bag – just a kilogram each – full of trash. Their website contains their story (in blog form), as well as a “Rubbish-Free Guide” that provides strategies for reducing trash in every room of your home, as well as in many different scenarios such as take-out and parties. They even detail the items in the final trash bag for their readers in their last blog post!
The couple managed this impressive feat firstly by choosing not to purchase anything disposable or in disposable packaging, and requesting that family and friends not send or give them anything in disposable packaging. For packaging that couldn’t be avoided, they chose to reuse and recycle as much as possible. Thrift stores also acted as a great resource, as they chose to “rehome” items as an alternative to disposing of them, as well as purchase items second hand in order to avoid packaging. At home, they began to garden, compost, and make items themselves (such as granola bars) that usually come in packaging.
The thing about this incredible story that most struck me, however, is that although the process certainly takes thought and effort, in reality their strategies were neither foreign nor difficult. I believe that the most important step is, as Matthew and Waveney put it, “exercising our consumer power,” and being conscious about the trash we produce through the purchases we make!
Mary’s note: Herban Lifestyle’s favorite supplier, Mountain Rose Herbs, practices Zero Waste as part of their business practice. On their website, they list several of the things they do to achieve this — many are things that individuals can do in their homes to reduce their rubbish. And, to learn more about the implications of our rubbish production, I highly recommend you take a look at the wonderfully presented Story of Stuff!