Why You Should Try Zero-Waste Living

With no solution in sight to America’s overflowing landfills, there is no better time than now to try zero-waste living.

| June 2013

Author Amy Korst and her husband produce one plastic bag of trash per month, and you can too. With the help of The Zero-Waste Lifestyle (Ten Speed Press, 2012), you can find advice on how to reduce or eliminate waste in your life. In this excerpt taken from the introduction, see why you should try zero-waste living. 

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Everybody has a trash can. In fact, it’s a safe bet that we all have multiple trash cans crowding our lives—in the bathroom, in the car, under the kitchen sink, and in the garage.

Before I started living trash free with my husband, Adam, we had all of the above in our house, for a total of five trash cans at our instant disposal. One day, while out running errands I counted how many trash cans I came in contact with in public restrooms, restaurants, movie theaters, and stores: thirty-two! I couldn’t believe it. Then I heard a statistic that still troubles me: the average American produces three pounds of landfill-bound garbage each day. I started seeing trash everywhere, especially in places it doesn’t belong, like littering the sides of the road and all over the wilderness where we went hiking and camping. I watched the trash pile up in our five garbage cans, and I hauled a full 32-gallon can to the curb each week. We tried hard to be green, so I didn’t understand how we could be responsible for creating so much trash. Where did it all come from?

I decided to take a closer look at our country’s trash habits, and the more I dug, the dirtier things appeared to be. Although these piles of trash we each produce every year are stinky and unsightly, the problem is much worse than that—for our environment and our health. Trash is intimately connected to every environmental problem we face today, from climate change and habitat destruction to water pollution and chemical exposure. It’s also intensely personal and impacts every decision in our daily lives, including everything from how much money we spend to how much weight we gain.

Facing My Trash Addiction

When I first faced these facts, I couldn’t believe how something as innocuous as our garbage could be negatively connected to so many of my personal and political concerns, but the facts were undeniable—if I wanted to change the country’s trash addiction, I had to address my own trash problem first. But how?

7/18/2014 6:40:17 AM

I have read the Zero-Waste Lifestyle tips the same day my wife decided to http://www.designerdrains.com/rounddrains.aspx and I liked the idea a lot. From that day me and my family started to change our trash habits and the results were great, this is very important for our kids as they learn how to create a better world for them and their kids.

6/18/2014 4:15:23 AM

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6/17/2014 4:01:04 AM

This is inspiring. Thanks for sharing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teIqRglpa-E