How do we change the patterns of thought, behaviors, and rhythms of daily life that foster our reliance on disposables? By rearranging our understanding of time and responsibility, we might reach a new valuation of goods and services that emphasize quality over quantity. In an effort to mitigate my own anxieties about participating in systems that generate waste, I have sworn off trash.
Since April 2011, I have been progressing toward Zero Waste in my work and in my home. Six months into the endeavor I started a blog called No Trash Project to document my daily push to circumvent packaging, byproduct, and pollution.The goals of the project are:
-To eliminate personal trash production by avoiding the purchase of anything in packaging.
-To be informed about the lifecycle and environmental impact of the goods I consume.
-To live simply and keep only belongings that are essential to thrive.
Zooming in and out on micro and macro environmental issues (from the biodegradability of my toothbrush bristles to difficulties implementing a city organics collection program) allows me to identify system flaws that result in trash. Today I no longer own a garbage can. Connecting with people around the world has been the most rewarding part of my project. Each reader response points to a growing global community of people who are looking for ways to get what they need without creating waste and inspires me to test the limits of the project. I have learned to eliminate garbage from my own life (with few exceptions, including a weekly stack of produce stickers) and now I hope to leverage change in systems of production and consumption that lead to waste.
Since I first made the decision to start this project been careful not to enter a territory of self-deprivation. As I work toward these goals my quality of life is improving. I am becoming more self-sufficient and efficient in my daily activities. Colorful bulk foods stored in glass jars boast incredible potential and inspire more cooking than a pantry filled with packaging and labels. The problem of maintaining hygiene without making trash has resulted in the omission of chemicals from my routine. Bottled bleach and ammonia have been replaced by bulk baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap. By eating whole foods, cleaning my body and my home with package-free, non-toxic goods, I become a better steward of my health. As I work to pare down my possessions to few highly functional objects, I become a better caretaker of my belongings. Uncluttered and simplified, my home is beautiful and I feel as though I have a relationship with everything in it. The project has also ignited my interest in the lifecycle of objects, from the creation or harvesting of source materials used to make each thing I encounter, to the recyclability and biodegradability of those materials once they are disposed of. Taking on different “make my own” projects like handcrafting wood furniture, knitting home textiles, and throwing ceramic dishware, I’m developing a greater understanding of the resources and processes required to produce the quotidian items I possess.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you find some useful information in the pages of this blog.