Trash is for Tossers

A couple of days ago a friend shared an article on facebook that caught my eye. The article is written by a girl in NYC who lives a so-called “zero-waste life”. She produces no trash. This is a picture of her trash bin. Pretty unbelievable. The girl, Lauren Singer, started living this way a couple of years ago when she was an Environmental Studies major in college. She felt that she was a hypocrite, not living as she learned. On her blog she tells about how it’s possible to produce so little trash. She makes her own toothpaste, makes her own beauty products, buys her food in bulk, packs everything in mason jars, only buys second-hand clothing, etc. I got really intrigued with her way of living and coping with different situations. Some situations just seem so…impossible. If go through all the activities that happen during an ordinary day (wake up, shower, have breakfast, study, have dinner, evening activity, night-time snack, go to sleep) and think about how much trash each of these activities is producing, I feel it would be impossible to produce nothing. But it isn’t! The mind just needs to be reset. The brain needs to be rewired. It is possible to perform all these every-day activities without producing trash. Of course it is.

Reading about these kind of eccentric people who take it one step further always excite me. Yes, it is super-inconvenient and almost impossible for some people to live this way. You need access to bulk stores (still uncommon in Europe), beauty product ingredients, etc. Living in a small town can really complicate things. I can also very much understand the price-issue; biodegradable, compostable and locally produced products are usually so much more expensive that not all people are able to choose them, even though they might like to. Besides that, it is exciting to have a role model to look up to and be inspired by. This is exactly the kind of thing that Gertjan de werk talked about in the lecture this week. Sustainability needs to be FUN and COOL. This girl is right now the coolest person I know, and she seems to be having loads of fun. I also want to be sustainable and cool, just like her. 

Although I probably won’t start making my own toothpaste anytime soon, I carry my Klean Kanteen everyday, spreading the gospel about the benefits of having a stainless steel bottle. And maybe, next year, I’ll be buying reusable cotton pads. One step at a time.  

Klara Bergman

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