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Here's How You Could Produce Just One Jar Of Waste Per Year

by: Lucy Jones | 2 years ago | News

This jar contains two year’s worth of rubbish! Image Source.

The National Geographic’s new ‘Planet or Plastic’ issue is full of sobering statistics about the world’s plastic pollution problem. Here’s one: the world generates 3.5 million tons of waste every single day. Here’s another: the plastic waste that ended up in the ocean in one year could cover every metre of the world’s shorelines with 15 bags of rubbish. These figures might make you feel hopeless but, according to members of the zero waste movement, you shouldn’t give up just yet. These conscious consumers say that it is possible to produce just one jar of waste per year if you make some simple lifestyle changes.

All of the garbage that zero waste blogger Kathryn Kellogg produced in the last two years fits into a single 16-ounce jar. Everything else she’s consumed has either been composted or recycled. 

“We also saved about $5,000 a year by purchasing fresh food instead of packaged, buying in bulk, and making our own products like cleaners and deodorant,” Kellogg told the National Geographic.

“There’s a fear of being rejected when you try to do things differently,” she continued. “But it’s not a radical act to clean up a kitchen spill with a cloth towel instead of a paper towel.” 

You probably already have plastic alternatives, like fabric cloths and glass jars, lying around your house. If you want to cut down on waste, you can also reintroduce some of the everyday household items that your grandmother would’ve relied on before plastic was invented: cloth serviettes and hankies, glass or stainless steel containers, cloth bags, and water and vinegar-based cleaning products, just to name a few. 

“Many such solutions to waste are insanely simple,” Kellogg explained. “And any step to reduce waste is a step in the right direction.” 

Rachel Felous, another zero waste advocate, said she’s cut her waste down to one bag per year since she decided to change her consumption habits in 2017. One practice she’s implemented is freezing all her organic waste. One a month, she takes this frozen block of food scraps to her parent’s house where it is picked up by a local farmer for composting. This proves that it is possible to compost your rubbish even if you don’t have a backyard.

In the past 10 years, Shawn Williamson and his family have only produced six garbage bags of rubbish. “We live a very normal life. We’ve just eliminated waste,” he told the National Geographic. How? The family buys everything in bulk, has access to a good local recycling program, and composts all their organic waste in their backyard. 

Williamson, who works in the sustainability sector, said it’s easy to reduce your waste once you make the decision to do so.

“It’s a mindset of looking for better ways of doing things. Once I figure it out there’s little effort to maintain it,” he said.

Williamson avoids packaged good by shopping at local markets and, when he has no other option, he leaves packaging at stores so they can reuse or recycle it. 

If you want to reduce your waste output, here are some things to think about, via the National Geographic:

1) Refuse — refuse to buy things with lots of packaging.

2) Reduce — don’t buy things you don’t really need. 

3) Reuse — repurpose worn out items, shop for used goods, and purchase reusable products like steel water bottles.

4) Compost — up to 80% of waste by weight is organic. But this rarely decomposes in landfills.

5) Recycle — It still takes some energy and resources to recycle, but it’s better than sending stuff to the landfill or allowing it to become litter.

So what advice can Kellogg, the woman who only produced one jar of waste in two years, impart? “Just do the best you can and buy less.” It’s that simple.

Via the National Geographic

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