Could you make zero trash for 30 days?


I think we reached half our year's allotment in leftover packaging materials after the Christmas holidays, with 2/3 of that being oversized Amazon boxes and packing materials. If Bezos's drone air force was configured to come back for them, I'd happily put them all out in the driveway on our next sunny day.


We make a concerted effort in my house to recycle as much as we can, and compost what we can (just started composting last month). After Christmas, we had about 10 pounds of garbage from two weeks of accumulation including the holidays. If we were willing to burn the burnable items and wash more recyclables (wet food packaging, mostly), we could probably get well below 1 pound per person per week. If anyone knows why my community doesn't recycle #5 and #7 plastic and/or has an alternative place to send it, I'd appreciate the tip.


No, I couldn't.


I could, but then I'd have to quit my meds. And trust me, no one wants that. (Something something ablility privilege)


Wasteful packaging!


designer packaging might be to blame


Probably the Kids of Widney High.


Does toilet paper count? Because if so, No.

Seriously, while it is important for the consumer to do their part. Municipalities should do their part with better recycling programs. For example you can't drop off old electronics in the recycling bin at most places, and despite it being a 'no'. Most people will just put them in a black garbage bag and off to the landfill they go.

...and at our location they won't even take glass in the recycling bin which is dang odd, because glass can be recycled pretty easily.


It really all comes down to controlling incoming packaging, right?


We're gonna need a bigger goat.


I buy a lot of stuff secondhand, and try to cut down on the ludicrous packaging, but sometimes you don't have the option to go without packaging. Even the light bulbs from Habitat for Humanity ReCycle are in cardboard boxes. I don't have access to a dairy that still uses washable glass bottles, a chicken farm that will let you bring your own cartons, and I have no idea what I'd do about something like prescription drugs.


I do have worms eating my food scraps! (Zophobas morio, which in turn make beetles, which in turn make more king mealworms to feed a hungry chinese water dragon).

One word of caution: if you have said worms, and they live indoors (not being very cold tolerant), do not feed them broccoli. Well, unless you really like a giant pungent whiff of broccoli fart. Very simple digestive tracts that are very good at releasing sulfur containing gasses...


Humans lived in cities for hundreds of years before the invention of plastic. If we wean ourselves off of plastic packaging, it won't solve the entire problem but it will be a very big step.


In the UK practically everywhere has moved to fortnightly rubbish collections, with recycling being picked up every week. Most of our recycling is cardboard, cans, food waste and glass, but we could put out batteries, engine oil, old shoes, old clothes etc. It all gets picked up and semi-sorted by hand at the kerb.


Glass is heavy and recycling doesn't save very much energy compared to using raw materials. If it has to be shipped very far or if you rinse it off warm water before putting it in the recycling bin, it's probably doing more damage to the environment then just making new glass would.


between 20 and 25 % less energy. I think it's worth it, but you can define "very much" differently ; )


I have enough trash to take out after two to three weeks, and that is a standard tall kitchen bag, not the 75 pounds of trash that this story would have me believe.

The headline says "Could you make zero trash for thirty days?" I can go thirty days without buying a car,* computer, TV**, etc, or doing major home renovations, although those could theoretically cause increases in my average daily trash output over time.

*I've always been able to resell or trade in my cars. I've never had one that was completely junked after I got through with it.
**I haven't owned an actual physical TV in twenty years.

Betteridge's law be damned. I can take them up on this. Toiletries last me more than a month. I use a lot of rice, beans, and flour in cooking, and can buy these in bulk. 20 pounds of meat will last me over a month, and I have the freezer space. I can buy Costco-sized cans of canned fruits and veggies, and/or bring my own packaging for supermarket produce instead of using the disposable packaging. Dairy is a bit of a problem, because this is practically always in disposable packaging, but I don't eat much dairy and (you guessed it) can always buy in bulk.

The only problem is if they count human waste in this, and toilet paper. Giving up toilet paper will be weird, but toilet paper is a relatively recent invention. I think I draw the line at composting my own feces though.

Pretty much this.


That looks all recyclable to me.

Actually, it also looks kinda like Darth Vader to me.


Several thousands of years, really. You can tell by the big trash piles outside ancient city walls, all filled with pottery: the plastic of the ancient world.


The only plastic not picked up in my area is #3. I assume it's because we don't have any potential buyers within an ecologically worthwhile distance.

What I'd like to know is why I have to take #4 bags back to a store instead of tossing them into my curbside bin?