I’ve just learned about the most incredible person.

Lauren Singer runs Trash is for Tossers, a blog that chronicles her trash-free life in New York City.

Lauren started the blog two years ago. After studying Environmental Studies at New York University, she realized that instead of claiming to love the environment, she wanted to “live” like she loved the environment.

So what does that look like, exactly?

Essentially, Lauren produces close to no waste. Seriously. This is what she’s produced (with some notable exceptions):

I’m a big believer in putting your money where your mouth is, which is why I find her blog so inspiring. Can you imagine how different things would be if we all adopted this lifestyle? And the coolest part is that Lauren makes it look fun and easy.

I don’t know if I’m ready to make the kind of commitment Lauren has, but I’m excited to try some of her tips. Here are a few I’ve picked up from Lauren’s blog:

1. Create your own hygienic products to avoid purchasing unnecessary packaging (think toothpaste, deodorant, drain cleaner, etc).

Just made deodorant ?? #trashisfortossers #zerowaste #zerodechet #body #natural #organic #diy #vegan

A photo posted by Trash Is For Tossers (@trashisfortossers) on

2. Search for sustainable products that aren’t made of plastic, like these bamboo toothbrushes that come in paper packaging, or a cutting board made of wood.

3. Bring your own reusable bags to the market to carry your produce.

4. Refrain from purchasing tupperware and other plastic containers. Lauren often uses glass containers and reusable cloth bags to hold food, as well as a stainless steel lunch kit.

5. Get creative. Rather than purchase new wrapping paper, why not reuse paper you were about to recycle?

6. Mason jars are everything. Lauren uses them to store grains and nuts, and they can also be used to transport food and hold liquids.

7. Buy in bulk! A lot of grocery stores have dispensers for grains, nuts, candies, dried fruits, coffee, etc that allow you to determine how much you want. Bring your own container/ bag and voila!

My colleague Natalie Prolman had the fun job of reporting on “everything you ever wanted to know about garbage.” Stimulating stuff! Joking aside, she noted that, “cities currently generate approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year….and with the current trends in urbanization, this number will likely grow to 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025 - an increase of 70 percent.”

We need to make a dent in those numbers. With so many sustainable options available today, we all have an opportunity to waste less and protect our planet and its people. I try not to think about it as striving for perfection, because let’s be real- our society isn’t quite conducive to that yet. Instead, why not just challenge ourselves to make more thoughtful decisions when we have the opportunity?

Personally, I know I can be better about carrying my reusable coffee mug around with me. What changes can you make to live more sustainably? Let me know in the comments.

For more tips on sustainable living, check out Lauren’s list for Zero Waste Alternatives.


Defend the Planet

This woman has produced less trash in two years than most do in one day

By Christina Nuñez