Zero Waste Challenge

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

For the month of March I’ve decided to give myself a zero waste challenge in the hope of becoming more aware of the trash I produce. It’s pretty straight forward and I invite you to join me!

Part 1: Before challenge

Before you begin, find out what is and is not recyclable in your area. I’m lucky to live in a city which has an extensive recycling program and also composts. Your region may have certain particular rules. For example, at Stanford you can but plastic bags in with the paper recycling.

Part 2: The challenge

Whether you do it for a week or a month, here’s the general plan for the challenge:

  1. Keep and collect all the trash that has to be landfilled. If it helps, carry around a little bag in case you generate trash while out of the house.

  2. Keep the items that can be composted/recycled until you find an acceptable bin. Basically, don’t throw your banana peel in the trash because you can’t find a compost bin. (Might also help to keep a bag with you)

  3. Using your notes app on your phone or a small notebook, record any non-trash items you find yourself using a lot of. For example, you may realize that you’re composting fifteen coffee cups a month or that you recycle a lot of mail.

Part 3: After the challenge

That’s it! At the end of the month, reflect on the trash you have collected and think about whether or not you could reduce or go without certain items in your bin. Consider asking yourself these questions: Do I need this? Is there a plastic-free option? Can I purchase this less often?

I hope you join me in this challenge! I can’t wait to hear about peoples experience :)