Why worry about waste?
The average person produces about 4 pounds of trash per day, amounting to 251 million tons of trash produced every year in the US alone.
So what are we going to do with all this trash?
Right now, the majority of waste is shipped off the landfills where it will remain for…forever. The problem is that landfills are not a great system for trash.
The conditions of a landfill prevent the trash inside them from biodegrading. This means that we are adding 251 million tons of trash in the US each to already enormous piles of trash. And none of it is going anywhere any time soon.
Plus, landfills take up space. Finding the space to continue to store our trash is going to become a bigger problem every year.
Trash that does not reach a landfills finds it’s way to our oceans. This has created an accumulation of waste twice the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This “garbage island” is affecting wildlife and adding dangerous pollutants, which finds its way back to humans when we eat seafood.
Our waste problem is enormous and the best solution is to stop creating so much in the first place…by living a low-waste lifestyle.
What is a low-waste lifestyle?
After wanting to make a difference in our overly wasteful culture, a few brave souls started the zero-waste lifestyle trend where they make absolutely no trash…at all…ever.
While I admire those individuals’ ambition, the fact is that the world we live in is designed without a regard for waste, and being absolutely trash free is simply not practical for the average person.
A low-waste lifestyle is about reducing your waste as much as possible without compromising other aspects of your life that are important to you. In today’s society, a zero-waste lifestyle can be very restricting. A low-waste lifestyle is about enhancing your life, not limiting it.
By simply swapping out disposable and plastic products for reusable, recyclable, and compostable alternatives you can make a huge impact on the environment and the amount of trash produced each year.
The principles of a low-waste life are simple. Consume less, reuse more.
What is WasteLessThinking?
While there are plenty of blogs and books outlining a zero-waste lifestyle, a “low-waste lifestyle” is not actually a thing right now, which means people who just want to cut back on their waste don’t have a guide to help them do so.
This is my attempt.
Through WasteLessThinking, it is my mission to educate the public about waste, offer tips to changing your lifestyle, and provide a place to easily find low-waste and zero-waste products that you need to achieve a less wasteful lifestyle.
This is a place where we understand that reducing waste is difficult and no one is expected to do it perfectly.
The principle behind WasteLessThinking is to take what you want and leave what you don’t. Make changes that fit your lifestyle and do what you can to reduce your own waste. If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
About the author
My name is Kristin Schallhorn and I am embarking on my less wasteful lifestyle journey in the Washington, DC area. I have always strived to live an environmentally friendly life, but it can be difficult to balance my environmental values with the other things that are important to me (like my obsession with makeup and beauty products).
I began reading about other people who have adopted zero-waste lifestyles, where they produce absolutely no trash at all. At first I thought, “sure I can do that”, but when I began realizing what that would entail me sacrificing, I realized I could never live a truly zero-waste lifestyle.
I decided I would still try to live the least wasteful lifestyle that I could manage. For me that meant changing a few simple things in my everyday life, like avoiding disposable items and using reusable ones wherever possible, avoiding excessive packaging, going paperless, buying in bulk and shopping at farmers markets. I have also started growing some of my own food and making some of my own products at home.
Then I began thinking, I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way I do, they are open to making some life changes in order to waste less than they do now, but aren’t quite ready to make the sacrifices necessary to live a zero-waste life. So I created WasteLessThinking. I share my favorite low waste products with you in the shop, and share what I learn on my journey in my blog.
Remember, If we all do it a little, it adds up to a lot.