Let’s be frank here, zero waste. Seriously? Is that even possible to achieve at the pinnacle age of plastic and the never-ending pursuit of trash from landfills?
Surprisingly, after a quick YouTube search, a lady named Lauren Singer who was a former environmentalist student from NYU University will truly blow your mind with just a small jar of trash collected for three years! Yes, three years, not days. How did she truly achieve the impossible?
In her talk, she mentions an idol she looked up to which was Bea Johnson. From her research through Bea Johnson’s personal blog, she gathered ways to minimize her wasteful imprint in her daily life, learn various ways to survive the plastic flood and throwing away her sentimentalizing personality.
Her daily routine consists of 4 ways listed below:
1. She stopped buying packaged food and opted to bringing her own jars and bags to the supermarket. Furthermore, she buys her fruit and vegetables from the farmer’s market so there will be no plastic packaging involved.
2. She makes her own products such as toothpaste from baking soda (which she thought was gross when she learnt from her then boyfriend), lotion and deodorant.
3. She does her shopping from secondhand shops. This act will not only benefit the buyer’s side but also hers as she would not be making new trash.
4. She learnt to downsize her items by only keeping what she needed thus eliminating her sentimental values (she claims she used to keep even a toothpick just to reminisce a memory).
After all this hassle, what has she gained? Miraculously, aside from the obvious number one, there is more than meets the eye from this lifestyle.
1. She saved a lot of money. Undoubtedly, she did not pay for the embedded cost of packaging which is the plastic of all roots in our modern society. Secondhand thrifting lessened her clothing spree and downsizing her belongings has made her think twice of her impulse.
2. She learnt to eat better. Her weight throughout the three years had stabilized, she ate accordingly to the food pyramid and her diet was much healthier with the intake of fresh produce.
3. She became a refreshed version of herself. Her need of sleep had decreased, she felt happier, and her energy levels boosted.
4. The most important part of the whole process, she was in direct alignment with her values of a graduated environmentalist student.
Nearing the end of the video, she gave some helpful tips for everyone to start off their own zero waste lifestyle:
1. Look at your trash. Food packaging can be replaced with bags, product packaging by your own self-made products, and organic waste should be used as compost.
2. Picking at the low hanging fruit (it’s a metaphor). The meaning of the said sentence is to start off with the little things. For instance, using a reusable bag at the store.
3. YouTube and Pinterest are just a click and a few keystrokes away from all the ‘green’ handicrafts. By doing this step, as Lauren states, you can change the ingredients and the scent of a certain item to your liking.
To sum it up, it’s a matter of clearing up your laziness from your procrastinating personality or let it grow to bloom into a garden of the unceasing plastic imprint of your life. Remember, using just a reusable bag at the store can eliminate 700 disposable wastage of plastic bags. In short, the zero-waste lifestyle should be applicable to all students and citizens alike in making our environment cleaner.
 Why I live a zero waste life | Lauren Singer | TEDxTeen, Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF72px2R3Hg
 Bea Johnson’s Blog, Available at https://zerowastehome.com/
Written by: Nur Adriana binti Mohd Nizam