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This Is How A Girl Reduced Her Trash To Nearly Zero In 2 Years

This Is How A Girl Reduced Her Trash To Nearly Zero In 2 Years

In the 1967 movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman’s character gets a one-word-description of the future. This word is: Plastics.

Yes, plastic stuff was revolutionary at one time, but not on the day that 23-year-old Laura Singer opened her fridge and saw that most of the things therein were contained in disposable plastics. A self-professed green-girl since the day her Environmental Studies class at New York University inspired Laura to care about the world around her, she felt like a great big hypocrite upon realizing her own waste-producing footprint.

Instead of scoffing and getting mad at the girl who brought disposable plastic everything for lunch each day to class – Laura began taking steps to reduce her own trash levels, which have reached nearly zero in the two years since she began this journey. Here’s how she reduced her trash to nearly zero in two years:

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1. She brought her own bags to the supermarkets

Instead of getting a freshly ripped-off-the-rack dozen plastic bags every time she went grocery shopping, Laura brought her own reusable bags with her to the store, which might be one of the easiest ways to get started on reducing trash, because most people have a big reusable bag that would suffice for groceries. If you don’t have a reusable bag in your closet, you can buy them at lots of grocery stores.

2. She bought healthier foods

Laura stopped buying a lot of prepackaged foods, which means her diet immediately became healthier. She bought lots of organic fruits and veggies – and began to visit farmer’s markets more often. As a result, all of the packages that would’ve gone in the trash were non-existent in her shopping world.

3. She shopped at second-hand clothing stores

A great way to recycle clothing is to visit second-hand clothing stores – which is what Laura began doing instead of always running to the mall for the newest off-the-rack fare. Indeed, not only can wearing what has already been in a person’s wardrobe help save money, but buying gently-used or never-worn clothing at second-hand stores can lower the waste involved in clothes producing processes. There are many second-hand and thrift stores like Clothes Mentor where you can buy cheap but cute clothes..

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4. She sold off her old clothes

Speaking of Laura buying second-hand clothing, she also reduced her trash levels by getting rid of old clothing and selling parts of her wardrobe that she hadn’t been wearing anyway in recent years.

So go ahead and sell clothes that you don’t wear anymore to thrift stores, so that other people will find joy in them. Clearing up clutter – like the 10 pairs of jeans Laura hadn’t worn since high school – helps benefit our environment because it represents less junk to clean

5. She just said “no” to creature comforts

Normally we don’t think twice about saying yes when grabbing takeout food, and we’re offered a straw, fork or spoon. Laura began to say “no” to these things, even paper receipts that she’d just end up throwing away.

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6. She made her own personal care and cleaning products

Laura began reading the Zero Waste Home blog, which taught her to hone her trash-reducing skills, and continue making her own toothpaste and other personal care products as well as cleaning products. To make your own products has many benefits: you reduce waste, you know what’s in your products and you have an oppurtunity to get creative.

She discovered that her life got better

In the end, Laura realized that her life was better as a result of her nearly zero-waste adopted lifestyle. Not only wasn’t there a need to rent a dumpster to clear out the piles of garbage accumulated from wasteful living, Laura also recognized that she began planning her life better. She stopped running out for cosmetic products at the last minute because she always had something to scrub, Laura figured out that planning her grocery store trips for the week and buying in bulk saved her lots of trips to the store and lots of money.

The zero-waste lifestyle might not fit everyone, but tips from Laura’s lifestyle can help get us to think about ways to be less wasteful.

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Featured photo credit: Beth Tribe via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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