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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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