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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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