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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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