In the month of May I’m refusing coffee on the go, saying no to candy bars, passing up gum, avoiding Amazon, and striving for zero waste. No I’m not some masochist who wants to be under caffeinated with stinky breath and deprived of all the joys that come with online shopping...I’m doing this to waste less.

Striving for zero waste means I’m living my life in a way that generates as little waste to landfill as possible (and really as little waste to recycling and compost as possible for reasons I’ll explain in a later post). And I’ve upped the ante by doing it for a cause: raising money for Food Recovery Network.

Why zero waste?

  • Garbage is bad. Nothing EVER really goes away. When we put things in a bin to be hauled off our trash doesn’t actually disappear. At best it gets piled in a landfill where it never breaks down and while sitting there it emits greenhouse gasses. At worst it escapes and finds it’s way into our waterways and oceans poisoning our environment, destroying habitats, and polluting our beautiful world.

  • When we waste ANYTHING, we waste all the precious resources and energy that went into producing that product.

  • It’s actually not that hard to go zero waste. It’s something we can all do. It’s painful to hear about the effects of climate change every day and feel powerless. I will not stand by while our world is enveloped in trash, I can and will take action. This is empowering, I can make a difference.

Why for a cause?

  • Accountability. It’s motivating to do the right thing when it’s for something greater than me.

  • Community. It’s better when we’re all in this together. I can learn from you, you can learn from me, and we can be better and do better because of it.

  • Cause duh! Food Recovery Network is an extension of my zero waste values, they’re an organization empowering students to recover excess food that traditionally would go to waste, and redistribute it to people in need. My heart is 100% behind that mission.

Rules to live by

So the zero waste challenge works like this: for the month of May I’m going to try not to create any landfill waste. When I do, I have to put a $1 in a jar to donate to FRN (think of it like a swear jar, but my problem isn’t a dirty mouth, it’s a dirty garbage bin).

And to make things fun, if you donate $15 or more to FRN during this challenge, I will extend the challenge another day.

And to really increase the stakes, if you donate $15 or more to FRN and you pledge to strive for zero waste too, I will donate an additional $1 for each piece of landfill trash I generate during the challenge.

Throughout the month I’ll share tips on how to reduce waste in your own life through my successes and blunders. My goal is three-fold:

  1. Waste less in my own life

  2. Inspire you to waste less in your own life

  3. Raise over a $1,000 for FRN in the process

“The world doesn’t need saving. The world needs folks who are willing to save themselves and be humble enough to serve when and where they are needed.” - Chani Nicholas

I’m not going to save the world by going zero waste, but I’m asking you to join me in saving ourselves from trash with the hope that in changing our habits and empowering organizations like FRN who serve when and where they are needed, we can make this world a better place. Will you join me?