You Should Aim To Lead A Zero-Waste Lifestyle, And Here’s Why

Listen up, y’all – the United States has an unbelievably huge problem with waste.

As a country we generate about 30 percent of the world’s garbage, but the American population represents only five percent of the world’s population. So 30% of the world’s garbage is way too much for us to be tossing away.

First, let’s put these disappointing numbers into perspective – because how much is 30% of the world’s garbage? Well, the average American will personally throw away 600 times his or her body weight of garbage, which is about 90,000 pounds of trash for the average adult.

Don’t believe it? Think about how much waste you produce on a regular day – plastic water bottles, paper coffee cups, paper napkins, clothing tags, and all the packaging you throw out – the list goes on and on because we live in a very disposable society.

And sitting back and accepting this trash problem is hardly the answer. In fact with a few adjustments living a zero-waste lifestyle is very possible. It will take a little planning and a lot of (imagination), but it is possible.

So if Americans adopt only a few of these trash-reducing habits, we could save billions of tons of trash from landfills, in addition to improving air and water quality. Plus, we’ll even save some money, too. Check out these helpful tips to change your tossing habits.


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Photo courtesy of

There are so, so many ways to reduce your trash footprint in the world of food. For example, when you go grocery shopping, buy in bulk and bring environmentally friendly containers – reusable bags for dried goods, jars for wet items such as deli meat or peanut butter, and bottles for liquids such as oil or soy sauce. And don’t forget those reusable bags!


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Photo courtesy of

Simplify your cleaning supplies, which will eliminate so much plastic bottle waste. Try alternative homemade methods, such as white vinegar and baking soda. And by making your own supplies, you will also be avoiding dangerous chemicals found in so many cleaning products.


By Meredith Kress
By Meredith Kress

Buy better quality clothing – it will last longer, and you will be more likely to fix it rather than tossing it if you rip it a lil. Or hit up your favorite thrift store to purchase secondhand clothing – it’s cheaper, plus it has some character.

Make Up

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Photo courtesy of

Make your own cosmetics. We have a super cool guide here. It will save so much on packaging, plus you’ll be avoiding all those nasty chemicals found in many, many make up brands.


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Photo courtesy of

There are so many disposable items that we use to keep ourselves fresh, but by making a few changes, you can cut back on so much garbage. For example, use 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper, use a wooden compostable toothbrush, buy bulk shampoo and conditioner, and use a safety razor and shaving soap.

So before you embark on your new lifestyle, be prepared. Get yourself a reuseable water bottle, a few grocery totes, and enough reuseable jars and bottles for storing bulk foods and various cleaning supplies.

You got this, girl!

Image Via Alison Carroll

Megan Prendergast

Editorial Contributor, University of Texas at Austin Major: English/PR Her heart belongs to: her family, friends, chocolate and avocados. Her guilty pleasures: Lofthouse Sugar Cookies and The Bachelorette.

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