Lauren Singer, 23, has made quite an impact in the world of sustainable living by changing her lifestyle in order to reduce the amount of waste she produces. In the past two years, Singer has produced such a minuscule amount of trash that it can all fit inside a small mason jar. In a country where the average person produces 4.3 pounds of trash in just one day and nearly 1600 pounds of trash in one year, Singer’s accomplishment is pretty remarkable.
Singer said that she decided to start living a “zero waste” lifestyle when she was a senior at New York University. She was earning her degree in environmental studies, and she says that one evening she opened her refrigerator to cook dinner and noticed that almost everything in there was packaged in plastic containers, which caused her to feel like a hypocrite. Singer said that she was supposed to be someone who was an advocate for saving the planet, yet she was generating all of this trash. She thinks it is important to live by your values, and she values having an extremely low environmental impact.
Singer’s “zero waste” lifestyle requires her to forego any products that cannot be used as compost or could potentially end up in a landfill. This means eliminating everyday products like shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant from her life. But the resourceful college graduate doesn’t have to do without these things because she makes her own. She explained that she makes her own toothpaste by mixing together two tablespoons of coconut oil, a tablespoon of baking soda, and roughly 20 drops of organic peppermint oil. Singer also does all of her grocery shopping package free, which means she has to bring something to carry the food that she cannot hold in her hands. For instance, she says that she buys olive oil in bulk and brings a mason jar to fill it up. She also uses reusable grocery bags to carry it all in.
For others who want to reduce the amount of waste they produce, Singer suggests first looking through your garbage to see where the majority of your waste is coming from. She says that until you do this you won’t really know what you are reducing. The next step in reducing your trash is using reusable products, such as cloth shopping bags. And the last thing she suggests, is making the products that you would normally buy pre-packaged at the store on your own. These would include things like toothpaste and shampoo. Singer says that her ultimate goal is to motivate people to reduce the amount of trash they produce because we have to find solutions for the problem before it gets out of control.