I recycle. I carefully separate my trash from the things that can be recycled and make sure that everything goes in the proper place.
I have reduced my waste by at least 7/10ths in the last five years and I thought I was doing pretty well until I read this article by Lauren Singer. Lauren’s efforts toward creating zero waste are impressive. Lauren has gone two years without creating any waste.
There is a debate about zero waste and if it is possible in the US. However, Stephen Suess writes that zero waste didn’t start in California, it started in Europe where the landfills are scarce and in Australia who had a “Zero Waste by 2010” initiative. Austria already has a 90% reduction in waste. In the US, businesses like Xerox, Dupont, Anderson Carpets, Patagonia, and the Mad River Brewing are all working toward zero waste, with several at 80-90%.
Mr. Suess points out that 44% of Americans recycle at least once a week, proving that the idea of recycling has public support, in fact most people see no reason to even talk about it anymore. Recycling is a generally accepted as a problem that is already solved.
Taking the next step forward, folks like Lauren are leading the way to a country that also accepts that zero waste is not only possible, it is practiced widely.