Zero waste proponents place much of the blame for the Earth’s current woes on our “throw-away” society.

They have a point. Our focus on consumerism, resource commodification and materialism has certainly done a number on the ecology.

But what if humans could shift away from this mindset?

What if unlimited economic growth began to be seen the way we see unlimited growth in the body – a condition known as cancer? Despite what most economists continue to say,  unlimited economic growth is beginning to be viewed as a threat, not only to our planet, but to our entire species. Thus, now may actually be the time to start talking about this.

The R’s of  Zero Waste

And if we begin to agree that zero-waste is a goal we would like to attain, how exactly would we attain it? Zero waste proponents espouse a lifestyle built around more than reducing, re-using and recycling. By making a few more lifestyle changes, many have been able to reduce their yearly trash output so much that it fits into a quart-sized mason jar.

Marianne and I are joined by Brad Rowland of the blog Highly Uncivilized, to discuss the topic of zero waste. Our brainstorm about what a zero-waste world might look like leads to a discussion of practical steps each one of us can take on the journey toward a trash-free lifestyle – from making our own food and cleaning supplies to making more informed purchasing choices to composting.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

A good portion of the discussion focuses on the R’s as listed by the Zero Waste Home website.  For a more comprehensive list of 100 tips for reducing waste, please check it out.  You can also view a summary of the tips we discuss in the podcast, here.

We invite you to share your own tips in the comments section below and take Marianne’s “R” challenge by spending one week looking at all your daily consumption habits with the waste minimizing R tips in mind.

While fitting all of your yearly trash into a mason jar may not be possible right now, every journey begins with that first step.  And each small step can have a profound impact, especially when taken by many people.  And who knows? There may come a day when that mason jar trash can won’t look quite so impossible.



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