You Can Live Without Producing Trash

LAURA LING: The average
American produces
4.3 pounds of trash a day.
That’s almost 1600
pounds a year,
but if we took
some simple steps,
we could go off the
trash grid and minimize
thousands of pounds of waste
into just a single jar.

this is my trash jar.
LAURA LING: Two years of
trash in this tiny little jar.
LAURA LING: That’s crazy.
I probably produce 20
times this much in a day.
is everything basically
that I couldn’t compost, or
couldn’t recycle, or couldn’t
figure out what to do with.
LAURA LING: Where did you get
this idea to become zero waste.
kind of all started
when I was a senior at NYU
studying environmental studies.
And one day after class, I
went home to make dinner,
and I open my fridge, and I
saw that everything in there
was packaged in plastic.
And I felt like
such a hypocrite.
We’re supposed to be
saving the planet,
and here you are making
all of this trash.
I feel like it’s really
important to live your values,
and my values are
having a really low
environmental impact.
I have to live like I want
that, and so that’s why I
decided to change my lifestyle.
LAURA LING: What was the easiest
part about reducing your waste?
think it was just
seeing that I didn’t have
to do that much to produce
very little waste, and by
composting and buying in bulk,
I essentially eliminated
80% of my waste.
Buying package
free means needing
to have containers to
buy things that you
can’t hold with your hands.
For instance, I
buy bulk olive oil,
so I bring a mason
jar to fill it up.
I’ll pick up some beer from
a local shop that sells it
in growlers that are
actually reusable,
so that’s a totally
waste free way to drink.

LAURA LING: I imagine you
get asked a lot of questions
about how do you do this.
I’ve been curious
about a few things.
I’m going to throw out
a few questions too.
Plastic toothbrushes?
compostable bamboo toothbrush.
LAURA LING: Sponges?
compostable dish brush.
LAURA LING: Paper towels?
LAUREN SINGER: Cotton napkins.
LAURA LING: Plastic cookware?
stainless steel utensils?
LAURA LING: Cotton balls?
Reusable cotton rounds.
LAURA LING: Dryer sheets?
balls that I make myself.
LAURA LING: What about shampoo?
Bulk castile soap.
LAUREN SINGER: Organic vegan
makeup in recyclable packaging.
LAURA LING: Feminine products?
LAUREN SINGER: Menstrual cup.
LAURA LING: Gift wrap?
LAURA LING: OK, so you
are going to teach me
how to make toothpaste.
LAURA LING: What do I do?
we’re going to mix
two tablespoons of
organic coconut oil,
and then a tablespoon
of baking soda, and then
about 20 drops of the
organic peppermint oil.
LAURA LING: So this is how
you make your toothpaste.
me see your teeth.
They look very nice.
LAURA LING: What does your
dentist think about this?
LAUREN SINGER: They haven’t
gotten mad at me yet.
So I’ll just take this spoon
and scoop it onto my toothbrush.

LAURA LING: It’s not bad.
It’s actually kind of salty.
that’s the baking soda.
LAURA LING: Yeah, my teeth
really do feel cleaner.
So, thank you.
So do you have any garbage
cans in your home here?
LAUREN SINGER: No, I don’t have
any garbage cans in my home.
LAURA LING: Because you
don’t have any garbage.
really does compel
me to want to try
to reduce my waste.
So what tips can you
give me or somebody else
that wants to do that as well?
LAUREN SINGER: I would suggest
look in your garbage can
and see what your
garbage is, and until you
do that, you don’t really
know what you’re reducing.
Step two, using a reusable bags
instead of a plastic or paper
Just easy one time changes.
And then the last one
would be to actually
make your products yourself.
So learn how to make toothpaste.
Learn how to make deodorant.
It’s a really fun thing to do.
your ultimate goal?
I lived my lifestyle,
I wonder why is there all
this trash and why is that OK?
We have to find solutions
before it gets out of control.
I’ve never told anyone, oh,
you should live this lifestyle
or you have to live this way.
I kind of just
live my lifestyle,
put it out there,
and see what happens.

LAURA LING: Be sure to check
out another episode of “Going
Off Grid” with Mike Basich and
his 225 square foot tiny home.
MIKE BASICH: I like to
think of it as getting back
to the basics of humanity.
I like feeling
connected to the earth.
LAURA LING: This episode is
a part of seeker stories.
We’re trying to bring you cool
stories from around the world,
but in order to do that,
you need to subscribe.
So please click on that button,
and thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “You Can Live Without Producing Trash

  1. We have started the process in Bharat (India) also.
    This is indeed a great start. I have developed a report which will give you an idea how the Zero Waste Village is developed. Pls email me to get a copy @ [email protected] or [email protected]

    Vivek Vyas
    Director of 10 Billion Trees Plantation Program 
    Satso Abundance Initiative (CRS initiative of SEOPPL, Singapore)
    (Our CRS vision: Beautiful, Abundant and Strong Bharat,
    Our CRS missions: 10 Billion Trees Plantation Program and Landscape Bharat Movement)

  2. Uh, thought down here in the comments someone would've mentioned white privilege and affluence making this task easier. Guess I'm that asshole.

  3. You can also poop and let it dry till it becomes dust then mix it with boiling water and drink it like coffee :),you can try not me 😉

  4. 👏🏼 👏🏼 👏🏼 👏🏼
    "gift wrap"


  5. In India if you can throw your plastic to a dustbin it will be very good and they will be call environmentalist

  6. She says she doesn't have any garbage can but where do you throw away stuff like banana peels?
    And what if you want to buy pasta or something already done like ravioli?

  7. I call bullshit on this – no middle class woman in good condition with good hair and make up and new clothes can live this way and claim waste that small in two years. It's bullshit. I believe its good to try to reduce waste but her carbon miles to run around to all those stores where she gets thing filled into her bottles are contributing to waste too. Donating old clothes to charity may contribute to waste. She needs to live in the forest and grow here own food, keep sheep and spin wool to make her own clothes, slaughter farm animals and not travel further than she can walk to not create waste. That t-shirt she is wearing has many carbon miles and factory waste associated with it. This is self righteous bullshit.

  8. I have no bulk shops nearby… I have, but they are sooooo expensive that it´s impossible to feed a 5 member family with them.

  9. It is amazing that you have managed this, but, no, it's not really fun and where does one find the time to make all their own products? There is no bulk market and no convenient compost near me in my neighborhood even though I live in one of the outer boroughs of New York City. I already spend large chunks of time prepping my own food for the week after having combed through the local groceries trying to find the food I can eat packaged in something other than plastic. Until the huge companies join in on this zero waste effort, we are struggling to make a difference in every tiny way we can.

  10. Appreciated great approach
    .. I am trying the same way from last few years but she is amazing ….hats off playing her role to save the planet earth….😎😎😎

  11. This is inspiring! But let's remember you don't have to go to this extreme to make an impact. Next time you take out the trash, just make a mental note of some of your biggest sources of trash and try to recycle, compost, or reduce them. If everyone just did a small, painless improvement, we'd make a huge difference. My family of 4 generates one small kitchen bag of trash per week. THAT level is not hard to achieve.

  12. I don't know in the U.S or other country… but in Indonesia is not really hard to buy a food groceries without plastic but what really hard is to buy a home cleansing product such as ditergent, shampoo, carbolic (fir mop the floor) etc.. because that product always pack in a plastic.. and me myself have to buy it every month

  13. I watched this video in my class the day that there was tampons and pads that said help your self in the girls bathroom so there was already drama but then when it said feminine’s products and she was holding tampons the boys were like “waaaaaaaaaaaaa” and I was like omg 😯

  14. Somebody mentioned about not agreeing with her? How could you not agree with anything she does? She is hoping to save the earth. And doing a lot to help that. What’s not to like?

  15. if she can reduce waste to a fraction of a percent, why can't the rest of us and businesses.. auto repair shops throw away tons of oil bottles

  16. This person tries hard,
    Sadly the west actually dose not process the material.
    They ship it to Asia
    You don't even want to know what happens with that
    But your recycling is in the Pacific, or burned in the open.
    Not much gets processed because of wish recycling and fantasy of being good

  17. You can tell she's staying true to her values. Look at her arms, she doesn't even bother to shave.

  18. I am nowhere near zero waste but I want to start using the market to bulk buy food without packaging.
    My family and I use reusable bags, recycled toilet paper.
    I am guilty to admit that my mum and I been using bamboo toothbrushes and that yesterday, my mum bought me an electric one (because the bristles did not last long). I used the electrical one today but I will probably go back to using my bamboo toothbrush as my teeth did not feel cleaner after using the electrical one. However, buying most of my clothes second hand probably helps as well as being a vegan. When I start University, I am not going to throw away my flashcards and notes. I am going to give them away to someone who is starting their A levels.

  19. It’s not true NOT TRUE that u live crating no trash, that is really impossible. But of course u can try creating less trash as possible. The trash that u called “Recycling trash” it’s a trash that u can’t leave with out crating it every month that’s normal.

  20. My reply to the people that use a family cloth as toilet paper. That's gross of you all sharing the same rag to wipe your shitty asses even if you guys wash it. I can imagine all the bacteria, and infections. At least own your own cloth geez.

  21. It's great and all but good lord put that dishbrush to use! Your dishes haven't seen water nor brush in years 3:57

  22. This young woman is not only very inspiring, but she is so beautiful. Her skin glows with good health, and one senses a deep inner happiness. She should be lecturing on TV and showing people how to manufacture their own hygiene products. Bravo!

  23. she uses vegan makeup but then eat eggs, when eating animals (and animals products) is the biggest contamination.

  24. I’m now starting for go as zero waste as possible or atleast plastic waste I’ve already cleared out my room and looked up her website for alternatives and I’m about to make her homemade toothpaste! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and I’ve finally had the guts so I’m ready for it! Any tips on how to persuade my family to support me on this? 💛💛💛💛

  25. She's such an inspiration to people! I know I would make it through a week of doing that, but I think we should all at least reduce you waste by a small bit

  26. Pretty women. Well, I'm south american, I recycle as much as I can and, the most important, I got no offspring and tell young people avoid having children.

  27. Sure if you eat like a farmed goat, live in a all alone parking lot can go to the bathroom in the
    lake across the street
    And eat like a pig on some private island and go naked sure idiot but you will still make garbage. So you really think you can live even for a week with no garbage…well then you are a bloody moron

  28. Indians already are using the plastic alternatives except for toothpaste , fmcg and cosmetic items .

  29. She is lying. What about packaging for food and new "usable" things like soaps, new devices and other? Even i produce one full trash can every two-three months! (their size is ~one big plastic bag)

  30. In the time it takes her to do these things, there are other things she could do for the environment that would be more beneficial. Join an organization that cleans up streams and rivers. Join an organization that plants trees (they are out there). Plant a garden if you have space. Bicycle and walk as much as possible. And aren't the recycling bins supposed to keep down the volume in the landfills. I segregate my garbage so very little goes to the landfill. And keep this in mind. Over 90% of the material in our landfills is building material.

  31. DO NOT USE CASTILE SOAP ON YOUR HAIR. That is excruciatingly stupid. Soap is alkaline and will chew up your hair. Hers probably feels like straw at this point. The toothpaste is even dumber.

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