On Thursday, Nov. 5th, “zero-waste” advocate Lauren Singer spoke to students, faculty, and staff about the importance of living an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Singer, who graduated from NYU with a degree in Environmental Studies, has lived waste-free for the past three years. She accomplished her goal by refraining from purchasing plastic wrapped products, creating her own concoctions, buying second hand clothing, and purchasing food items from farmers’ markets.
“How many of you think it will be hard to live a zero-waste life?” Singer asked at the Trash is for Tossers event. The majority of attendees raised their hands in the room. As a result, she gave the vast crowd pointers on how to prepare, transform, and maintain a trash free lifestyle.
Singer believes the path to producing no wastes is never ending and the transformation is not simple. She provided the audience with two steps to cease their contribution to landfill wastes and make their conversion a “smoother one:” (1) Evaluate yourself. Figure out what waste you are producing and determine some motives that encourage you to generate less waste. By determining your reason, it allows you to stick to your goal and not drift from accomplishing it. (2) Refrain from purchasing products sold in plastic. Singer advised her audience to create their own products. This will save money and naturally, you’ll refrain from purchasing plastic wrapped products because you’re making your own.
Singer mentioned that many think some products usually bought in plastic are impossible to not purchase, specifically produce. One method she followed during her lifestyle change was shopping at farmers markets, which allows you to avoid packaging. They also help you develop a healthier diet.
“My weight stabilized, I have more energy, [and] I need less sleep,” Singer said.
She also began creating her own toiletry concoctions like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and shampoo. After accomplishing these steps, Singer found it easier to exclude plastic from her life and discovered there were health benefits too.
“My teeth have never felt so clean,” Singer shared. During her appearance on a TEDxTeen talk, she said, “By making my own products, I have complete control over what I’m putting in my body.”
Many wondered how Singer made her own ingredients. At Trash is for Tossers, she shared with the audience one of her recipes. “I mix baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil to make my toothpaste.”
No only do you save money, but you’re more environmentally friendly too. For example, a tube of toothpaste typically costs $4 at the store, yet making it homemade with baking soda costs half as much!
Singer has created her own website, Simply Co., and makes and sells natural and organic laundry detergent and cotton balls.
UWT freshman, Jonathan Odom, who attended Trash is for Tossers, says that Singer’s presentation will inspire him “to buy from more farmers markets” to stop the amount of plastic that he uses.
Some other ideas recommended by Singer are to purchase second hand clothing, and downsizing only keeping what is a necessity. “I stopped buying new clothing,” Singer said. “Everything I wear and everything I own is second hand. I don’t purchase any new clothing anymore because there’s enough clothes already in the waste-stream. I feel the need to reuse what’s already out there. Then, I can adequately dispose of it by doing things like textile recycling or mending things that are a little bit ripped or a little bit broken instead of throwing them away.”
“When you have fewer things,” Singer says in her TEDxTeen speech, “you take better care of them.” Downsizing also makes it easier to clean and reduces the amount of clutter.
Although the steps to living waste-free might seem difficult, Singer says that the lifestyle is “simple, cost-effective, timely, fun, and entirely possible.”
If this radical alteration still does not sound pleasant, there are still many changes you can make with minuscule effort. Simply start recycling. Bottles and paper take little time to recycle and can make a difference in our environment. Carrying a water bottle wherever you go can also be a beneficial step to remain hydrated all day and reduce your usage of plastic bottles.
For more information on Singer herself, tips for reducing your carbon footprint,
and living a healthier, more Earthfriendly lifestyle, check out