EcoFellows (try to) Live Zero Waste for a Week

When thinking of living a zero waste lifestyle, mainstream media pictures a mason jar with years of trash stuffed inside. This is a popular approach for bloggers who, after maximizing recycling, donation, compost, and purchasing reduction opportunities, provide a visualization of their impact by fitting the leftover waste in a jar. We wrote a blog on how this extreme zero waste lifestyle might not be the most accessible way to reduce waste as individuals. The associated cost, time, local infrastructure, and location are some of the most notable barriers. Taking this information into account, our EcoFellows – Becky (BK), Morgan (ML), Olivia (OH), Jonathan (JR), and Natasha (NN) – challenged themselves to live zero waste for a week to see what it was like! The goals were to test the feasibility of living the stereotypical zero waste mason jar lifestyle as young professionals in Western Massachusetts, as well as understand the challenges and successes for each person.

For seven days, each EcoFellow kept a list of all of the waste they produced, making note of what could theoretically be composted and recycled in our area. Throughout the challenge, they actively thought about reducing waste and made changes accordingly. Some of the areas of waste tracked included food and associated packaging, hygiene products, receipts, and cleaning materials.

The responses below to speak to each fellow’s experience. All five live in Northampton, so the physical infrastructure and location are relatively standardized. This area has multiple stores with bulk sections, a plastic bag ban, and a progressive mindset towards sustainability and environmental issues in general, which many of them found to be beneficial during their zero waste week.

Read More»

Is the Zero Waste Lifestyle Possible for Me?

Mason jars, stainless steel straws, and reusable shopping bags. Most of us have heard of these items as tools to help us reduce waste in our daily lives. In fact, the Center for EcoTechnology has written a few blogs about this concept of zero waste before, highlighting ways to incorporate waste free actions into our routines and special events. These ideas are practical and helpful but in this blog, we want to take a step back and look at why they might not be possible or accessible to all demographics.

What is zero waste?

Most cohesively, zero waste is a movement to reduce the amount that individuals and communities consume and consequently throw away. A zero waste lifestyle promotes a circular economy, one that is sustainable and functional for long-term use. It encourages more complex thinking about the resources we use and utilizes concepts like reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting as potential solutions.

zero waste

Read More»

Make Your 4th of July Red, White, Blue, and GREEN!

Summer is here, and party season is in full swing. With Independence Day just around the corner, there are preparations to be made! We have some tips to help you save some money, reduce your waste, and make your 4th of July green, as well as red, white, and blue!

fireworks

Planning

  • Bring reusable bags while shopping for supplies and food.
  • Ask guests to RSVP so that you can get the right amount of food and drinks. This will reduce wasted food and also prevent you from spending unnecessary money.
  • Choose natural or reusable decorations and reduce buying plastic items that will be thrown away.
Read More»

Creative Reuse Project: Transform your Magazines!

Creative Reuse Project: Transform your Magazines!

By: Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

According to the EPA, roughly 350 million magazines are printed every year. However, only about 33% of paper products are recycled! Recycling magazines is a great way to reduce waste, however, you can also use them for many other purposes! Recently, we turned old magazines into a DIY coaster and colorful envelopes! See how we made them below! We also featured a demonstration on WWLP’s MassAppeal show. Check it out!

Read More»

What is the Zero Waste Lifestyle?

Go Zero Waste with a Reusable Water BottleBy Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Zero Waste is a movement to reduce the amount one consumes and consequently throws away. Adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways of living. Zero Waste lifestyle choices influence all environmental areas by preventing resource extraction, reducing the amount of materials sent to the landfill or incinerator, and reducing pollution from producing, transporting, or disposing of materials.

Read More»
Next Events
Newsletter
* indicates required