How We Got Here

Zero Waste. The term itself sounds extreme. Zero. NONE! Role models like Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer lead impressive lives, but those lives seem unobtainable for many of us. Choosing such a intensely sustainable lifestyle can require a rare combination of free time, financial stability, access to resources, and a lull in other responsibilities that many people never experience. So is Zero Waste only for the few? Possibly. Does that mean you should give up on trying to live more sustainably? No!

Living sustainably is not an all-or-nothing lifestyle choice. Most of us can make at least small changes in how we live to reduce trash and pollution. Our family is far from perfect, but we do what we can. Sometimes situations change and we find we can do more (or less) to reduce waste, and that’s alright. In 2019, we would load our groceries into our own reusable bags and go bulk food shopping with our own jars. Then COVID-19 happened and we couldn’t do those things.

Setbacks happen, and we’re sure the pandemic has set many like-minded people back. Finding ways to keep our trash levels low is harder now. Honestly, for a while, we took a break from it. Then, to avoid going into the store, we started using the curb-side pickup service our grocery store offers. They have an app where you can select which products you want. It isn’t always clear which product has the best (i.e. smallest or most recyclable) packaging from the pictures in the app (I couldn’t tap on the bottle to confirm it was plastic or glass any more.) but it was better than nothing. The pickers didn’t always honor my “Do not bag.” request on each product, but often they did. I was able to take action to cut back on the single-use packaging I was responsible for.

It felt good to make progress again, but it was work, and I’m sure, with everything else going on, many people don’t have the band-width to make that extra effort. Sometimes you just need to buy groceries. And we are just one family. Real change requires real numbers. I wanted to help other people find ways to make less trash, but I was all too aware how hard it could be. So how can we make it easy?

The pandemic made many of us more comfortable with online shopping. I was already mindful of packaging and the materials used to make the products I buy. It was sometimes a hassle, time, work. I’ve visited web sites that specialize in sustainable products, but they are always very focused (hygiene, cleaning products, cutlery) and often for a single company. Searching the Internet for these islands of sustainability is just the sort of extra effort many people don’t manage to do. If only there was a nice, obvious “Sustainable Products” filter standard on all e-commerce sites. Maybe some day there will be. So what do we do until then?

Welcome to MakeLessTrash.com. We provide a curated collection of a wide variety of products from a wide variety of companies, all selected to minimize or eliminate single-use packaging and promote products made from renewable or at least recyclable materials. Now you can shop here first and know that everything you see has been reviewed with sustainability in mind so you don’t have to. We’ll do our best to add more products and improve things over time, but this is a start. We hope you join us on this journey together.

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