What is waste? Waste is defined as something that is "eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required after the completion of a process." When you throw something away, or when it sits in your closet for months on end with no purpose, it is waste. As an environmentalist, I am willing to try just about anything to reduce my waste and my carbon footprint. How do the two relate? When waste is thrown away, it usually ends up in a landfill - where it sits. Forever. It is likely to degrade over time, but when it degrades chemicals are often released into the surrounding. These chemicals aren't released in large enough amounts to kill you, but enough is released to contribute to the increase of green house gases in our air. Hence, if you reduce your waste, you are 1. reducing the amount of eventual greenhouse gases in the air, and 2. being more efficient with your money! In fact, if you want to read about five easy ways to be more efficient, click right here!
At the beginning of the semester, I always try to set myself some goals. Usually, these goals are school related, but this semester I have a goal relating to the environment - I want to live with the least amount of waste. Why? Well, I have two reasons. The first reason should be obvious if you've made it this far in my article - I want to reduce my carbon footprint and waste on this planet. The second reason is a bit more personal - I feel that reducing the clutter in my life, the overall amount of things in my life, will help me feel a little more in control.
There are a lot of articles online that will tell you this is a good way to "reduce toxins" and such in your life, but I do not believe them. One, they do not have any evidence to back themselves up, and as a person of science, I want some evidence to support your statement (and not just anecdotal evidence). Secondly, I have a liver. My liver works just fine, meaning that my liver does a pretty good job of excreting any toxins that are in my body. Give your liver some credit - you don't need to "detox" your body. Lastly, if all this waste was truly toxic to us, we would all be dead. Just a little disclaimer for everyone.
So there you have it - I want to go a whole semester without making trash. At this point, you are probably wondering what this means. Well, no trash-living is a lifestyle where people try to live without creating waste. Basically, it's a game of "Is this recyclable?" or "Is this reusable?" I guess this is a personal declaration: each week I want to try a new way to reduce waste, so by the end of the semester, I will be living a life with a lot less clutter. My first goal: trying to eat foods without wrappers or throw away material.