Trash trimming: A Hardcore eco-challenge goes mainstream

BlogHer Original Post

If I could just keep the promises I made to myself in the morning until the evening, I'd feel my life had more of a sense of progress. But apparently other enviro thinkers are a lot better at setting and keeping long term eco-goals -- so much better, in fact, that they go so far as to not just set serious week-long eco-goals, but to set hardcore year-long goals -- and declare their intention to follow through on them on CNN.

The latest 24-7-365 eco-blogger's Amy Korst from Green Garbage Project, a woman in Dallas, Oregon, who -- along with her husband Adam, their dog Kavik, and cats Lexy and Neptune -- has vowed to create no trash for an entire year -- from July 6, 2009 to July 6, 2010.

black garbage trash bags

Well, more realistically, the self-described "(fairly) typical American married couple" is aiming for just "one plastic grocery sack (or less) of garbage bound for the landfill" for a year. That means that, in addition to the bagful of landfill crap, the family won't count anything that can go in the recycling bin as "trash." This is still a huge feat! I just feel compelled to mention the recycling bit simply because many eco-thinking garbage collectors -- BlogHer's own Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish included -- use their anti-trash challenges to point out that recycling in itself -- especially recycling of plastics -- isn't exactly benign to the environment.

Still, Amy and her family seem serious about drastically cutting back on trash -- while appearing, well, normal. "We are NOT cancelling our regular trash pickup, burning illegally or uncleanly, composting meat/feces, or storing anything unsanitary," announces the eco-family on the Green Garbage Project blog. "We will still be using prescription products, oral contraceptives, over-the-counter medicines, and contact lenses."

And very importantly from a social perspective, Amy and her family won't act like assholes when it comes to gifts people give them. They'll take gifts, even if overpackaged -- and simply save the wasteful remains along with all the other trash -- "with the sole exceptions of cat litter, meat/bones, and hazardous car/household waste if this arises."

Amy's keeping a regularly-updated blog to update everyone on the family's trash-reducing process -- and to share trash-reducing tips! Read and learn -- and find out more about the trash-collecting eco-bloggers who've come before her, including:

>> Envirowoman in Vancouver, Canada, has been reducing her plastic trash consumption for more than 2 years already. Her blog's a little out of date now, but still inspiring to read for great ideas for living plastic-free.

>> Beth of Fake Plastic Fish. One of BlogHer's contributing editors, Beth's turned reducing plastic trash not just into a challenge with a limited time frame, but into a lifestyle.

>> Ari Derfel at Save Your Trash in Berkeley, Calif., saved his trash -- including every ice cream carton -- for a whole year. He stopped blogging in early 2008, but his archives are still a wealth of info.

>> L.A.'s Dave Chameides, a.k.a. Sustainable Dave, encouraged us all to eat chips, drink beer, and save trash. Dave collected all his trash for a year and blogged about the project. Dave created less trash in all of 2008 than an average American family throws out in a week. And more impressively, he achieved this eco-feat while drinking beer and eating potato chips.

>> A Pasadena woman named Tess Vigeland carried around her trash around with her for two weeks in 2007 — and blogged about her experience at Tess’ Trash Challenge for American Public Radio.

>> ReadyMade's Katherine Sharpe blogged about A Week Without Plastic earlier this month. She reduced and learned!

Last but not least, No Impact Man, who included garbage-reducing as one of his many uber-eco challenges for a one-year green experiment -- will be coming to your town when No Impact Man the film hits a theater near you. In the meantime, get eco-inspired by the green garbage collectors who've come before you --

Photo by Bk Ninja


BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at

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