2017: 4.31 lbs
Last year I made a New Years Resolution to start living a zero waste lifestyle, and I'm pretty sure it's the first New Years Resolution I've ever kept.
Obviously, I didn't produce literally "zero waste." I produced quite a bit of waste, several pounds. But I learned how to make different choices as a consumer. I got myself lots of reusable bags, I started making my own cosmetics, making my own bread, I bought more produce than ever before, I switched to a safety razor, and so much more! I took my role as an ethical consumer way more seriously, and meticulously tracked the amount of waste that I produced (as you can see below).
2017: 4.31 lbs of trash
This year, according to what I measured, I produced 4.31 lbs of trash.
That's less than what you're average american produces in a day.
what didn't go in my trash jar
I had no problem buying and using recyclable materials. I worked my hardest to minimize this as much as possible, and it definitely was less than I normally would have used. But I made no attempt to quantify how much I put in my recycling bin. I am also benefited by the fact that Denver has an exceptionally good recycling program.
Upstream waste felt incredibly challenging to avoid. I didn't know if the items I bought in bulk were shipped in plastic, or almost anything that happened before the product reached my hand. Trying to avoid upstream waste as much as possible definitely turned me into a more ethical consumer. I have always had some attention on the well being of the people and animals responsible for making products that I use, but my zero waste journey magnified the extent I was willing to go to for ethical goods.
In science, we often have to account for human error. Nobody's perfect. Sometimes I forgot to take something to put in my jar. This wasn't a lot, but it definitely happened! I don't know the proper way to statistically calculate for my human error, so I won't. I'm just telling you it exists!