Two years of trash:

Four months of trash:

Two months of trash:

One month of trash:

128 comments

    1. when are you going to do another workshop …to learn how to create tooth paste with natural ingredients… i love what you are doing , i hope we can all follow your example!

    1. I'm surprised that today people still ask this question – on no-waste hygiene products. I'm not blaming people, I'm blaming marketologists that were supposed to spread the news about earth-wise alternatives.

  1. WOW! hope to be able to produce such a small amount of trash one day! thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hi Jul,

    To be honest, I don't really get sick. If I do, I just go with natural remedies like shots of apple cider vinegar or making tea out of fresh ginger with lemon for my stomach or for a cold. I know that isn't really the answer you were looking for, but truthfully since switching to this way of living and eating a lot cleaner and healthier, I really don't ever have the need for medicine – but I am a huge fan of going the natural route if I do ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope this helps!
    Lauren

  3. Jul,

    Another suggestion is getting handkerchiefs instead of napkins or tissues if you do get sick. Saves a lot of waste from nose blowing haha

    Lauren

  4. It's safe to assume you use a diva cup or something of the sort during menstruation? If so, can you review that product? Or place a link if you've already done so? I've been curious about finding a new method for some time, but don't know anyone that has actually made the switch.

    1. I use organic cotton tampons (without applicators), as well. I tried the DivaCup for a year and wanted so badly to love it, but I frequently had small leaks and some close calls of big spills. I usually ended up using a thong panty liner with it, so I feel like the applicator free eco-tampons end up being the more sustainable choice for me.
      -Molly

    2. I have a Lunette cup too and have found it to be really comfortable and easy to use! I had a few leaks for a couple months but have now figured it out. Cleaning between changes has not been an issue because you can usually make it about 12 hours and therefore do it at home- morning and after work or before bed. A few of my friends have switched over as well and it's all worked out okay. I highly recommend it!

    3. The cup may be the wrong size for those who have leaks, or you may need to change it more often. I just did the first week with the diva cup and I had no leaks even though it was too big for me (I need a shorter one) but I found I had to empty it more often since I have a heavy flow. It did take 2 days off my normal 7 day period thougj, bonus, I think it's the suction it creates each time you change it. But an alternative to this, that is newer, and less wasteful is the natural sea sponge tampons that can be used for a few periods and sterilized. Hope this helps.

    4. I have been using the MeLuna Cup for about a year. Despite loving the concept, I never grew really fond of it, as I could always "feel" it. Instead of going back to tampons, I decided to give the Lunette cup a try. It was love at first… well, not exactly sight, but you get the gist. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have been using it for the past six months and the only thing I am sorry about is the fact that I didn't use one for the past thirty years… However, with yet a decade or so left until menopause, I am glad I made the transition. If you are not feeling comfortable with your cup, it might either be the wrong size, shape or material for you. I can only recommend trying a different one, it's really worth it.

  5. You rock! I have followed the Zero Waste Home blog for a couple years and I am so glad to have found your blog. I love reading about real people who make it a reality. Thank you for sharing. It is so inspiring.

    1. Hi Erica!

      Wow thank you so much! Bea is fantastic and such an inspiration. I'm really glad you like my blog as well, it means so much to me :)))

      I hope you have a wonderful day!

      Lauren

  6. Have you sourced toilet paper that does not come in a plastic package? I noticed that you recommend a recycled TP product, but I don't see the plastic wrapper in your trash photos. Just curious if you know something I don't about TP that's not wrapped in plastic.

    1. You can buy 100% recycled Seventh Generation toilet paper in paper packaging, but it is more expensive than buying a case that is packaged in plastic – however, the grocery store I shop at recycles the plastic packaging that comes over the toilet paper. Still, it's not great.

    1. I can tell you about vinegar. It is really easy to make. All you have to do is chunk up some fruit (it doesn't even have to be particularly fresh), put it in a bowl, and stir the heck out of it. Cover it with a clean cloth and stir a few times a day for a two to three weeks. Strain it and voila! A perfect salad vinegar. For a stronger vinegar, you can add sugar and stir it for a few more weeks. I think white vinegar is made from sugar water, but I haven't tried it yet.

  7. Hey there! Respect, you're doing an amazing job!
    I really want to follow your example, but I was wondering, what do you do when going to the toilet?

  8. There is toilet paper that comes in paper wrapping–the tp itself is also recycled and biodegradable. Vinegar and baking soda come in recyclable paper carton and plastic bottle. Meat though…that's a tough one. We've asked at the butcher counter in the grocery store for them to only wrap in paper and they say they "are not allowed." Buying at a farmers market is a good option.

  9. Thank you Lauren, you're one of the pioneers and I will enhance your lifestyle. Thanks for putting up this website. Right now I recycle other people's trash into usable things, just to make people think about all the trash that's actually a lot more worthy than most think. The transition has begun slowly, but it started!! And you're one of them who truly proves it. thanks thanks thanks again!

    1. Hi! I am vegetarian, but I believe it is everybody's personal choice. I would like to emphasize that this blog is not about how to eat or what choices to make but how to live so you produce as least trash has you can. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. As I was looking at my packed lunch today, I was wondering how you pack up things for a sack lunch. What do you wrap your sandwich in? If you have things like carrot sticks or a couple cookies or something, what do you wrap them in? I use waxed paper for some things, but I don't think you use plastic containers. How do you do it?

    1. Buy cute boxes! There are steel boxes, nice jars or, okay, I have a cute plastic one that I will use forever with foxes on them. They came in a set of 4 small to large! I know plastic is not the best but I allways drop my jars ๐Ÿ™

  11. Is in this 'trash' all the recyclable stuff recycled? Or can you still recycle some stuff.. which is still not 'trash trash' right ๐Ÿ™‚ like the receipt!

  12. You are simply amazing. It takes a lot of dedication to what you truly believe in to accomplish this lifestyle. You are in inspiration. Keep up the great work.

    1. She makes her own products as in DIYs.You can google and it would probably fascinate you that almost all of the body products you use,from toothpastes to moisturizes,you can make your own products and save a lot of money.It's also chemical-free and good for your body. Just search 'how to make your own toothpaste' or 'how to make your own body scrub' or whatever you want and you can save yourself a lot of packaging waste and money. This is one of my favourite concepts brought up by her.

  13. Lauren, congratulations ! You are fantastic !! I'm brazilian and still learnig how to speak english and sometimes I need to ask a help for a electronic translator to understand all words in your blog but it does not prevent to understand your message and dream. I live in Sรฃo Paulo and everyday see people complain about water shortage, trash in the streets, etc.. but no one trying to do something to solve the problems. You live your ideals and is a exemple for all. The world needs more Lauren's…

  14. It's so cool. But, tell me: what do you do with absorbent and toilet paper? I know, it's personal, but I was curious about.

  15. What is one supposed to do with things like paper packaging with food on it? Compost or recycle? The question behind the question is: Can you please link some sources so that we can figure out what we can do with our waste? I've been working on this for a full year, and I'm still only down to 1 wastebasket per week. I want to do better.

  16. I've read all the comments above and think this (quite personal) question hasn't been asked yet: what do you use for birth control/protection from STD? Would love to hear if you have any sustainable tips on this topic!

  17. Love to see that you trash includes some remnants of companies I love – Equal Exchange bananas!! At least it tells a story of supporting small scale farmers and a better food system.

  18. I just saw you in a nationally televised TV show in Brazil …. Congratulations to your initiative to make something good for the planet!

  19. Hello! I saw a reporter here in Brazil about your life's style. It's amazing!!! Congratulations Lauren! Thanks for showing that. I hope change my life's style too. I got one question… How do you use get rice, beans, milk or all of that products that come in some package in supermarket? I mean, thinks that you can't produce at home. Thanks Lauren!

    Greice Nascimento

  20. Hi Lauren…congrats!!! you are doing a great job raising awareness about consumerism and solid waste management…though the article I read said that you still use napkins, so, I as wondering if you ever heard about the mooncups?

  21. Hi Lauren!
    Thanks for the inspiration, i'm a environment science student also!!
    Do you know where to shop in San Diego,CA? please let me know if you know a place.

    Hugs.
    Itzel.

  22. Congratulations Lauren. You are quite amazing. Regarding the mason jar, may i ask a question? I don't know if you go to a fast food place. If you ask for a coffee, they would have to measure it in their paper cup before pouring it into the jar, right? In that case, I am guessing they may be discarding the paper cup. Or do they just pour coffee directly into the jar? Thanks.

  23. Hi Lauren – as a pretty ardent recycler, you have inspired me to try to do more! I bring my recycling from home to where I work because our city doesn't have a recycling program. I reuse styrofoam cups and then recycle them as well. I save toilet paper rolls to stuff dryer lint into for kindling. But it does amaze me how much more I COULD be doing now that I have read your articles. Thanks for trying to help save the environment. I'm considering donating to your kickstarter campaign – am wondering how effective your detergeant is? Thanks!

    1. Hi, I am so happy you found inspiration here! I have been using it for over two years and it works as good as any other detergent soap- minus the yucky chemicals.

  24. this a great idea, you need to take it arround the world the trash iits consuming us! i will tray to I to promote it in Colombia and Spain, but like all great ideas have to start with yourself, you're a great example for many people especially for me. congratulations for taking this step

  25. Hi Lauren, I live in Sonora, Mรฉxico and I'm just discovery your page. Is amazing. I would try to do the same in my house. Thanks for your experience and rรฉcipes.

  26. Lauren, please do not let unfair criticisms by anonymous commenters get you down. A step at a time, Anonymous. "Advocating for policy change" is not something that Lauren can do on her own. She is doing her best as an individual, to be environment-friendly. Large scale changes need more people – and I wish you would help provide ideas instead of just criticizing her efforts and labeling her a "privileged environmentalist". Yes, I am aware that the laundry detergent that Lauren sells is…more expensive than generic brands, but I also know that there are recipes available online for homemade toothpaste, etc

  27. Really inspired by what you're doing. I get so depressed and anxious when I see what I'm throwing into the garbage every day. I've taken little steps to reduce, but now I see how much more I (and the rest of the world) can do. Thank you for sharing your story!

  28. Even if you don't go 100% Lauren's way you can pick up some ideas and use some of these to inspire you to leave a smaller foot print on the earth. Even if you just start looking at the packaging of what you are buying. Bring some cloth bags to the grocery to put your oranges and apples in instead of the plastic bags. Use reusable bags when you grocery shop. Buy organic when you can. Use glass not plastic. There are so many things anyone can do to lessen their carbon foot print on this earth. Grown some veggies in pots, start a compost pile… these aren't hard things to do. Just responsible things to try and do.

  29. Just seen this on Care 2 Care and, like a lot of respondents, impressed with Lauren's efforts and those 'anonymous' critics with the 'right-on' politics are hopefully doing their bit as well, because this is such a massive problem in society that we all have to do whatever we can to put a stop to it, before it puts a stop to us. I will pass this on to 3 people from Northumberland Wildlife Trust here in Newcastle, England, who have just spent January 'goingplasticfree'. Peter P.S. apologies for also being 'anonymous' but I don't know how else to get this thing to work!

  30. Lauren I think you have some great ideas. I love that you are inspiring people without any government money or laws forcing your views on others. This is what the world needs most – freedom to be inspired. Thanks for making me re-think what I can do better!

  31. OK, I've got a question. Did you get sick in those two years? And didn't you use any medicine? Because it's always in plastic. Thank you.

  32. So impressive! but one question. If any trash is generated by someone but the ultimate generator is you, in this case, do you consider the trash as yours? I mean, for example, if you are invited by your friends, you would eat some food with them. Even though you did not generate the trash directly, the trash will be generated by your friends. I am just curious about this issue. This is not criticism!!

  33. FYI- in the picture labelled 'one month of trash', those bar code stickers that come on pieces of fruit and vegetables are edible, and need not be thrown out.

  34. Fantastic! Inspiring. Congratulations for living in the City of NY without trash!
    Come to Paris, my hometown, where everything is packaged except produce at the outdoor markets, and teach us!

  35. Hi Lauren, I don't see any trash about make up. I have read that you use "RMS" beauty products. Are they recycable ?
    (sorry for my little english)
    I use M.A.C. products, and they have a "back to M.A.C" option, we can gibe them back their bottles for example.

  36. Hi,
    …saw you on german tv today -Galilei big picutre.

    love it !

    I sew clothes like myself. I was looking for new ideas and I thought my bag close to fruit and vegetables without plastic to weigh itself. Unfortunately, there was huge trouble because the seller thought it would be a balance Tara factored in and my bag had a false weight . Chiffon sewn exactly the same 2 grams . Shit happens … Stay tuned ! Very cool … Greetings from Germany city โ€‹โ€‹Bochum Sonja

  37. Hi Lauren,
    also saw you on German TV at Galilei big picture – very inspiring! Brought me some new ideas – Thank you! Already found the page Ecocult – very progressive too, great!!!

    Warm Greetings from Germany, city of Dresden. Diana
    @ Sonja: And many greetings to Bochum ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. I saw your Ted talk recently and got really inspired. I've always been a DIY enthusiast but not confident in the products that I made. Somehow in the middle of college I just lost motivation and gave up to consumerism. Now that I am a graduate, I find I have time to rethink my life and I do not fall back to a consumerist lifestyle. I'm embarking on minimalism. I'm already a vegetarian and cook most of my food so not much needed there but I do use a lot of cosmetics and cleaning supplies that potentially contains harmful compounds. But I still have my suspicions on the quality of DIY cleaning products. Do these products really deliever as good as the ones on the shelf? I guess I'll give it a try and hold back my judgement until then!

  39. Hey Lauren!

    I feel so happy to have watched your talk at TEDx Talks!

    Here in Brazil is a little bit harder to find altrenatives for waste, but from now on I intend to try as much as possible.

    Thanks for doing all this and making it work!

  40. Hi Lauren,
    it is amazing what you are doing and I hope to do the same. I found out about your blog a couple of weeks ago and I have loved making some of your organic products and i'm using far less trash than I used to! Thank you!!

  41. Hi from Russia! Found your page nearly a week ago. It's so inspiring! Thank you very much! Your example made me to think about changing the lifeslyle of my family. Of course I'm just making the first steps but I'm sure that it's just the beginning of the long and interesting journey. And your advices helps a lot! Thank you!

  42. Hi Lauren,

    I saw your blog and youtube videos a year back and from that day I am telling everyone about you and what you are doing. Nothing to say but just a big THANK YOU. You are one of the inspiration in my life. Most of the people may not understand what you are doing, but just keep going to save the earth for future generations. You are bringing the change in people's thinking. I will suggest you to watch COWSPIRACY in Netflix, and share your opinion.

    Thanks,
    Yashwanth Reddy

  43. Hey, Lauren. I really love what you do. Your Zero Waste Living really inspired me for my core. And I am really interested try something like in my country (Bangladesh). I have watched all the videos of you from YouTube and some other people who have went zero waste. But I am really confused about Homo Composter, how to make it and how to manage it. Can you please make a video/ blog about it ? I figured that approximately 70% of my daily waste is food waste. Here in Bangladesh, Plastics are not used as much excessively as USA. I hope you could help us out with it.

    If my personal experiment work out, I have plans to promote my cause to build awareness in my Country. Waiting for your reply. Thanks in Advance.

  44. I just saw your TED Talk…. inspiring and making me believe , that yes we should at least give a try. Trying the same , hard to manage but it is fun… thank you will write more if find any difficulties.

  45. I don't see a contact lens bottle in there. Are you sure you're being honest about your "trash?" Or maybe you tossed the bottle in a public trash can.

  46. Hello Lauren, I just discover your blog and it has inspired me. I am from Spain and I live in a really small town. Actually I produce a lot of trash but I consider myself a "green" person, that doesn't make sense, don't you think.
    I would like to start my zero waste journey. Thinking about how to do it, I've seen a problem (I'm sure you can give me a good solution), here, where I live, there is literally nowhere to buy unpackage products but groceries and also there is no second hands shops (I have been really angry about that since I discovered them).
    Any tip for a beginner with her place no helping?

  47. you are so inspiring and amazing. i noticed the amount of trash ande waste people were producing around me and was asking myself "why" before i noticed i was the same way also, just like you did. you inspired me to make a change in my household and hopefully in my community one day.

  48. Hi Lauren I learned about you from school and I think what you have done is amazingly awesome! You are truly an inspiration and I too shop at second hand stores such as Good Will and The Salvation Army! Thank you for showing people that they can make an easy change to a healthy and earth friendly lifestyle! ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Hi Lauren! You have inspired my family to drastically reduce our trash. We have a city composting program, but it says specifically not to put the dryer lint or the dust from sweeping or vacuuming the floors into the compost. What do you do with these things?

  50. I love what you are promoting and am in that initial phase of rethinking my family's product use and wanting to change everything right now! I just bought the Diva Cup and am so happy with it. I plan on implementing many of your suggestions. But, I would feel better about following you and giving you nothing but the glowing praise, as many above, if you could offer some clarification. Are you using the term "trash" only for things that cannot be recycled? I feel like your examples of your monthly trash are misleading because all of the products that you buy to make your homemade products come in something,no? I am not aware of bulk baking soda, etc… Your site makes sense if you are not including cardboard,glass or plastic containers (that the castille soap comes in) as "trash" items but otherwise it makes me feel a little hoodwinked (for lack of a better term, sorry!) Even the photo of you pouring the detergent in your ad for The Simply Company-from a giant glass container that the products didn't come in. I admire what you are promoting and you do so much more than most, it would just be nice and a little more truthful, if you addressed this question or had a photo of the products you do buy and what they come in.

    1. You can buy stuff like baking soda in bulk. I've done it before. And why should she have to clarify that stuff bought in recyclable packaging isn't trash. That is just common sense. If she recycles it, it gets reused so it isn't trash. She does clarify in some interviews that fact though for those who don't put the two and two together. Have you actually looked at all of her stuff?

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