Living a Zero-Waste Lifestyle Successfully!

Since February 2010, Kansas City couple Zach Noland and his girlfriend Meghan Sundermeier have been attempting to live a zero-waste lifestyle. And to date they have been very successful. One of the easiest ways they have found to reduce their waste is to take their own glass jars and reusable cloth sacks to their local whole foods store. The couple simply fill the reusable containers with the products they need. They also buy their milk in glass bottles which can be returned and refilled.

The glass jars and cloth sacks also provide handy containers around the home. Noland’s cupboards hold cloth sacks and glass jars filled with dry goods and cereal. There are no cans, plastic bags or other packaging in sight. Glass containers are also reused in the refrigerator to hold leftovers. In a typical week, the couple produce less than a handful of waste which must be disposed of in the rubbish.
Noland and Sundermeier were inspired to try a zero-waste lifestyle by Béa Johnson who runs the Zero Waste Home blog. Johnson’s blog contains a wealth of tips and recipes for anyone interested in reducing their waste. They include buying in bulk, shopping at local farmers’ markets, and using natural cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar.

Johnson believes that to successfully live a zero-waste lifestyle you need to follow the 4R’s approach: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle only as a last resort. Of these, Sundermeier believes refusing excess packaging is the most important: “You have to refuse. That is the most important strategy. Refuse, refuse, refuse.”

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