Week Without Trash: Rules

So I’ve been watching and thinking all week about how exactly I’m um, going to do this week without trash thing.

Unlike “giving up chocolate for Lent,” giving up trash is actually going to change important things in my life. Like actually going without chocolate. Chocolate comes in bars, which come in wrappers. Augh! Cheese too!

There is something brilliant though – bulk foods at the coop down the street – that should help. Chocolate covered espresso beans, here I come… (look out, colleagues). I’ve put down my deposit on my milk bottles and cream bottle for the week, also a brilliant solution from Castle Rock Farms.

Also brilliant: I don’t have to worry about being tempted by the box of Clif Bars in my desk because they are being recalled for fear of killer peanuts.

I’m going to give myself a couple of outs. For example:
1. The supply chain. Coffee in the break room at my work is made with individually wrapped coffee grounds and disposable coffee filters. It’s shared among a lot of people, so my responsibility is .. less. Like carpooling. Or that’s the excuse I’m going to use this week. Some other week I’ll go a week without CAUSING any trash, and actually bother to bring the french press into work.

2. Fruit and veggie peels. I know food waste is the biggest portion of municipal solid waste, but there’s no way I’m giving up some of the best winter produce (grapefruit, bananas, kiwi fruit, squash), even just for a week.

3. Eventually disposable stuff that I use for more than a week. I’m focusing a lot on food, but things like toothbrushes, razor blades, etc. – those are allowed.

4. Dental floss, kleenexes, toilet paper.

Outs I will not give myself:
1. Recycling apart from paper. Lots of this ends up getting landfilled by the recycling company anyway, and I’m going to remove the temptation for myself to get takeout plastic clamshells and say, “They’re plastic. They’re recyclable…” With prices for recycled goods in the ditch, I’m going to do my part to create less supply.

2. My boyfriend Caleb has promised to throw anything away for me, and that way I won’t be throwing anything away, right? Wrong!

3. “Reusing” paper and plastic for trash and recycling.

I’ll go tonight at midnight to 12:00 a.m. February 1.




  1. André L. L. de Araújo said

    Nice blog. Look at mine: http://www.environmentalmoral.blogspot.com

  2. Ed Kohler said

    This is such an awesome challenge. Good luck!

  3. Jenn said

    thanks and thanks! we’ll see how it goes..!

  4. Jonathan said

    Hey, sounds like a fun, eye-opening experience. Good luck!

    Two things:
    1. If you compost the produce scraps, you’re not creating trash, but a solution. That way, you can eat all the produce you want and not worry about your environmental impact.

    2. Food isn’t the largest portion of the waste stream, it’s the second largest, after paper.

  5. Jenn said

    Thanks Jonathan! I know… I wish I had the space or ability to compost food waste. As a renter, I’m happy just to have a good space to recycle. 🙂 Someday, we’ll have compost bins instead of yard waste bins.

    I’m amazed that paper is still a large portion of msw. What is keeping people from recycling this stuff?!

  6. greenkeen said

    Hey, love your blog! Great challenege…I was thinking about going a week without GMO food…but it’s super hard considering there are no label restrictions…

    I may have to borrow your week without garbage challenege though!

  7. Jenn Henry said

    Hey thanks! 🙂 It’s easier than I thought to make less, but was totally impossible for me to make NO garbage. You should blog about it and tell me where to read it!

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