The Week Without Trash Wraps Up

So living completely without trash is a bust.

My downfall started Thursday at a trade show, when a free grilled cheese sandwich appeared at my booth at 2:30 p.m. after I hadn’t eaten lunch… on a styrofoam plate.

Compromises had to be made Friday for free decaf at Caribou, too. And/or a box of Junior Mints (I swear I haven’t had them for years. Something about not being able to have them did me in).

WALL-E is sad about my lack of willpower. Image from

But! There are several useful lessons I learned from my week “without trash”:

1. Buying bulk foods is really fun and easy (and cheap).

2. Cooking at home and then taking leftovers for lunch in a pyrex is delicious, cheap, and trashless.

3. Trash = money. The less trash I throw away, the less money I spend (I saved SO MUCH this week).
– I didn’t eat out or pay for coffee.
– I bought more basic foods at the grocery store, which aren’t taxed the same way as processed foods.
– I planned my eating a lot more carefully and wasted a lot less food.

4. Napkins, towels, and rags cut from old t-shirts are better than paper products.

5. If the produce will be peeled, it doesn’t need a plastic bag.

6. A worm bin would greatly reduce the amount of trash I produce.

I’m relieved to be able to guiltlessly eat chocolate and cheese again, but I think I’ll keep some of these habits going as long as I can. Buying in bulk really is fantastic – fewer preservatives, less packaging, and you control the amount you buy. Amazing!

If you have kids in schools, check out this article about encouraging your school to weigh its trash.



  1. Doniree said

    I followed your whole week, and I have to tell you – I’m totally inspired! I’ve been noticing how much trash I go through in a week – I cook all the time and am kind of messy about it for one thing. I’m so inspired to make some of these little changes, and I’m really glad you blogged this whole experience! Good luck with the overall lifestyle and consumption changes!

  2. Jenn said

    Doniree, thanks for your comment! I have to say, I wish I were better at cooking for myself – you are already steps ahead of me. Good luck on your own trashless adventures! Check back in and let me know how they’re going.

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