Trash is an invasive species. Not only is it in our homes, schools, restaurants, and offices, but it’s in the environment – and I don’t just mean litter. Trash gets buried in landfills and burned in incinerators all across New England – where it pollutes our air and water.
While so-called “waste management systems” have been our way of “getting rid” of trash, the truth is, you can’t “get rid” of it – not fully. When our toxic trash is buried or burned, it just changes form. It seeps out of our landfills as leachate – or garbage juice – and into the soil, contaminating our groundwater. It pours out of incinerator smokestacks as air pollution, covering nearby communities in a blanket of toxicity, while also contributing to the climate crisis.
Because we can’t see our trash take on these forms, it can be easy to miss its full scale in our lives. But that doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.
For too long we’ve relied on these outdated and polluting systems to deal with our trash. But they’ve only done more harm than good. What we need are new, sustainable systems that aim to reduce the trash in our lives, while protecting our people and our planet. And we can make that happen right now.
Together, our collective voices have the power to reform our waste systems – and that’s what we plan to do as part of our second annual Slash Trash Challenge.
We Have a Trash Problem. And While it’s Not Your Fault, You Are the Solution.
The reality is, individual change alone cannot solve our trash crisis. Yes, we can all recycle more, switch to reusable bottles and other items, and start composting. And we should. But reforming our waste systems ultimately requires the actions of lawmakers, manufacturers, and retailers, among others.
That means changing the way products are designed and packaged, rethinking what gets thrown away and what gets reused, setting up city or town-wide composting programs, and modernizing our recycling system.
The best way for you to help create this future is to advocate for the change we wish to see. That’s why our Slash Trash Challenge will not only ask you to trim your own waste, but also challenge you to take actions to change the systems that produce all that trash in the first place.
The Slash Trash Challenge
For one week, September 19–25, we are challenging you to not only reduce the waste in your home, your office, and your community, but to advocate for a future built on zero-waste policies and practices.
Advocating for Zero Waste means:
✅ Educating yourself and others on our trash crisis
✅ Ditching disposable plates and cups
✅ Using reusable mugs and bottles where possible
✅ Bringing your own tote bags when grocery shopping
✅ Supporting zero-waste policies and legislation
✅ And more!
Throughout the Challenge, we’ll provide you with tips for slashing trash in your own life, while also challenging you to put pressure on your state legislators to pass plastic bans and other zero-waste laws; to call on your local eateries to compost their food waste, and to push your cities and towns to adopt zero-waste programs.
What Can You Expect?
Starting September 14, we’ll be counting down to our Challenge. That week, we’ll send you daily emails with mini-challenges to help you ease into slashing your trash, along with tips for how to continue implementing zero-waste practices beyond the Challenge.
On Saturday, September 19, the real Challenge begins! That’s when we kick it up a notch. While you keep up your new home habits, we’ll also dive deep into how you can make an even bigger impact. What does that mean? It means this week, you’ll be a champion for zero-waste policies and practices in your city, town, state, and community! But don’t worry – we’re not going to leave you hanging. Along with daily advocacy challenges, we’re equipping you with the tools you’ll need to complete them.
Remember, you’re not alone in this journey! We and your fellow Challengers will be there by your side. Stay connected with fellow participants through our Challenge Facebook Group and share your Slash Trash journey with us and other Challengers by tagging us on social media! You can find us at:
Facebook – @TheCLF
Instagram – conservationlawfoundation
Twitter – @CLF
And don’t forget to use the hashtag: #2020SlashTrash
When your Zero Waste Challenge ends on September 25, we hope you’ll use this experience and what you’ve learned to take further action. Whether you continue to live waste-free, call on Big Corporations to redesign their products, or urge your legislators to make systematic changes, every action is a step forward in addressing our trash crisis. With your help, we can trade our throw-away culture for the zero-waste future our health, our climate, and our environment deserve.
Are you up for the Challenge? Register now before the Challenge begins on September 19!
Before you go… CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.