Can You Slash Your Trash for One Week?

Join our Zero Waste Challenge and help disrupt our broken waste system

Olivia Synoracki

We live surrounded by trash, especially single-use plastic. It’s in our homes, schools, restaurants, offices, communities, and the environment. There’s so much waste that it can be easy to miss its full scale in our lives.

Manufacturers and brand owners have created this throw-away culture by mass-producing disposable goods. But when it comes time to deal with all that waste, we are the ones who pay the price – and not just because more and more of our tax dollars must now go towards trash and recycling management. Our waste pollutes our land, water, and air; threatens the health of our communities; and adds to the climate crisis.

But our country’s trash problem and its dangers are all preventable. We have the tools right now to take action and reform our waste system – but we need your help.

Reforming any system begins with educating ourselves and the people around us – and that’s what we plan to do with our first-ever Zero Waste Challenge.

You Are Not the Problem, But 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 containers, and start composting. And we should (more on that later).

Ultimately, though, creating a zero-waste future requires action by lawmakers, manufacturers, and retailers, among others. That means changing the way products are made and packaged, rethinking what gets thrown away and what gets reused, and reforming our recycling system.

The best way for you to help create this future is as a constituent, putting pressure on your state legislators to pass plastic bag bans and other zero-waste laws; as a consumer, pushing manufacturers to change their polluting products; and as a customer, asking your local store to stock items with less wasteful packaging.

But we know from experience that, when you’re entangled in a dysfunctional system, it can be hard to see the paths to change from the inside. That’s why we are challenging you to make your life zero waste for just one week – so you can get a view of our current waste system from the outside and find the cracks in it that will help us tear it down.

The Zero Waste Challenge

For one week, November 3–9, we are challenging you to reduce your trash (and recycling) in your home, your office, and your community. By joining our Challenge, you’ll discover tricks of the trade to living a zero-waste lifestyle, while also learning about long-term solutions for creating a more sustainable, zero-waste future across New England. What does a waste-free lifestyle entail?

Going Zero Waste means:
• Using reusable containers wherever possible
• Buying in bulk when you can to avoid plastic packaging
• Ditching disposable drinkware and investing in reusable bottles
• Bringing your own tote bags when grocery shopping
• And more!

What Can You Expect?

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to join our Zero Waste Challenge Facebook Group. Here, you can connect with fellow participants, share zero-waste tips, and learn about ways New England can implement sustainable waste systems. This resource will be available to you leading up to, throughout, and even after the Challenge is over.

An official countdown to the Challenge begins on October 27. That week, we’ll send you a daily email to help you prep for your challenge. You’ll get handy trash facts, as well as daily mini-challenges to put you in the zero-waste mindset before the real Challenge begins.

Starting November 3, your Zero Waste journey kicks off! You’ll now get to integrate some zero-waste practices into your daily routine – and slash the trash in your life for one week. But don’t worry – we’re not going to leave you hanging. That week, a “trashy” newsletter will be hitting your inbox each morning. These emails are filled with zero-waste tips for your home and office, even more facts about New England’s trash, and real solutions to tackle the heart of our waste problem.

When your Zero Waste Challenge ends on November 9, we hope you’ll use this experience and what you’ve learned to take action. Whether you continue to live waste-free, share your trashy knowledge with family and friends, or call on your legislators to make systematic changes, every action is a step forward in addressing our trash crisis. With your help, we can swap out our throw-away culture for the zero-waste future our health, our climate, and our environment deserve.

Are you up for the challenge? Registration is open now through 4pm EST on November 1.

Focus Areas

People & Communities

About the CLF Blog

The views and opinions expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of Conservation Law Foundation, our boards, or our supporters.