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Friday, July 5, 2013

Suggested Reading & Activism Spotlight: Trash-Free Living

Activism Spotlight
“Every time you reach for the trash,” Amy said, “if you make that motion a conscious thing, [you realize that you] reach for the trash so many times a day. I really was kind of amazed.”

Imagine living for an entire year without producing garbage. Impossible, right?

Apparently not, because that’s exactly what a young professional couple, Amy and Adam Korst, did from July 6th, 2009 to July 6th, 2010. Their original goal was to produce no more than one garbage bag of waste, and instead, they ended up with only a shoebox full of items that could not be recycled, reduced, reused, or composted between the two of them. 

In comparison, the average American produces 4.6 pounds of garbage daily, three pounds of which goes to a landfill. We recycle only 32% of our total waste, and we trash 99% of everything we buy within six months. So, according to these estimates and averages, the Korsts saved about 2,190 pounds of waste from the landfill, which is over a ton.

How did they do it?

The couple said they were taking all of the typical recommendations for people who wanted to be more environmentally friendly: recycling, buying local, buying organic, paying their bills online, etc. Despite all of this, they didn’t feel like it was enough. They couldn’t measure their impact. So, they decided to take a bigger plunge and challenge themselves. Amy, an English teacher, spent part of her summer vacation preparing their home for the big transformation; the Green Garbage Project.

Some of their changes:

  • They shopped at second hand stores, or thrift shops.
  • They shopped at stores that offered natural or locally made/grown products.
  • They abstained from buying anything in packaging that could not be recycled.
  • They learned to make some of their own products, including granola, cheese, butter, soap, and bread. To learn how to make your own paper, check out this week’s “Recycling Project for Kids.”

Although this was very much a personal journey for the couple, through social media and their blog, the Green Garbage Project, they have been spreading the message of their endeavor in hopes of helping others live more planet-friendly lives. Amy wants to make sure people understand that you don’t have to drastically change your life to be environmentally conscious.

“I want people to feel like they can do something for the environment and not lose their creature comforts, and live a completely normal life.”

Adam insisted that living life without producing trash can be very doable and normal.

 Although their year-long commitment is over, Amy and Adam have brought themselves to a new level of awareness and their trash habits will never be the same again.

To learn a plethora of ways to reduce your trash output, visit Amy and Adam’s blog. You don’t have to go as far as they did, but you can certainly come close with their helpful advice. To read more news articles about the Green Garbage Project, click here.

So, what do you think? Could you live trashless for a year? How about a month? It’s never too late to find out! 
Suggested Reading

One of the biggest problems with cars that run entirely on electric is their limited travel radius. Sure, you could take them to the grocery store and back, but not on a family vacation or to go visit grandma two hours away. Also, what if you don’t have the time to charge them? The concept of an electric car is awesome, and it’s a step in the right direction to reducing your carbon footprint. But as of right now, most people couldn’t rely entirely on an electric vehicle. A second car, either a hybrid or fuel-powered, would be necessary. 

Volvo may have a solution to this issue. 

The company is developing and testing an electric road, which entails two power lines built into the surface of the road. The result? Electric buses and trucks, and potentially electric cars, could power up and sustain their charge while driving. This is especially helpful with electric buses, which sometimes require overhead power lines. These are unsightly and can cause delays if the bus is accidentally disconnected from the line.

This is an awesome and innovative solution. The electric road has the potential to make fuel-free vehicles a much more viable option to the average person. So, this week, I suggest you read Huff Post Green’s article on the electric road. Click here to view it

Animal of the Month Update 

    Mountain gorillas are the largest living primates in the world. They can live to be forty to fifty years old.

    Female mountain gorillas start to give birth when they are ten years old, and have offspring every four years or so. Newborn gorillas are tiny at only four pounds, but develop twice as fast as human infants. They are typically weaned from their mother’s milk at three years old, when they start to become independent.

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