Can You Do Waste-Free Shopping Like This Woman Does?

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Erin Rhoads, also known as “The Rogue Ginger” on her blog, can fill about two year’s worth of trash into just one jar! How does she do that? Can anyone else possibly replicate what she did?


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The 31-year-old graphic designer decided to quit plastic in the middle of 2013 after realizing its harmful impact on the environment and in her own life. Her inspiration was a documentary that followed a Canadian couple’s quest not to buy anything new for one year while generating zero trash.

She believes that recycling is not enough. There is still need to minimize the generation and accumulation of waste. This is what she says in her blog:

“After the credits rolled, I looked at my own life and was shocked by the mindless waste my day to day actions were creating, so I decided to make some changes. I decided to quit plastic for good… Basically, I began living more like my great grandparents.”


Apparently, this zero-waste lifestyle can be duplicated, as 23-year-old Lauren Singer found out for herself. However, she took cues from yet another lady – a mother of two from California.

Singer had already dabbled into environmental advocacy, being an NYU Environmental Studies major. However, she later realized that her “treehugger” ways were inconsistent. She was also not doing enough for Mother Nature.

“One day I was particularly upset after class and went home to make dinner and try to forget about it,” she shared in a contributed piece. “But when I opened my refrigerator I froze. I realized that every item I had in there was wrapped or packaged, one way or another, in plastic.”

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“This was the first time in my life that I felt like I was able to look at myself and say, YOU HYPOCRITE,’” she went on. “I was the green girl, not the plastic girl! What had I been doing my entire life? It was in that moment I made the decision to eliminate all plastic from my life.”

How She Did It

So, how did she go about the zero-waste business?

Essentially, she had to make all the products herself. She found resources online that allowed her to make her own toothpaste and cleaning products. Also, when she went shopping, she had to bring her own reusable bags and jars. This was to avoid having things wrapped in plastic or nonbiodegradable packaging.

She also ceased buying new clothes, going for secondhand apparel instead. Whatever extra things she had at home, she either sold them or gave them away, especially the “trillion decorative items that had no significance to [her]at all.”

Of course, it took Singer some time before she could turn this into a lifestyle. The transition took a year.

Tips on Waste-Free Shopping

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Are you also seeking to reduce your trash and lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle? You can start with your shopping habits. Bring along your own shopping bags or wrappings from the stores.  You can also opt to shop at your local farmer’s market. Here, most products are sold without packaging or in reusable ones.

You can opt to have vendors put what you need directly in reusable glass jars or solid cloth bags. Sure, this kind of shopping may sound inconvenient and fussy, but hey, you’re on your way to a zero-waste lifestyle that will do Mother Nature and your own community much good. Plus, you also reduce your expenses and get to save more!

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