T-minus 2

Another day without trash.

People at Marketplace and around our building keep coming up to me and saying "where's the bag?!?!" When I tell them I had to trash it earlier this week they look at me like I've just put down the family pet. Then I say, hey, you should try it -- get your own bag! Carry it around! Suddenly they have somewhere they have to be.

I came close to starting a new bag because of a Styrofoam container that held my lunch. But I double-checked and I can, indeed, take it home and put it in my recycle bin. Phew. (I should try to convince the cafe downstairs to stop using Styrofoam.)

As I enter the last, what, 36 hours or so of the challenge? -- I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to continue keeping my trash volume at a low level. But I really don't know how people get it down to zero. It's a great goal, but achieving it would be a Herculean task suited to folks who decide to not only go off the electrical grid, but also off the garbage grid.

There just are things that have to go to landfills. But there's also so much there that doesn't belong there. So reducing as much as we can will certainly help. Oh -- and here's a new one that I haven't figured out: what can you do with used bandages? I'm pretty sure medical waste doesn't belong in either the compost bin or recycling.

Anybody have any last thoughts as we head into the final day of the challenge? Have you been able to reduce your own waste stream? Even a little? Are you looking at product packaging in a new light? Are you making purchasing decisions based on where your stuff will end up when you're done using it/eating it/wearing it/consuming it? Are you going to see if your local school wants to use your cereal boxes for art projects?

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

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