November 30th, 2015: Monica Geller’s attempt at a day of Living Zero-Waste

My Compost

Living zero-waste seemed like a simple task. I am already composting, I bring my own bags to the grocery store. I have a mason jars. I bring my food in reusable containers. But I did not see the little things until I use or do every day that is causing extra waste in the world. 


I started the day well or at least I thought. I brought my oatmeal in some Tupperware but then a friend pointed out that I had a plastic spoon. (I bring that spoon with me everywhere; I reuse it, does that count against me for waste?)

Tupperware…and a plastic spoon
Tupperware…and a plastic spoon

(Oops) Then I washed my hand in the bathroom, dried my hands with a paper towel. Creating trash!

(Ooops X2) I then had a piece of gum, which is wrapped in paper. Another mistake. I started to feel like I was never going to succeed at zero-waste and that it is impossible.

Gum wrappers X2
Gum wrapper X2

Tea Time:

But then I went to a café and asked them specifically to use a ceramic cup for my tea. They told me that it was to small and they would still charge me for a ‘small’. I said that is not a problem, I just don’t want the paper cup. So they did comply and I had a ceramic cup. (I do wonder why they don’t offer that first? Why don’t they have bigger cups for those who stay and use their seating?)

Not paper!
Not paper!

Lunch and Dinner:

I roasted some vegetables with oil and seasoning. I composed my food scraps but then shredded some cheese for the veggies and was left with some plastic packaging for the cheese. (OOOps X3)

Roasted Veggies (Lunch and Dinner)
Roasted Veggies (Lunch and Dinner)

(Ooops X4) I had another piece of gum!

Now I ate mainly at home that day, which made living zero-waste easier, but I still had slipups. If I went out to more restaurants, I don’t know if I would have been as successful. I did make some mistakes, but I kept trying. I didn’t want to start over for another day. This day taught me a lot about my choices and impact on the world through my trash. I am now more aware of the little pieces that add up and the things I can do to prevent adding to the landfills. One day is an education and I hope more people try living zero-waste. It will help people by making them think more thoughtfully about the garbage they produce each day.