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Couple goes waste-free for a year

Amy and Adam live in a small community in Dallas, Oregon. On July 6, 2009, they began their pledge of living without producing garbage for one year. Like many of us, they believe that collective action is necessary to preserve our environment for future generations. Their chosen focus is waste and recycling.

Here’s how they plan to get by without garbage:

* Avoid non-recyclables
* Start compost bin in backyard
* Grow their own produce
* Make products like soap, cheese, butter, granola and bread
* Take their business to local butchers, dairies, farmer’s markets, and natural food stores
* Take rejected curbside recycle materials to recycling depot
* Use reusable bags for shopping and reusable containers for restaurant leftovers
* Replace disposable batteries with recyclable batteries
* Donate to and shopping from secondhand stores
* Legally burn clean, dry, untreated organic material

Their web site has a long list of tips and tricks for anyone who wants to reduce their own waste stream.

Even putting these rules into practice, it’s hard for anyone to avoid the waste created by hygiene and medical products such as a toothpaste container. Amy and Adam realize that they cannot be 100% garbage-free and have laid down some ground rules for themselves as to what they see as acceptable:

* Medical and hygiene products — they will recycle wherever possible and aim to keep unavoidable trash limited to the size of one plastic bag for the year.
* Leftover meat — Amy is a vegetarian so there is little meat consumption between the two. Any leftover meat will be given to their dog.
* Cat/dog poop — according to Grist, cat feces “can carry the disease toxoplasmosis and pass it on to us…the disease can be fatal to infants and immune-system-deficient adults, and make the rest of us sick.” Due to safety concerns, cat litter will be trashed. Dog poop will be buried.
* Vacuum cleaner dust/hair — returned to nature.
* Wiggle room — since Amy is a school teacher, it will be hard for her to avoid classroom items such as dry erase markers and pens.

Between the two, Amy and Adam will keep approximately one and a half tons of garbage from entering a landfill. That may be a drop in the proverbial bucket, but when a whole community joins in the effort, the results can quickly add up. Show your support by visiting their web site and following them on their green journey through their blog.

Take the first step.

Start small. Be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and figure out what you can do to lessen the blow. Calculate, conserve, and offset.

For businesses, our Corporate Sustainability Plans can help you with your emission reduction goals.

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