Zero Waste

By Liza Cohen

It all started with the end of the world,

Well, the fear of it anyway.

Of the clouds that signaled it,

Of the weather that was cast over my temperate life.

How can I prevent this? 

I wondered.

How can I, a small, suburban girl change the world?

How can I change the world?


Why Zero Waste?

I have always been afraid of weather. That seems like a strange fear, but it is because I am afraid of the end of the world, and sometimes, weather can be so ominous that it feels like the world is going to end. Stemming from that fear comes my fear of climate change. Many factors cause Climate change, one being pollution from landfills. In America, specifically, we over-consume, throwing away a ridiculous amount of “stuff” every day. Almost half of all climate change causing greenhouse gasses come from global consumption. This because the demand for stuff requires energy to produce the stuff, which emits CO2 into the air. Currently, 60 Americans are implementing Zero-Waste goals to prevent climate change, and save the world, including Philadelphia. 

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a lifestyle where a person produces no trash that will go into a landfill. Sounds impossible, right? Well, it’s not easy. But with a few simple changes in my everyday life, I’m well on my way to Zero Waste. 

I pack my snacks in glass containers and foil. Did you know tin foil is considered recyclable in Lower Merion? Me neither! But once I found out, I began to wrap my homemade bars in foil rather than plastic bags. I also took a look in my pantry and found a cute little mason jar for my trail mix and use it every day. Not only do I receive compliments, but I also don’t have to throw away a plastic bag.

 I bought a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo is a compostable material, which means it can be implemented into the soil to help with vitality. My research lead me to begin to compost! I’m most excited about this one! There is a service in the suburbs called My Kitchen Harvest. For just $18 per month, you can easily compost too! A man named Chris provides the bucket and comes to pick it up every other week, bringing it to Linvilla Orchards. The Orchards converts it into compost and garden soil that you can buy with a 20% discount for your garden. 

I try to cook more. I love to bake, and my baking used to consist of buying the Betty Crocker cookie mix, adding an egg and oil and calling it a day. But now, I make everything from scratch, that way I don’t have to throw out a box or a bag. I have also been more conscious when I do go out of which places sell recyclable or compostable materials. For example, Honeygrow has just begun to use compostable containers. Also, Mom’s Organic Market has every kind of trash bin you could imagine.


The above photo is a store in Brooklyn called Package Free. Founder, Lauren Singer, a Zero Waste Expert, only sells products which are compostable, sustainable and reusable. 

The link to the store can be found here: The link to Lauren’s blog can be found here:

Zero Waste has had its challenges, but I have been trying to be more conscious, and I’m still in the process. It is only the beginning. Living Zero Waste is like being a vegan: no one cares, and everyone thinks you’re judging them because they do things differently than you do. As someone who considers themselves on the road to both plant-based veganism and zero-waste, I can honestly say this is not a mission for anyone else to join. For me, it is an experiment with the accessibility of sustainability.