The Roots of Trashless in Toronto

I stumbled across the world of zero-waste while "studying" (i.e. procrastinating) for an undergraduate exam. As it always happens, a friend of a friend liked the Facebook page of fellow blogger Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers and it popped up on my newsfeed. Ever the green enthusiast, I perused through her blog and discovered the world of zero-waste, catalyzed by Bea Johnson of The Zero Waste Home. Here were people who literally sent NOTHING to the landfill. They were consuming less resources and leaving less in the environment, lessening the effects on ecosystems. They were maximizing their impact on the Earth by minimizing their impact - it was like eco-inception. I’ve always been passionate about protecting the environment, but my actions extended to short showers and a fairly decent effort towards recycling. Intrigued, I started looking at waste in Toronto...have I been living on Toronto’s trash mountain? It didn't take me long to figure it out:

The average Canadian produces 2.5 pounds of residential trash in one day. That means that with 2.615 million people living in Toronto, on average we produce 2,386,187,500 pounds of trash per year. That is equivalent in weight to 238,000 Asian elephants - in the Toronto core alone.
— National Geographic

Suddenly all I could thing about was trash. My eyes were opened to what I like to think of as the negative space of the eco-picture - with all this attention being swung to what is being done to harm the earth (animal agriculture, fossil fuels, resource degradation, etc.), only passing attention was being paid to what was being discarded and forgotten about - trash - in spite of the impact of waste buildup and decomposition on wildlife, human health, and climate change.

So I transitioned to a zero-waste lifestyle – i.e. I do my best not to create any trash, i.e. anything that goes to a landfill or falls to the bottom of the ocean (more details here).  I also follow Bea Johnson’s rule of 5Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.

This site, Trashless in Toronto, documents my journey and attempts to lay the groundwork for future adopters of the zero-waste lifestyle and the development of a zero-waste and more eco-friendly Toronto. It’s part educational resource and part blog about my experiences living zero-waste. Tons more resources are on their way - from guides on how to get started to hilarious stories of me asking people to fill my jar with pad thai! My goal with this blog is to give a realistic insight into what it’s like to transition from a “normal” consumerist lifestyle to living the zero waste lifestyle on a day-to-day basis. My hope is that seeing the transition period will help normalize the zero-waste lifestyle, give some guidance to some of the decisions that need to be made, and show how it is attainable for readers who may feel otherwise.

So join me on my journey, and join Toronto's growing army of zero-waste, eco-warriors! Follow me on my personal Instagram (@Rachelka92) for updates on Trashless in Toronto (TinT) and subscribe to the blog to get the essentials on zero-waste living in Toronto – guides, how-to’s, hilarious zero-waste stories, and more!

With love,