Zero Waste
One Year Later

February 19, 2009 will mark the one year anniversary of The Glossary Link Alchemical Nursery Project founder Elizabeth Slate’s crazy project to save her trash and stop putting it to the curb – recyclables included.

What got Liz to declare “I pledge to not send one thing to the incinerator/land fill/what have you”?

Last winter on Feb. 19, 2008, while walking past the Rose Garden in Thornden Park, Liz noticed a number of plastic bags stuck on the rose bushes. When she went to pick them up she noticed other bits of garbage: broken plastic cups and packaging, styrofoam,  McD's fry containers, assorted papers and paper towels, a couple beer cans, a plastic water bottle, a cardboard box, even a bunch of partially deflated balloons. It didn’t look pretty.

But the thing that bothered Liz most of all was that although it may have looked bad, it exposed the reality of a throw-away culture where the not so pretty garbage is typically carted away – out of sight and out of mind.

It got Liz to thinking about the subject of waste: where it comes from, where it goes, and how to approach a zero waste ideal as an individual. This contemplation resulted in her decision later that day to begin her project.

In addition to not putting anything out on the curb, Liz’s project inspired her to apply her personal aspirations through the planning of actual community events, such as the Lipe Art Park Earth Day celebration in April, 2008 and the 40 Below Summit in October, 2008, where she organized zero waste efforts to capture recycling and compostables and to plan the events so as to avoid any landfill-destined materials being produced.

She is also interested in pursuing work to develop policy and guidelines to address the root of the waste problem by collectively avoiding creating it in the first place, recyclables and non recyclables included.

One year later, she has a large tupperware container filled with non recyclables – mostly plastic wrapping and packaging that weighs, all together, approximately 5 pounds.

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