Woman Brags About How All Her Trash Fits Inside One Mason Jar

Lauren Singer is the most ecologically conscientious person I have ever read about. She tells
New York magazine’s Daily Intel that all the trash she’s produced in the past two years fits in one 16-ounce Mason jar. She carries her garbage glass around with her everywhere, just in case she needs to dispose of something that cannot be recycled or composted. (Or not. See update below.)

“The 23-year-old is a practitioner of a light-footprint, minimal-plastic lifestyle, and she meticulously avoids purchasing or using anything that might end up in a landfill,”
New York‘s Annie Lowrey writes. “She details her efforts—using a menstrual cup, carrying around silverware, convincing restaurants to go zero-waste for her birthday party—on her blog.” (The tagline for Singer’s blog, Trash is for Tossers, is clear: “Say no to trash.”)

So what’s in
the jar?

It’s a bunch of different things, but predominantly packaging. There’s a hot-chocolate wrapper, two macaroni-and-cheese wrappers. There’s a Band-Aid in there. Let’s see, let me look. There are some tags from the inside of clothing, some plastic straws.

Is she ever daunted by the idea of carrying around this glass full of garbage with her for the rest of her life?

Over the past year, what’s been the worst temptation? Like, is there ever a time where you’ve said, “I’m sick, I’m tired, I’m ordering Seamless, whatever packaging the food comes in.”

There’s not! The only thing that happened where I had to produce some waste is when I got poison ivy really bad. I’m really allergic to it. I tried natural remedies and they didn’t work. Went to dermatologist, and they gave me topical steroids that come in a tube. I ended up being able to recycle the cap, but I wasn’t sure about the actual medicine itself.

That’s it.

That’s it.

That’s it!

“I don’t try to convert people,” Singer tells Daily Intel. “But the people who know me, I think sometimes they start thinking about their trash, being around me.” (Maybe because she currently has all the trash she has produced in two years on her person.)

“I have friends that have started using Mason jars or eating more organic or started composting. But that’s never something I’ve told them to do. They just started doing it,” she goes on.

Should you doubt Singer’s dedication, she insists that this holiday season, all she’s getting is plants.

“I told them [my family] this year, I don’t want any gifts from them, but if they wanted to give me something, they could give me plants or things that grow. And I asked for online subscription to
The New Yorker.”

She also quit her job to start making and selling “handmade, organic, vegan”
laundry detergent that sounds delicious.

I wrote this post drinking water from a plastic cup that I am not confident I will recycle.

Update, Dec. 24: Singer tweeted at me that I misunderstood Daily Intel’s interview with her. She does not carry her trash around in a mason jar everywhere she goes. In fact, she claims to never produce trash. “I don’t really encounter situations where I produce trash anymore and so I don’t carry trash around with me ever,” Singer tweeted at me. “I have been living this way for a while now so I have learned to anticipate situations and be prepared.”


[Screengrab via Simple Co. Kickstarter]