2016 Zero Waste Week Challenge

Do you know how much waste the average person produces in a day?  The answer is 4.3 pounds.  Over a year, that adds up to about 1,600 pounds of waste!

The good news is you can easily reduce that number by becoming more aware of what you’re throwing away.  By being a little more conscientious of your trash output, you can change your old habits and live more sustainably.

Take the Zero Waste Week Challenge from April 18th to April 22nd and commit to producing as little waste as possible for an entire week!


  1. Sign up for the challenge on this Google Form
  2. Collect any waste that you do not recycle or compost in a 1 gallon bag
  3. From April 18th to the 22nd, carry around the bag with you at all times
  4. Submit your results to be entered in to win the grand prize

A. Post a picture of your final Zero Waste Week bag on the Earth Week Facebook            page to be entered in 1 time
B. Bring your bag to Earth Day (April 22nd from 11am-2pm on the South Library            Lawn) to be entered in 5 times
C. Complete both and be entered in to win 6 times

The grand prizes include a gift card to Cafe Baudelaire and Dog Town. Two winners will be chosen on April 25th!

Tips and Tricks

The Week Before

  • Avoid grocery shopping waste: Bring reusable totes, cloth bags (for bulk aisles), and jars (for wet items like cheese and deli foods) to the store

During the Week

  • Avoid carrying apple cores and other smelly food waste around with you all day – pre-cut your fruit at home and take it with you on the go in tupperware
  • Avoid excess packaging at all cost – it’ll fill up your bag faster than you realize
  • Paper towels and disposable cleaning supplies are ultimately trash – they’ll fill up your bag as well (try cleaning up with a reusable rag or sponge)



  • Think of recycling as a last resort. Have you refused, reduced, or reused first? Question the need and life-cycle of your purchases.
  • Buy primarily in bulk or secondhand, but if you must buy new, choose glass, metal, or cardboard.
  • Avoid plastic: Much of it gets shipped across the world for recycling and often ends up in the landfill (or worse yet, the ocean).
  • Links to recycling information in Ames:
    • Visit Ames Recycling Programs to learn the best ways to recycle cans and bottles, cardboard, clothing, electronics, glass, household goods, printer cartridges, rechargable batteries, and more!
    • Iowa State’s FP&M Recycling Tips provide some basic ground rules that all students should follow!

For your Recycling Bin

Not for your Recycling Bin

  • Paper (including envelopes and magazines)
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Metal
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Aluminum cans and aluminum foil (make sure to wipe it clean first)
  • E-waste (i.e.e cellphones, computer supplies, and more)
  • Liquids
  • Chemicals
  • Yard waste (compost instead)
  • Food waste (compost instead)
  • Styrofoam
  • Cellophane (i.e. the plastic window on some cardboard boxes)
  • Aerosol cans



  • Too cold to compost outdoors? Try an indoor composting system! Bokashi composting kits are specifically designed for urban areas without access to much space outdoors, and the special fermentation process they use is odor-free!
  • Find a compost system that works for your home and get to know what it will digest (dryer lint, hair, and nails are all compostable). Check out this list of 80+ items that you can compost!
  • Turn your home kitchen trash can into one large compost receptacle. The bigger the compost receptacle, the more likely you’ll be to use it freely.
  • Don’t have a compost bin in your house? Try saving all of your food scraps in a separate ziploc bag, and store them in your freezer. Then at the end of the week, give your scraps to a friend who has a composting bin!

Advice from The Live Green! Team

The Live Green Team took part in the Zero Waste Week Challenge earlier this semester to ensure they could offer their experiences as others take the challenge and have kept records of their experiences! Check out the links below to read about our Zero Waste Week challenges, and ah-ha moments!  We learned a lot about waste and ourselves.


12819181_10209017689349605_3097251542453779956_oSteve 12065605_10153649525542744_4297105874999903341_nMadi








Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s