3 Tips for Hosting a Zero Waste Workshop

Once you feel you’ve become a master at the basics of zero waste living, the idea of passing on your knowledge floats through your mind. Best way to do that?  Host a zero waste workshop.

I know that may sound a bit intimidating, but honestly, hosting workshops is a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of planning and work, but well worth it (and no, you don’t have to do it for free). 

Three tips for hosting a zero waste workshop from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #workshop activism #sustainaability #DIY

If you’re looking to spread the zero waste message in your community, here are three tips I have for hosting a (successful) zero waste workshop.

Related: 10 Ways to Be a Zero Waste Activist in Your Town

1. find a good venue:

First and foremost, you need to know where you’d like to host your workshop. 

Perhaps you feel comfortable letting people into your home. Or perhaps hosting a workshop online sounds more appealing? I’ve seen Zero Waste Chef do this and it works for her.

If you’re thinking of hosting a workshop online, just be prepared: You’ll want to have a functioning webcam and computer. It sounds simple enough, but it’s very important your technology doesn't fail you in the middle of a workshop session.

If you’re hosting a workshop online, you’ll also have to think about how you’ll go about doing it (as in, what platform you’ll use). Will it be a skype call? A private youtube video?  On Crowdcast?

Once you figure out what platform your online workshop will run from, you also need to think about how you’ll set it up. Will it be a bunch of slideshows and pictures with your voice? Or will you be standing in front of the camera and demonstrating or talking as you go along?

Related: How to Find a Local Zero Waste Community

Thinking this through will definitely help you create the best workshop for your viewers.

If you prefer an in-person workshop, you’ll need to choose a physical venue to host it at. This can get a bit tricky, but there are generally two places you can‘t go wrong with: The library or a local coffee shop.

I’ve reached out to my local library and local cafes with a great response rate. You can shoot them an email or even just walk in and talk to them face to face about it. I do recommend developing a decent rapport with the owner beforehand, but this isn’t essential.

Look around and see what venues align with your own values and ask them if they’d be willing to host a workshop with you.  You might be surprised at what you find!

Ask them what their policy on events is, and make sure to set up a time and date that works well with the owner. Most workshops tend to run for about 2 hours, give or take.       

Three tips for hosting a zero waste workshop from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #workshop activism #sustainaability #DIY

2. choose a great topic:

Next up? Choosing a great topic to talk about at your workshop. Honestly, you might want to think about this before pitching to any local venues about hosting a workshop.

As a general rule, people like to make things, so consider hosting a DIY oriented workshop. When someone makes an item themselves, they value the item even more because they have a sense of ownership over it.

It’s also really nice for your attendees to be able to walk away with something physical. It leaves them with a good memory and a physical representation of what they learned.

I recommend starting your workshop by introducing yourself, explaining what zero waste is, and then having everyone introduce themselves (if the group isn’t too big). Then you can dive right into making some fun zero waste DIYs together!

Here are a few DIYs that are fun to make:

These are just a few ideas. Feel free to get creative and think up some of your own zero waste DIYs you’d want to share. 

It might help to stick to a general theme too. For example, if you wanted to create a zero waste cleaning workshop, you might want to focus on making toilet fizzies and/or all-purpose cleaner.

I personally like to stick with two simple DIYs for my workshops, and I suggest you do the same (especially if you’re new to this). My favorite DIYs to make at a workshop are definitely toothpaste and body scrub, since they’re so simple.

Be sure to ask your vendor for their opinion too! Perhaps there’s a specific DIY they prefer doing. When I hosted a workshop at Amour Vert, they weren’t crazy about the idea of using anything oil heavy. Which makes sense, just incase something got crazy and oil got everywhere… it wouldn’t be a good combo.

Be sure to list all the DIYs you would be up for creating to give them a list to choose from.

If you’d rather not make anything, don’t be afraid to just get up and share what zero waste waste means to you and how it manifests in your daily life. You can bring in your zero waste to go kit and a few other zero waste essentials to show the audience too, to create a more immersive effect. 

Three tips for hosting a zero waste workshop from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #workshop activism #sustainaability #DIY

3. know what to expect:

There are several things you should know about setting up your own workshop for the first time. First and foremost, you don’t have to do it for free. 

Talk to the vendor you’re hosting it at about ticket pricing. You can create the event on Eventbrite for free and charge however much you think is best.

Also, please be aware that your vendor may charge you per hour for your workshop. 

So, let’s say you host a two hour workshop and the space is charging you $30 an hour: You’ll have to pay them $60 upfront, or after the workshop is over, depending on their policy. Be sure to clear this up with your vendor as soon as possible.

Also, be sure to discuss with your vendor the ingredients and supplies you’ll need for your workshop. More than likely, you’ll have to buy all the ingredients needed to make the DIYs, so take this into account when creating your ticket price.

Take into consideration any bowls, mixing spoons, measuring spoons, and measuring cups you might need. Ask the vendor if they have any in shop you can use for the workshop, or bring some from home.

Related: Life Without Bulk Options

You’ll also have to calculate the ingredients to buy depending on your audience size. This can be a bit tedious, but you definitely want to make sure there’s enough for everyone!

I recommend finding a DIY recipe you love online and just multiplying the ingredient measurements by the amount of people you estimate will come to your workshop. 

For example, let’s say a body scrub recipe calls for 1 cup of coconut oil, and 2 cups of coffee grounds. In order to make enough for 10 people, you’d need 10 cups of coconut oil and 20 cups of coffee grounds.

Don’t forget to try and get your ingredients as sustainably packaged as possible! I try to get all of my ingredients in bulk, or in paper or glass packaging for workshops.

I really hope this helps you deliver a fun, educational workshop! Have you ever hosted a zero waste workshop before? What are some tips you have to share?

Three tips for hosting a zero waste workshop from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #ecofriendly #workshop activism #sustainaability #DIY
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Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.

Tips for Dealing with Eco-Anxiety

Eco-anxiety is nothing new, but the term has recently been coined to explain the anxiety, grief, and despair that’s often felt about the state of the environment/climate change or climate breakdown.

There’s a growing, new vocabulary for how we address the climate as climate change feels passive and adaptable whereas breakdown or emergency sound more alarming and in need of action. Here’s an article The Guardian wrote about it.

5 Tips for dealing with eco-anxiety from www.goingzerowaste.com #eco #zerowaste #sustainable #anxiety #ecoanxiety

A lot of this is stemming from recent protests like Extinction Rebellion and the School Strike for Climate being led by Greta Thunberg. You might remember a speech Thunberg made to parliament saying, “I want you to panic.”

I think “panicking” in the context of talking to world leaders who are a refusing and/or dragging their feet on climate change policies is apt.

However, you, yourself, I do NOT want you to panic. You can feel a since of urgency without panicking. I repeat, you can feel a since of urgency WITHOUT panicking.

When your body starts panicking your brain is working in over drive, your "fight-or-flight" response is triggered, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, your heart rate shoots up, and you can experience shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness etc.

Now, do you think in that state of panic you can make rational decisions? Effectively create change? Or just generally function at that level of intensity?

No, probably not. In fact, the only person you’re hurting by panicking is yourself, and not only is it bad for both your physical and mental health it can hold you back from creating change.

Eco-anxiety can of course, hit at anytime, but it’s triggered by the news. Bad news. You know the news I’m talking about.

Headlines like:

Unless you’re a monster, how can you not be affected by those headlines? What are you feeling right now? Sad? Scared? Worried? Upset? Because, how can world leaders read things like this and NOT want to act?

It’s infuriating right? Like HELLO. Humans need the earth to survive. Our species depends on these resources too!

1. acceptance:

This might be the hardest step in fighting climate change. There’s something about humans especially impassioned ones that are so against duality. But, if you’re going to keep eco-anxiety at bay you HAVE to learn to live with both the positive and negative emotions and realize that not everything is simple cut-and-dry.

You can make peace with something without condoning. You can also accept an outcome while fighting tooth and nail against it.

Practicing acceptance does NOT mean that I’m going to sit back and watch it happen. There’s a difference and I hope that you can understand the distinction.

But, there’s something about accepting “the very worse thing” that might happen that’s absolutely freeing. It’s like being afraid of it in its abstract is almost more scary than just accepting the fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Tons of irrational ideas float through my head all the time like:

  • I will lose everything and be homeless.

  • The stock market will crash and we'll be living like Fallout

  • An Earthquake will hit, my house will collapse and it will kill my family

The list goes on and on, but when I get these thoughts I just accept them and it really helps break my spiral. I just say, if that happens I accept it. And, it's almost like flipping a magic switch in my brain.

This is just like the serenity prayer that is often recited, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

ACTION ITEM: When you start to feel very overwhelmed by impending climate doom practice acceptance without complacency.

If the serenity prayer helps you, say that. If not, think of another similar mantra you can write and meditate on that involves both acceptance and action.

5 Tips for dealing with eco-anxiety from www.goingzerowaste.com #eco #zerowaste #sustainable #anxiety #ecoanxiety

2. get a new view:

In the same way that you needed to accept that bad things might happen, you also need to accept that good things might happen. But, that’s much more difficult to do because we have the dystopian future in spades.

Everywhere you turn, there’s post-apocalyptic media from books, TV, movies. In fact, if you think about the future, you probably see something dusty, dry, and kinda steampunky, right?

We’ve got that vision on lock. You know what we don’t have? We don’t have a vision of the future that’s just awesome!

I mean, what if we switched to a completely renewable energy grid? What if every roof and building were green spaces? What if these green space grew organic food that could supply the community? What if we started working with nature rather than against her?

We have to get a beautiful, clear picture of what we’re fighting for. If we’re just fighting for our lives that’s not very interesting. Paint a picture, a beautiful picture of a life that people want.

When people hear survival, they think surviving like barely surviving living in a cave and no one wants to fight for that. You know what they want to hear, they want to hear about thriving show them utopia. Show them how their life will drastically improve.

This is also a key principle for talking to people about saving the planet who don’t care about the planet. Let me know if a blog post on this interests you.

When you have this very clear big picture of how amazing things could be it becomes so much easier to talk to people. It also becomes so much easier to take action because you have a clear vision of what you’re fighting for.

ACTION ITEM: Take a few moments to journal or just day dream about how wonderful the future could be. Describe in detail how awesome the future could look. How does it look?

How do we live in harmony? How has general consciousness changed? When you get struck with a wave of fear, re-read this entry or go back to that place in your mind palace to remind yourself of what you’re fighting for.

5 Tips for dealing with eco-anxiety from www.goingzerowaste.com #eco #zerowaste #sustainable #anxiety #ecoanxiety

3. find a support system:

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s also easy to feel isolated, and one of the best ways to combat this loneliness is to find a group of like minded people.

Check out this post if you’re looking for tips on finding a local like minded eco-friendly community.

When we’re triggered everything feels very Us VS Them. It makes us turn on our closest friends and family - you know the ones that we don’t don’t consider to be on our “eco level” and wonder, “If they’re not on board, how is anything ever going to improve!?”

This can bring out a lot of negative traits like bitterness and being judgmental which can cause you to lash out at friends, family and unsuspecting strangers.

RELATED: How to Deal with Judgmental Friends and Family

ACTION ITEM: Remember that you’re not alone. There are TONS of people, groups, and organizations that are all working towards change.

Plug in and connect with a friend who cares about the environment. If you don’t feel like you have anyone who understands be sure to check out my blog post on finding a local community and consider joining my private facebook group and make a new friend!

5 Tips for dealing with eco-anxiety from www.goingzerowaste.com #eco #zerowaste #sustainable #anxiety #ecoanxiety

4. get to work:

After you’ve decompressed from the initial feelings of overwhelm, it’s time to get to work. The only way to truly work through these feelings is to make changes! This doesn’t mean that you need to make every change overnight and it certainly doesn’t mean that you take on the sole responsibility for the fate of the world.

Anxiety can also stem from feeling like you HAVE to be perfect and that you can NEVER make a mistake because if you do then the world will collapse and it will be all your fault.

That over course, is not true. Yes, it sounds like gross hyperbole when typed out, but somehow when you’re spiraling your thoughts go there.

We need individuals making changes, but we also need businesses and policy too. My recommendation is to start making simple changes around your home. Once you feel like you have a grasp on that, it’s time to get your community involved.

Then once you have your local community involved then pursue things, as a group, in policy and contacting businesses - there’s power in numbers!

I have blog posts to help you with all of those things, but this one The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide might be particularly helpful if you want to get a road map of what it looks like as you go from just starting to accomplished activist.

ACTION ITEM: Start making changes in your own life and in your community.

5 Tips for dealing with eco-anxiety from www.goingzerowaste.com #eco #zerowaste #sustainable #anxiety #ecoanxiety

5. seek out the positive:

And, lastly make sure that you’re seeking out the positive. One of the things I do to maintain positivity is intentionally seek out positive news. I make sure that I’m following accounts on social media that have a positive and uplifting take on what’s happening.

When all you hear is bad news because let’s be honest, it’s SO much easier to find the negative than it is the positive, it’s pretty demotivating. When you hear the good news, you just feel empowered. It makes you feel like what you’re doing is making a difference.

And, just so that we’re clear - what you’re doing is ABSOLUTELY making difference! Here are a few places that are great for finding good news.

ACTION ITEM: Follow a few accounts that inspire you with good news! I’ve rounded up a few that I like to follow if you need some inspiration.

If you found this article helpful, I would love it if you would give it a share!

18 Ethical and Sustainable Summer Dresses

It’s time to break out the cute summer dresses! With the warm weather here, you can’t go wrong with a classic sundress.

There’s only one problem: Most summer dresses made in the fast fashion industry aren’t sustainable. They’re made using unethical practices and produce a ton of textile waste.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

Several of the links below are affiliate links for more information please see my disclosure policy.

One of the most sustainable things you can do is wear what you already have, so that no new materials or resources are wasted in creating the dress. I really do encourage you to look in your own closet first and see what you have or host a clothing swap with friends!

However, if you’re in the market for a cute new dress, then I’ve got you covered. Here are several ethical and sustainable summer dresses you’ll want to wear all summer long.

christy dawn:

Christy Dawn creates some ultra-swoon worthy dresses. Seriously, and her summer collection is no exception.

These dresses look like they stepped straight out of a fairytale with their pretty florals, soft colors and flowy skirts. I can totally picture myself wearing these dresses and just chilling in a beautiful meadow, hands down.

What I love most about Christy Dawn dresses is the fact they’re made using only deadstock materials. In other words, the residual fabrics left over from major fashion houses.

They literally take textile waste other fashion brands create and repurpose it into something beautiful. If that’s not amazing, I’m not sure what is.

 My top picks are The Delphine Dress and The Rosemary Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

balzac paris: 

If you’re looking for chic, trendy, French-inspired dresses, look no further. Balzac Paris has you covered. 

All the dresses are made thoughtfully using sustainable materials like cotton or Tencel. Tencel is made from a cellulose fiber conceived from Eucalyptus pulp. It’s a completely biodegradable material, which is awesome.

Also, some dresses are even made from textile scraps from other popular outfits in their collection. This saves tons of textiles from entering landfills (where they’d just sit and waste away for no reason). 

They also occasionally use modal and elastane in their dresses. Modal is produced from renewable cellulosic plants such as beech trees, bamboo and pine trees, making it a biodegradable fabric. Elastane is basically similar to spandex, so it’s not biodegradable, but Balzac Paris makes sure to use minimal amounts in their dresses, if any at all.

Most of their dresses are made completely from Tencel or cotton, which is really great.

I really love how their dresses can be worn so effortlessly throughout summer. There’s something for everyone because there are both long and short dresses to choose from.

There’s also tons of fun colors, patterns and textures on these dresses. I’m a sucker for florals, but they have plenty of solid colored dresses too, which can transition nicely from day to night.

My top picks are the Amia Dress and this Eliane Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

fauxgerty: 

Want to buy a dress from a sustainable brand that caters to women of all shapes and sizes? Fauxgerty is the place to shop!

I really love how diverse and body positive their models are. It helps make online shopping easier when you know how a dress will look on different body types.

Most of Fauxgerty’s dresses are very flowy and perfect for twirling and frolicking about. You’re bound to look cute this summer in any of them because there’s something for everyone.

Not only does Fauxgerty have some incredibly cute dresses, they also have some incredible ethics too. 

All the materials they use are sustainable, from their certified organic cotton to their deadstock vintage. Deadstock vintage is basically rescued leftover fabric, otherwise destined for a landfill, which they’ve used to create beautiful pieces with vibrant colors and patterns.

Also, Fauxgerty uses faux suede and an eco-friendly leather alternative to make their clothes. The faux suede is made using the same sustainable fabric that car brands like Tesla use to create durable, comfy seats. The leather alternative is PVC-free and uses post-consumer recycled content that won’t peel or crack.

I also really love the fact Fauxgerty partnered up with Jess With Less to create The Jess Set! If you don’t follow Jess on Instagram, you’re seriously missing out – because she's always dishing out amazing sustainable fashion advice.

My top picks are The Edie dress and The Fiona dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

amour vert: 

Amour Vert has some really cute, unique and chic dress options to get you through the summer. 

They have everything from wrap dresses, to midi dresses to babydoll dresses. There are so many different cuts, styles, colors and patterns to choose from its essentially sustainable dress heaven. 

They use a bunch of eco-friendly materials to make their dresses too, such as organic cotton, modal, Tencel, Linen and OEKO-TEX certified Mulberry silk. Their silk being OEKO-TEX certified means it meets rigorous testing for harmful substances ensuring that the fabric is nontoxic and safe to use against skin, which is amazing. Not many brands do that!

Many of their dresses are a blend of modal and organic cotton, but there are some dresses made from one solid material, if you’d prefer. Each dress is certainly unique though, and there’s no limit to the ways you can style them.

My top picks are the Coral Wrap Dress (The PERFECT LBD!) and Hanne Silk Maxi.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

reformation:

Reformation probably has some of the prettiest, classiest dresses available, if you ask me. I cannot get over how flattering the cut and style of their dresses are. Their patterns are also swoon worthy.

Every time I see a Reformation dress, I’m tempted to get it. So tempted. But that wouldn’t exactly be ethical in and of itself, right? It’s best to avoid over consumption, even when it’s supporting a sustainable brand! 

I’m in love with their dresses that have a sweetheart neckline, florals, or slits. Reformation has a way of making dresses that are the perfect balance of cute and sexy rolled into one.

You can filter your search and shop by color, size, print, occasion, length and price. It totally makes navigating the sight ten times easier.

Perhaps the best part about Reformation is the fact they use eco-friendly fabrics that don’t harm the environment. They use materials like Viscose, Tencel, organic cotton, recycled cotton, and linen.

Viscose, aka rayon, is a man-made cellulosic fiber made from wood pulp, making it biodegradable. Reformation is extremely committed to ensuring all their forest-based products come from sustainably managed forests. To prove this, Reformation works with the non-profit group Canopy to help drive positive change for all their forest products.

Occasionally, they will also use deadstock materials in their outfits as well, though most dresses are made from new (albeit sustainable) fabrics.

As an overall brand, Reformation is just a great shop to support. They offer so many cool things like getting a $100 Reformation credit if you switch to wind power, and climate credits, aka carbon offsets. They’re also super transparent about their sustainability practices, which is so important.

My top picks are this Fern Dress and this Nikita Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

everlane:

If you prefer your dresses looking casual and cool, Everlane is the brand for you. They make a lot of laid-back looking pieces, perfect for lounging around with your friends on a sunny day.

In the summer, you never want to be boggled down by heavy fabrics, and Everlane gets that. They make their dresses using lightweight, sustainable materials that won’t make you sweat, such as cotton, linen and triacetate.

Triacetate is made from wood fibers called cellulose, making it biodegradable, just like cotton. I love the fact Everlane doesn’t mix materials on their dresses either – it's very straight forward.

There aren’t too many complex patterns with Everlane, so you can definitely get away with accentuating any of their pieces with fun accessories. 

My top picks are this Cotton Weave Picnic Dress and this Japanese GoWeave Short-Sleeve Mini Wrap Dress

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

thought: 

If you’re looking for some dresses with unique and abstract patterns, look no further. Thought has the dress for you!

There are so many fun patterns to choose from, it’s almost like you’re wearing art. Not to mention there are so many different cuts and styles available.

Their dresses are made from organic cotton, bamboo, Tencel, modal, and hemp. Hemp and bamboo are fast growing plants that are incredibly versatile, making them easily renewable.

Another thing to love about Thought? All their dyes are Azo-free, which happens to be a harmful carcinogen, mind you. And the finishes they use are gentle on the environment.

Similar to Reformation, you can apply filters while you shop to make finding something even easier. You can shop by price, print type, color, length, sleeve length, style, size, or even fabric! How convenient, right?

My top picks are this Emily-Mary Tencel Midi Dress and this Emmeline Bamboo Jersey Wrap Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

oh seven days:

For the absolute perfect blend of feminine and rustic, you need to check out Oh Seven Days. They create some very pretty pieces, all made from reclaimed fabric. 

Similar to how Christy Dawn dresses are made, Oh Seven Days sources their materials from ‘runoff’ fabric rolls. Lots of textile factories often have unused fabric that’s doomed for the landfill, thanks to miscalculated consumptions.

Oh Seven Days seeks to correct this problem: Being based in Istanbul, one of the textile manufacturing capitals of the world, they have access to a bunch of these factories. This means they can easily save them from the landfill and create some really beautiful dresses from them!

Another amazing thing Oh Seven Days does is it will take back your old garments and recycle them. So, when you finish wearing the pretty sundress you get from them, or it’s no longer wearable, it won’t have to end up in the landfill.

My top picks are this Sunday Peasant Dress and the Sophie Dress.

18 ethical and sustainable dresses you'll be wearing all summer long from www.goingzerowaste.com #summerwardrobe #dresses #summer #ethicalfashion #slowfashion #sustainable

thred up:

Thred Up is amazing if you’re looking for affordable dresses without harming the environment. They’re essentially the world’s largest online thrift store.

You can find tons of lightly worn items there for cheap. They have dresses from so many well-known brands too, like Forever 21, H&M, and Anne Taylor. 

It’s a great option for those who love conventional brands but want to help the environment at the same time. By purchasing secondhand, you’re keeping the item out of a landfill and saving a buck. 

I love how you can filter your search so much on ThredUp – you can choose to shop by size, brand, color, price, material, condition, style, skirt length, occasion or even neckline. It really helps you find the perfect match for you!

Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me.com, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.