Darshan Karwat is a post-doc at the University of Michigan. Aware that the average American generats nearly 1500 pounds of trash a year he set out to minimize his impact... and succeeded, reducing his annual trash output to roughly six pounds.
"In many ways, though, my life didn’t change much. I had grown up in a humble setting in India, where I was accustomed to consuming as little as possible. I was a member of the People’s Food Co-op in Ann Arbor, where I bought my produce unpackaged. Most of my waste came from food packaging, so anything I could do to limit it reduced my trash and recycling significantly. I bought bread from the bakery, gave up most cheeses and drank milk only when it came in reusable bottles. Even though I seldom bought new gizmos or clothes, I stopped buying them entirely for this project, because I knew creating them, transporting them and selling them at retailers generated plenty of upstream waste. If I thought I really needed something, like a new mug or hoodie, I’d wait a week before buying it. And then I’d wait another week. Turns out I never bought those things, which means I never needed them. I had enough already. Compared with the way so many others live, it wasn’t much of a hardship."
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