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The Trash-free and Happy, Too mindset is all about re-energizing the 3 R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle for a new generation of consumers. It acknowledges today’s consumer lead busy, on the go lifestyles. It recognizes that we don’t make our own clothes, grow our own food, and make our own stuff. We must buy (or otherwise acquire) our clothing, food, and other necessities commercially. It acknowledges the power of technology, smart design, and efficient use of materials and resources to help us live better. And it acknowledges the role of favorite brands that are aligned with our zero waste values.

Our Trash-free and Happy, Too mindset was informed by all the stories and tips submitted by the members of the WeHateToWaste global community since its founding in 2012.  Want to learn more?  Want to get aligned yourself?  READ ON….

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Reduce, Reuse, Refill

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It starts with what you buy — or choose not to buy.  Of course, don’t buy anything you don’t need. And when you do buy, go for ‘less quantity and more quality.’  Think about it, wouldn’t you rather show off your few prized possessions rather than a mountain of cheap and meaningless stuff’?  There’s a reason why durable is better than disposable and reduce and reuse (refill, too) come before recycle on the road to zero waste.

Read inspiring STORIES about reducing, reusing and refilling from our global community.

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Share Rather Than Own

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It used to be all about stuff — buying new as the default option, how much stuff you owned, and even perversely, how much stuff you could afford to throwaway.  But today’s smart money is on access to the same stuff, (and often, even better stuff).  What kinds of stuff?  All the things that you now own that don’t get used day to day, week to week, or even year to year.  And that’s a lot!  Think about the time and space you could unlock if you didn’t have to maintain and store that stuff.  Welcome to the Sharing Economy. It’s low tech — think community fridges, little free libraries and repair cafes. And it’s high tech at the same time — think internet platforms like Craigslist and NextDoor.com — and it’s making lives easier, better, more affordable. And, importantly, with a lot more community, for millions around the globe.

Read inspiring STORIES about sharing, swapping, borrowing and more from our global community.

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Respect Energy, Water and Other Resources

Alot of the stuff we buy consumes water, energy, paper, and other resources. Cutting down on wasted resources — when we brush our teeth, do the laundry, or print a copy begins with new habits and innovative designs.

Read inspiring STORIES our saving the watts and drop from our global community.

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Respect Food

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Did you know that about 40 – 50% of all food ready for harvest in the U.S. never makes it to a table?  A lot of this waste occurs from farm to retailer, but consumers can do their part by taking pains to carefully preserve food, reinvent leftovers, and eat all their spinach!

Read inspiring STORIES about saving the precious morsels from our global community.

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Live Efficiently

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The average home in America has more than doubled in size since 1970, and there are more cars than drivers.  When homes have more space than necessary, stuff tends to accumulate. How many people do you know who no longer use their garage for a car? Having just as much space as you need challenges you to use that space wisely, and to live smarter, smaller and closer to work and play. (Want to read more about this? Check out David Owen’s tips for living smaller, living closer and reducing gas miles HERE)

Read inspiring STORIES about living with a smaller footprint from our global community.


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Repair and Repurpose

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Within products and packaging are embedded materials and energy that will go to waste if you dispose — even recycle or compost — prematurely. Don’t get rid of something before its time is really up. Opt for repairing rather than replacing or get those creative juices flowing and find a new niche for an item. Get in the spirit of D.I.Y. to save money and achieve zero waste!

Read inspiring STORIES about repairing and repurposing from our global community.

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Recycle or Compost

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Ban the trash can! Compost the food scraps! Make sure products are sent to the appropriate place when their useful life is over. That torn newspaper blowing in the wind on a park bench could have been placed in a recycling bin. That leftover apple carelessly tossed in the garbage could have been deposited in a compost container. When a product can no longer be used for primary or secondary purpose, capture the materials and energy embodied in them by recycling or composting, rather than disposing of them in a landfill. That’s the key to getting to zero waste.

Read inspiring STORIES about recycling and composting from our global community.



Influence Others

All of us are part of the solution, as individuals — whether it be as a green mom, policymaker, product designer, storyteller, or anything else, and as part of our larger society. We can tailor our lifestyles.  And we can advocate on the larger scale, as citizens and consumers.

Do your part:

  • Share your ideas
  • Be a role model
  • Teach children and others in your community
  • Try out new products and practices and share your experiences
  • Advocate to industry and government
  • Keep learning. Never stop asking questions.


Read inspiring STORIES about influencing family, friends, businesses and more from our global community.

Learn how to GET INVOLVED in our community.