MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A couple on Long Island says they’re living a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle. They reuse and recycle almost everything they buy, and take out the trash only three times a year.
Composting food waste int heir backyard tumbler is one of the ways Nicole Lentini has reduced her trash output down to nearly zero. To avoid ever throwing out plastic she uses a bamboo toothbrush. Instead of saran wrap, she opts for a cover made from beeswax.
“We live in a very disposable society where it’s fast-paced and we use things for a minute that we throw away forever,” Nicole said.
She adopted the resourceful lifestyle three years ago with her husband, Matt, after reading about the growing trend online. Amazingly, they haven’t thrown a single bag of garbage out since last February.
They started out small, refilling plastic water bottles throughout the day. Eventually they bought reusable produce bags at the store. Instead of buying groceries with packaging they buy in bulk and store the food in reusable glass jars.
The zero waste mindset doesn’t stop in the kitchen. Even their toilet reduces waste by diverting the clean water they use to wash their hands into the toilet bowl to flush. The couple’s furniture is second-hand, and they’ve re-purposed old skateboards into shelving units. The thriftiness is not only reducing waste, but also how much they spend.
“It changes the way you shop, you look at everything a bit differently,” Matt said.
The Department of Sanitation says the average New Yorker throws out more than 1,000 pounds of trash per year, but the Lentinis only use three garbage bags — amounting to less than 30 pounds a year.
The couple even brings reusable utensils to work to avoid using disposable ones. Their biggest challenge, they say, is bringing their own plastic containers when they order take-out.