5 Things I’ve learned from making less waste

Nicole Sara Sivens
October 8, 2018
7 min read
Photo credit:

Jess Carpenter used to love owning stuff. But then she saw a documentary called We the Tiny House People, which profiled the lives of tiny house dwellers and the freedom it afforded them. When she started listening to The Minimalists podcast, things changed for her. 

So Jess changed her mind and her lifestyle. She and her husband began purging their belongings, getting rid of everything that wasn’t necessary, sometimes even pulling the entire contents of a room into the center of the floor and parsing through it, leaving themselves with only the necessities.

jess with less
Jess Carpenter

We talked to Jess about her low waste lifestyle and the high impact it has on her finances.

Inspiration is everywhere...

I was desperate to simplify my life and get out of debt when I discovered minimalism through the documentary We the Tiny House People. I was inspired to pare down and make do with less. Buying less automatically helps you save money, who knew?!

...and so is wastefulness

So many take out boxes! I typically can’t eat a standard restaurant portion in one sitting, so I always have leftovers. Once I really committed to eliminating waste I needed a simple solution. Now, I just remember to bring a container or a mason jar to avoid using the plastic or styrofoam takeout boxes.

We can always do better by being thoughtful

Learning about the fast fashion industry and how much of our clothing ends up in a landfill really opened up my eyes to how I was consuming. I’m not perfect, but I am learning to buy slowly and intentionally by either shopping secondhand or saving my pennies for clothing made by ethical and sustainable companies.

This is not an ‘all or nothing’ lifestyle

Low Waste for me is a more inclusive term. Everyone is able to find a way to create less waste someway in their everyday lives. Zero Waste to me can feel unattainable and stop someone from learning about lowering their waste if they fell the can never be completely zero waste.

Read the room when talking about your passions

I focus on bringing facts and positivity to our waste issue. Most people are unaware of the environmental effects their everyday actions have. I never aim to judge or make anyone feel bad, instead I choose to educate and bring solutions that leave you feeling like you can make a difference (and save money in the process).

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