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The Rise and Fall of the Zero-Waste Trash Jar

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A trash jar can amplify that personal focus, since keeping one requires such extreme attentiveness to one’s consumption patterns. 

Kellogg says it’s simply not worth putting all your energy into a trash jar if it leaves no bandwidth for chipping away at some of those bigger, system-level problems. Sure, shopping zero-waste might support a reuse-centric grocery store, but obsessing over the plastic zip ties used to cinch a bag of bulk kidney beans? Not so much.

When Kellogg quit her trash jar, she used her extra time and energy to serve on her city’s beautification commission, a group dedicated to reducing trash and litter generation. She generated a little more garbage herself, but she now had the capacity to help organize a citywide trash cleanup event and a dump day, a way for locals to responsibly dispose of bulky items.

“I also tried to work on a Styrofoam ban, but that got nixed,” she said, laughing. “Not everything you do is going to succeed.”

Kellogg is a bit of an outlier; serving in local government isn’t for everyone, and she said it’s certainly not a…

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