Well, that’s what adventurer and activist Rob Greenfield is doing with Trash Me.
This “dude making a difference” promotes sustainability in every aspect of his life. He has cycled across the country using a bamboo bicycle on two different occasions and lived in a 50 square-foot home before auctioning it off to raise money for 10 tiny houses. He is also the host of Free Ride on Discovery Channel and donates 100% of his media profits to grassroots nonprofits.
Wow! What a guy. And now, he is taking on his latest project: Trash Me.
Average Americans create 4.5 pounds of trash every day. That’s 135 pounds of trash every month, and that’s just the average. Imagine everyone in the country throwing away that much trash, which includes food waste! This is a huge problem and something needs to be done.
With this project, Rob is aiming to bring awareness to this large issue. What better way to shed light on a situation then to show it in a creative way.
In his Trash Me journey, he is living like the average American and creating roughly 4.5 pounds of trash every day. This is a drastic change for Rob who has lived years of a no-waste lifestyle. All the trash he creates must be worn for the entirety of the month.
To wear all his trash, Rob had to think outside of the box. He consulted Recycle Runway’s Nancy Judd to create the Trash Me Suit. It’s made almost entirely of recycled materials and allows Rob to showcase his trash in a safe and creative way.
With his new suit, his can-do attitude and supportive team, Rob is ready.
In an exclusive interview with Rob, he shares how he created Trash Me and a few tips on minimizing waste.
Network Radio: How did you come up with the concept for Trash Me?
Rob: We live in an era when it’s so easy to have no idea of how any of our little daily actions impact our community, our fellow humankind, other species, or the earth as a whole. I’m always brainstorming ways to get people to think about how their actions affect the world around them both near and far.
I try to keep things very entertaining so that it reaches people whether they necessarily care about the environmental or social issue that I’m focusing on. I’m always brainstorming visual ways to make a point or grab people’s attention because we live in such a visually oriented generation.
So for bringing attention to how much trash we create, I thought what better way to attract attention and get people thinking than to wear it on me everywhere I go. No out of sight out of mind mentality is possible that way!
N: What is your current daily routine with Trash Me?
R: It really varies day to do but most days I carry out all the standard things that people do such as going grocery shopping, eating, riding public transportation, walking to the places I need to go, etc.
The idea is to do all the things that we normally do but covered in all the trash I create. We are creating a film and some short videos throughout the month so a lot of my time is also spent on the computer and working with my team.
N: In your video, you mention that it’s pretty easy to create that much trash a day. Do you think that’s one of the reasons why we have such a big trash problem?
R: Absolutely. So much our life has been trashetized, meaning that so many of our daily actions and activities create trash. Most of our food is covered in trash, everything we buy is covered in trash, all the stores wrap our stuff in more trash (plastic bags).
It’s just so built into the way that most of us are accustomed to doing things today. It’s so built into our lives that many of us can’t even imagine a life that doesn’t generate so much trash.
N: What are some key takeaways you hope people learn from Trash Me?
R: The main thing really is to create a visual of what the average person in Americas trash habit looks like. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day and I hope through this project that I’ll create a pretty accurate depiction of what that looks like. We need to be aware of the problem before we can make positive changes.
Once people have been awakened with the visual I hope they will be inspired to create less trash and our website has dozens of little tips for people to reduce their trash.
N: What is going to keep you motivated for the 30 days?
R: To be honest… this has been really fun so far. Everywhere I go people have a huge smile on their face and are so interested by what the heck I could possibly be doing. Even in NYC where “they’ve seen it all” people are still so entertained and interested.
I think it’s going to get a lot harder as the weight really adds up, but for now, I don’t need much motivation. Ultimately I’ll be motivated by knowing that this project will inspire a lot of positive change.
Rob also provided a few tips on how to minimize trash.
- Say no to one-time use items– For anything that you would use just one time and throw out find a reusable alternative.
- Switch out bottled water for a reusable bottle and an at home water purifier.
- Ditch paper towels and napkins for cloth napkins that you can wash.
- Carry a hand towel with you so that you don’t have to use any paper towels while you’re out.
- Use a handkerchief instead of Kleenex.
- In the kitchen replace Saran Wrap and tin foil with glass or metal storage containers.
- Buy unpackaged food
- Shop at a store with a bulk section and take your own containers to fill up.
- Choose fruits and vegetables that are unpackaged.
- Bring your own – wherever you’re going so you won’t need to use disposable optoins.
- Purchase used supplies
- Shop at thrift stores or online to find used goods rather than buying new ones with packaging.
- Make a little compost bin for all of your food waste and yard waste.
Read through Rob’s “Waste Guide” to learn more about minimizing your trash.
Donate here to help him throughout his journey and stay connected with Rob’s
Author: Sasha Azoqa
Sasha Azoqa is a content writer and has been creating multimedia projects since 2014. She studied journalism and film at Cal State Fullerton and received her bachelors degree in communications. She has freelanced with OC Weekly and The Examiner with written articles, photography and short video packages.
Sasha enjoys uncovering local people and events who are making a difference in the world.
She is currently working with Network Radio, an iHeartRadio station, as their blogger. She has her own website that features a collection of written and visual stories on interesting people, places and things. Sasha Azoqa is living in Costa Mesa, California.