orderForm.noItems She notes, “Since I started working toward zero waste, I have more confidence, am able to speak up about less waste and am mindful when I shop.”

A World View In May, Johnson toured 16 countries in 17 days giving presentations. “Surprisingly, we oſten had to open another room because interest was higher than expected. In Russia, they broadcasted my talk to 17 cities,” she says. Johnson learned that many countries have

no waste collection or recycling programs. Plastic bottles, bags and trash litter many land- scapes. “Life in the United States is different. Here, we have bigger houses, need more and create more waste. Elsewhere, grocery shop- ping is done daily instead of weekly, produce is local, seasonal and sustainable instead of imported,” she observes. “In a way, it’s easier to go zero waste there because they’re using just what they need. Everyone deserves a place to live and life’s necessities. Past that comfort level, it’s excess.” Johnson sees rapid changes underway in

consumer thinking and is hopeful looking for- ward. “I don’t want to tell others how to live. I just want to share our experiences. Te United States’ example has a huge impact worldwide. Zero waste is the necessary lifestyle of the future, and it begins at home.” Connect with the freelance writer via Fun Places to Start

* With the PaperKarma junk mail app, take a picture to unsubscribe from receiving bulky catalogs, credit card offers and unwanted paper mail (

* Nike recycles worn-out sneakers, submitted pre- washed for odor removal, into Nike Grind, a material used to create athletic and playground surfaces and more (

* Students in K-12 schools across the continental U.S. and parts of Canada can collect and repurpose all brands of plastic markers, including dry-erase and highlighters. A min- imum of 100 markers and up to 40 pounds is the suggested package. Crayola’s Colorcycle program provides prepaid FedEx shipping labels via

* Rubber bands can be donated to local schools or to the post office for mail carriers’ use.

* Donate old cell phones to charities. Because it reduc- es the need for coltan, an African ore mined in endangered gorilla habitat, zoos in San Diego, Oklahoma City, Oakland and Cincinnati are among those collecting cell phones for recycling. Check and

* takes the guesswork out of gift giving. A user can select a date night at a favorite spot, a donation to charity or any item. It’s not limited to a particular store or occasion. Avoid unwanted gifts and the guilt of regifting.

* Use to swap children’s clothing and keep clothes out of landfills.

The most Earth-conscious option is to reduce, re-use, then recycle or donate to charities.

September 2018 31


ero Waste is NOT just about recycling. The ironic thing about Zero Waste is that there is little evidence it is in play! Zero Waste is a planning process. If you plan from the very beginning to pro- tect resources, reduce consumption, source locally and responsibly and choose durable goods over dispos- able, then there will be little left to re- cycle or compost. That is Zero Waste!

I recommend Catalog Choice ( for junk mail reduction, and encourage people to thrift shop, share tools and repair what they can. Reuse Alliance is a great resource. Reuse agencies such as Scrap Exchange, Reuse Warehouse, Fillaree, Durham GreenToGo, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, ReCyclery, Goodwill stores and BuyMeOnce can help reduce not only the amount of material going to landfills, they can inspire creativity and stimulate the economy. Recycling centers are ABSOLUTELY NOT at the heart of Zero Waste—they fall at the END!”

–Muriel Williman

Muriel Williman is Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department. Contact her at:


Fillaree, Durham

Goodwill Stores, NC

GreentoGo, Durham

Habitat Wake ReStore, Apex

Habitat Wake ReStore, Cary

Habitat for Humanity Restore Durham/Chapel Hill

Habitat Wake ReStore, Raleigh

Habitat Wake ReStore, Wake Forest

Reconsidered Goods, Greensboro

ReCyclery, Carrboro

Te ReUse Warehouse, Durham

Te Scrap Exchange, Durham

Scrap Triſt, Durham

NATIONAL RESOURCES BuyMeOnce Freecycle Te Reuse Alliance

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