One simple mind hack to reduce waste 2

Hope all you Adventurers had a frightful Halloween! (And I mean that in the most positive way!) You know what’s even scarier than all the horror movies ever made put together? Waste.

Image courtesy of hyena reality at

Now that Halloween’s over and Thanksgiving’s just a few days away, we are officially in the middle of what I call Stuff Season. My good friend Dawn over at Florida Coastal Cooking & Wellness made a pledge a while back to stop using one-use plastic. I’m so incredibly proud of her and everything she does for our planet, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if ALL the Adventurers out there did something like that?”

So this year, during Stuff Season between now and January 2nd, I want to hear all about how you’re fighting waste in your own life. Comment on this post or on Facebook or Twitter. Use #TOAWasteChallenge just for funsies.

Don’t worry though—The Organic Adventurer is your personal trainer for your environmental footprint, and I’m going to teach you one very simple mental hack to ace this challenge! (And you’ll get free access to a super-helpful tool.)

Here it is. Are you ready?

Photo credit, clockwise: LiveScience/; CostaRicanSeaTurtles/ YouTube; Justin Hofman/; Chris Jordan/

That’s it. The simple mind-shift of realizing that when we “throw something away,” it doesn’t vaporize, that it’s still right here with us and will be for a long, long time, if not forever, will completely transform your relationship with Stuff.

So make that picture above the wallpaper on your phone, put it on your desktop at work, and just this once, because it will change everything, you have permission to print it out and attach it to the lid of your trash can at home.

Every time you go to throw something away think about that picture. Let’s ask ourselves:

“Where is “Away?”

Answer: Right here. The ocean we swim in, the water we drink, the food we eat.

“Who lives there and has to deal with my straws and endless plastic bottles and shopping bags and…Stuff?

Answer: You. Your kids who drink water, eat food, and use products full of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Their future kids whose genes will be changed by it all. That sea turtle who had to have the straw pulled out of his nose. His buddy who died because he ate the plastic shopping bag that looked like a jellyfish.

How will this help you create less waste?

  • The little subconscious pause in your day-to-day of tossing the sandwich bag or zipping a cleaning wipe out of the plastic tub will lead to the thought, “There must be a better way.”
  • And then, just like you’ve “never seen” that model of car on the road until you plan to buy one and then you see it everywhere, you’ll start seeing those “better ways.” You’ll notice and read blog posts about how to get yourself off of junk mail lists so you don’t have to deal with that waste in the first place.
  • You’ll start realizing how much packaging everything comes in and start looking for stuff in minimal, or no, packaging. You’ll eye the bulk bin section and wonder if you should try it.
  • You’ll get as mad as I did when you realize that you’ve continually been buying products that are supposed to be “green” and less toxic…every time in a brand-spanking-new plastic bottle. And then you’ll get even more mad when you realize you’re paying mostly for water, shipping and packaging! Maybe then the “I have water. I should just make my own stuff!” thought will sneak in.
  • Finally, a mental shift into an even higher “green gear” will occur. You’ll start thinking of Stuff in terms of how much you really want and need it, how long you’ll be able to get use out of it, how many purposes it can serve and how many times you can transform it into something else. I call this the “Garbage vs. Resource” gear. In it, you’ll get everything you can out of your Stuff, be super-creative, AND save some serious coin.

So, if using and buying less Stuff sounds good to you and you want some help doing that; if not paying, for example, 300% more for water, a plastic bottle you’re going to throw “Away,” and some chemical that’s likely bad for you seems interesting; if not wasting the planet sounds like a plan to you, here’s how to get the tool I was talking about free access to earlier:

TOA Subscribe Box

Scroll back up to the “Get 10 Tips for Green Living!” box, enter your email address, and I’ll send you The Organic Adventurer’s “Top 10 Ways to Lead a Healthier, Greener Life” right away. (Current email subscribers should have already received these tips. If you didn’t, check your spam folder and mark it as “not spam.” If you still can’t find it, let me know!) You’ll also have access to great information on how to live your best “green” life that will be delivered straight to your inbox on a regular basis. How convenient, right?!

But the best part, the most exciting part, is that I’m working on a project to bring green living to a much wider audience and, as an email subscriber, you’ll have exclusive access to offers that will only be available to you.

Now, fill out that email subscription, get your free tips, and let me know, either below in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter, what you already do to waste less OR what your biggest waste pet peeve is that you’d like to tackle during this challenge. I’ll be taking those on in those newsletters you’ll get in your inbox and, in between, we can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter with the #TOAWasteChallenge hashtag.

I’m wishing you all Happy Holidays with less Stuff!

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2 thoughts on “One simple mind hack to reduce waste

  • Dawn

    I couldn’t agree more when you said, “You’ll get as mad as I did when you realize that you’ve continually been buying products that are supposed to be “green” and less toxic…every time in a brand-spanking-new plastic bottle.”

    I get mad every time I have to repeat myself five times. NOOOO STRAW. At one Mexican restaurant he thought I said “no salt” in my margarita even though I said it multiple times and my drink showed up with a straw but no salt. I get mad when I see people putting a pack of gum in a plastic bag. I get mad when I’m at a Tiny House festival and trying to hunt down a water fountain to fill up my paper cup takes an act of God. Everyone continues to direct me to the plastic bottles of water for sale at the vendors. I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. BUY. WATER. IN. A . PLASTIC. BOTTLE. ARG!

    Anyhoo, love your mind hack. It will definitely get people thinking!

    p.s. thanks for the shoutout. Muwah!

    • The Organic Adventurer Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Dawn! Ugh, that feeling of being forced to use single-use items is the worst! And it just shows how pervasive waste is in our culture. It’s so automatic, such a habit, that everyone just *assumes* you’ll want a straw or a bag or a plastic bottle. I’m sure that server is WAY more used to hearing “No salt” than “No straw!” That’s why I want to get people to pause when their hand lands on that straw or whatever it is–to think, “Hang on…what happens to this *after* it’s used?” The next post will be all about those single-use items! Again, thanks for commenting and for all you do every day for this planet.