Published: Feb. 7, 2022 By

It’s a new year and a new semester which means it’s a perfect time to reflect on past habits and work to be better for not only ourselves but for our planet. New year resolutions are fun to plan, but often hard to maintain. For this article, I asked our Zero Waste Outreach team what they are doing to work towards living a more zero waste lifestyle. It is so important to recognize that implementing a zero-waste lifestyle is a learning process! It doesn’t take a new year to set new goals for yourself and I hope that these goals may be some inspiration for new habits!

Ryan Zabors (New to the team!!)

Freshman studying Environmental Studies

Goal: Support sustainable clothing over fast fashion!

Being a student in college can be hard when it comes to fashion. Shopping on a budget while trying to stay on trend when there are constant changes can seem almost impossible. Fast fashion can seem like the perfect solution, but the unseen environmental costs are detrimental. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, only second to oil. Globally, we now consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. Combatting this mentality can be done through thrifting, investing in high-quality closet staples, and encouraging each other to love the clothes we already own (do I REALLY need it mentality!).


Looking for more inspo on rejecting the fast fashion industry?:


Kat Avedovech (New to the team!!)

Sophomore studying Psychology 

Goal: Use Reusable Alternatives!

Single-use plastic products are purchased and discarded so frequently it is easy to adopt an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality. However, these plastic products do not disappear once they're disposed of; instead, most plastic ends up contributing to the 14 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans. Plastic water bottles, grocery bags, ziplock bags are large contributors to the growing amounts of plastic in our oceans and landfills. Although recycling lowers waste output, eliminating plastic use altogether is an effective way to reduce pollution. Bringing reusable bags to the store and using steel water bottles are eco-friendly alternatives that are easy to adapt into our everyday lives.


Resources to inspire you to help reduce plastic consumption:

Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic

Effects of Reusable vs Single-Use on the Environment

Infographic: Where Does All Plastic End Up?


Bryce Poirot

Junior studying Neuroscience and Psychology

Goal: Always make sure my recycling is sorted correctly!

Recycling is tricky. Similar to learning a new language, there are many exceptions to set rules and it is complicated to remember everything correctly. Eco-cycle, a non-profit organization focusing on recycling, is an excellent resource for Boulder recycling questions. Every community has slightly different recycling rules so it’s important to look up your communities recycling rules. However, there are main rules such as ALWAYS recycling glass and aluminum, and NEVER recycling wrappers and plastic film as this can lead to contamination.


Here are some resources to bookmark when you have questions/clarifications:

Kayla Vasarhelyi

Junior studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Goal: “Be more diligent at composting!”

Composting is nature’s own “zero waste” system! Composting keeps waste out of landfills, strengthens soil health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and so much more. Generally, acceptable compost includes food scraps, #7 PLA plastic, paper, etc. We are lucky to have industrial composting systems in Boulder so composting looks different than the classic worm-filled backyard bin (although this is always still an option!). Looking for a place to start? Try putting a compost bin in your kitchen to collect scraps (sign up for an Eco-Visit to get a free one!).


Read more about composting using these links:

Tasha Smith

Junior studying Business with Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Goal: “Minimize food waste!”

Nearly 40% of food produced in America is lost or wasted. 40%!!! Reducing food waste will not only reduce methane emissions from landfills but can also provide food to feed the 12 million households in America that are considered “food insecure”. Planning meals ahead, properly storing food, and creating an at-home compost bin are just some of the ways to work on reducing food waste on a personal level and can be easier than you may think!


Resources and ideas for minimizing food waste!

Karlie Conzachi

Junior studying Environmental Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Goal: “Fix my own clothes!”

Did you know that the average American generates 82 pounds of textile waste every year? That’s 25 billion pounds of textiles being created each year! It is estimated that 85% of this goes to our landfills and only 15% gets donated or recycled. We live in a society that is constantly pressuring us to keep up with the latest trends, driving us to buy more clothes. Breaking this mentality is difficult, but can start using steps like fixing our own clothes. As Patagonia said, “If it’s broke, fix it!” 

More resources to avoid fast fashion and keep our beloved clothes usable for many years:

Kate Huun

Senior studying Environmental Studies and Sociology

Goal: “Meatless Mondays”

Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for the health of the planet and personal health. Here’s a crazy stat: if the world reduced meat consumption by 15% it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as taking 240 million cars of the road each year. Eating as much meat as our country does is simply not sustainable. Try some new plant-based recipes as this is probably the biggest impact you can personally make on helping slow the climate crisis that will be very prevalent in our lives in the coming years.

More resources (and great recipes!!):

Lauren Mullen

Junior studying Environmental Engineering

Goal: “Listen to more zero-waste/sustainability podcasts!”

With Spotify and Apple Music services, we have unlimited access to every podcast you can ever imagine. Listening to podcasts about the climate crisis and sustainable living can be educating, eye-opening, and inspirational. Things are constantly changing in regards to our climate and listening to new stats when you have time is a perfect way to stay inspired while getting more talking points that can be used when talking to someone who isn’t as passionate. My goal is to stay educated and I plan on updating on great episodes along the way!

Podcast and Documentary Recommendations: