He Did It! How Rob Greenfield is Changing the Way you View Trash

His month long adventure of wearing every piece of trash he creates for 30 days, Trash Me, is officially finished.

Originally published on Network Radio, let’s take a look at his trash-wearing journey:

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.

A team of acclaimed filmmakers at Living on One, and Gary Bencheghib, are creating a film series that will document this project to raise more awareness on this issue.

With his new suit, his can-do attitude and supportive team, Rob is ready.

Photo courtesy of Rob Greenfield.

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.

Trash Me
Photo courtesy of Rob Greenfield.

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?

Rquote-2: 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 quote-1Americas 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.

Trash Me
Photo courtesy of Rob Greenfield.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bring your own – wherever you’re going so you won’t need to use disposable optoins.
    • Cup
    • Bottle
    • Dishes
  4. Purchase used supplies
    • Shop at thrift stores or online to find used goods rather than buying new ones with packaging.
  5. Compost
    • 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 Trash Me project through his website and Facebook.

Delanah Banana

I recently discovered Twenty20 and am obsessed. It’s a fun way to showcase your photography, whether you’re a beginner or professional.

They sell stock photos to a wide range of companies and brands including Lyft, Equinox and MTV. They also cater towards blogs and websites that can buy your photos for posts on their website.

To sell your photo you have to get recognized. They create various competitions a day that you can enter and have your peers vote on. The higher you rank, the more exposure you can achieve.

All in all, it’s a fun way to broaden your photography skills and make some sales along the way.

I love it because it has ignited my passion for photography and allows me to put my work on display. Check out my profile here.

Through competitions and collections, I discovered an amazing photographer Delanah (pronounced like banana). Her work is featured in a number competitions, and has sold to a range of brands.

She has crisp and clean photos that feature her beautiful family. She captures a moment in time and creates a strong connection between her subject and the viewer.

A standout among her beautiful photography is her daughter Essie. She is gorgeous and adorable. Her personality and winning smile shine through in every photo.

Delanah and her family adopted this Ugandan princess a few years ago, and she has been the star ever since. I interviewed Delanah to learn about her photography passion and opinion on adoption.

Sasha: How long have you been taking photos of your family?

Delanah: “My crazy photo obsession happened about 2 years ago when I started entering my daughter in “brand rep searches” on Instagram. I was just using my phone to take pics at first but quickly realized that the accounts that would get picked to be brand reps were the ones who had clear good quality photos.

My husband introduced me to canon rebel/ 50mm lens and that’s all she wrote! My trick is to take a ton of pictures and pray that at least one turns out. Then I will edit it on Picmonkey.”

Sasha: What do you love most about taking photos?

Delanah: “I love capturing the candid moments of my kids! Whether it’s a genuine smile or a discouraged face, it’s fun to see a real expression and if you can capture the right moment you can truly see what they are feeling!”

Sasha: What led you to find your daughter?

Delanah: “My husband and I started the adoption process when my youngest son Huxley turned one. We originally started in the Ethiopia program but after a year with no referral, we were offered the chance to switch to Uganda and so we did.

Essie’s referral came in August of 2011, but we waited for a court date for travel until June of 2012. I spent two months in Uganda with Essie before we were issued the right documents to come home.

It was a surreal experience that I will never forget! I met some amazing people and in hindsight I am happy we were stuck there because it gave Essie a chance to bond with me without the distraction of two older brothers.

Essie turned 2 yrs old while I was in Uganda with her and we just celebrated her 6th birthday so she’s been with us for 4 years!”

Sasha: What are your views on adoption? Why is it important?

Delanah: “Going through the adoption process has been quite the learning experience. There are orphans all over the world that need families and the journey can be long and difficult but every child deserves the love only a family can give.

Adoption is tricky because there are corrupt people who take advantage of families desperate for children by trafficking kids who aren’t truly “orphans.” Do your research and hire private investigators to ensure your children are legitimately orphans even if your agency is trustworthy.

Think about special needs adoptions! Try being open to adopt kids that aren’t “perfect” on paper! Even with my biological sons, there was no promise of the perfect healthy child so why would we expect that from an orphan?

More than anything please know that these kids are worth every trial you go through to get them. They will make you laugh, cry and at times you will feel your heart breaking for their loss but as you mold into a family you will quickly learn that you needed them as much as they needed you.

Essie has completed our family in a way only God could orchestrate and for that we are so very blessed.

You can browse through Delanah’s photos at Twenty20, Facebook, Instagram and her lifestyle blog.

Busy Gal Guide

April Murray and Jessica Caruso launch Busy Gal Guide, their new program that focuses on helping Busy Gals stay fit and motivated.

View their launch video that I helped create:

Check out their website for a sneak peak on their guides, and stay updated through their Facebook and Instagram!