About a year and a half ago, my wife Emma and I volunteered on an eco-farm — Totoco — in Nicaragua. Besides learning loads about how to grow tropical food, cook pizzas in a cob oven and build a compost-driven water heater, we were most impressed with Totoco’s no-waste policy. Whatever came onto the farm or the attached chic eco-hotel was reused, recycled or stored until it could be.
We were a bit bowled over by it. The hotel could accommodate something like 30 guests, having to feed them all, get them toasted on rum and — in blunt terms — handle their bathroom rituals, both cleaning and cleansing. That’s right. No waste left the property, including a more literal defining of human waste (there are many ways to compost). And, though there were some spots simply devoted to storing waste until it had a use (not something we can all realistically do), the achievement was amazing.
In fact, we thought, if they could do it there, with all these people and strangers, surely we can do it — or, at the very least, do much better — in our own lives, with just the two of us to think about. So, we started to genuinely address the amount of waste we produced, and we actually did make it six months without sending one trash bag to the curb.
Here’s what we did, what you can do, too.