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Photo: The Strauss family displays their total landfill waste from 2010. (

The Strauss family was vacationing in Boscastle in the U.K. in 2004 when the area experienced a massive flood and they witnessed the effects of climate change firsthand. “I realized that all my actions have an impact … and decided to really concentrate on reducing waste,” Rachelle Stauss said, and in 2008, her family aimed to reduce their trash, documenting their efforts on My Zero Waste. In 2009, they sought to empty the trash can just once, and in 2010 they set the goal to zero waste.
She says the most important step is to be careful when it comes to product packaging. “If we can reuse it, recycle it or compost it, we buy it. If we can’t, we look for alternatives.” But the family’s waste-free journey isn’t always easy. Rachelle says there are times she’s stressed or tired and just wants to buy the easy choice, and once the family forgot their reusable bags so Richard had to turn his sweater into a bag.
Rachelle says her family’s zero-waste lifestyle isn’t about deprivation or going without — it’s about the careful use of resources. “It’s about leaving a beautiful planet for our kids and making wise choices.”


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