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The Clean Bin Project: A Consumer Free Year

The Clean Bin Project was a year-long project whose goal was to get a shared household to buy nothing and reduce the amount of garbage produced to as close to zero as possible, undertaken by Vancouverites Jen, Grant and Rhyannon.

From July 1st, 2008 to July 1st, 2009, everything they consumed for 365 days was either reused, recycled or composted, and anything that couldn’t, made its way into one of the participants’ garbage bins to be weighed, measured and compared the end of the year. (Read the full details of the rules.)

Hop Studios gave free consulting, graphic design and Web development to the Clean Bin Project because we believed in supporting what they were trying to accomplish, and because Travis felt guilty about how many pairs of chopsticks he throws out in a month.

I love the idea of this project because it follows the current trend towards sustainable living, and clearly demonstrates people can reduce the amount of garbage they produce. By project conclusion on July 1, 2009 the trio had produced only about 12 pounds (5.4kg) of garbage; basically, one pound a month. Says Jen:

To put that in perspective, the US environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American produces 4.6 pounds of garbage a day.  (Apparently in here in British Columbia it’s about 3.6 pounds a day, but I think it just depends on the report.)

Jen wrote about their garbage-free living on the Clean Bin blog, a hosted WordPress site. The blog continues to be updated even though the project is officially over; the lessons they learned and the experiences they had trying to live a TRULY sustainable lifestyle will last much longer than just one year. The group is currently working on a documentary film. It’s tentatively called Taking out the Trash: the Clean Bin Project. We look forward to watching it!

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