How much waste do you generate each day? The average American creates about 4.5 pounds of garbage each day. Most people don’t think twice about tossing an empty coffee cup in the garbage or scraping their leftover dinner into the trash.

Environmentalist Rob Greenfield wanted to change that. To get people to think more about the garbage they create, he decided to wear every piece of trash he produced for a month. The result is a “garbage suit” that’s got people talking:

Image Credit: RobGreenfield.TV

Living life in a garbage suit

Greenfield didn’t hide in his home during this experiment. He went about his normal life in New York City. He ate out, went shopping, took the subway and walked around town – all while wearing his trash suit.

He got a lot of odd looks while shopping in Target or waiting in line for his lunch at McDonald’s.

Fortunately, he washed all of the trash before wearing it so the smell didn’t get out of control, but the amount of trash made it hard to move. By month’s end he was wearing about 135 pounds of garbage and could barely fit through doorways or sit down.

The purpose of the trash suit

What would posses a man to wear his garbage? Greenfield wanted to get the public’s attention. Most people don’t think twice about the garbage they produce. It’s out of sight, out of mind.

As Greenfield waddled around town in his trash suit, he gave the public an unforgettable snapshot of the massive amount of garbage that one person generates. He shared his journey on social media and even made a film about it called Trash Me.

By doing so, he hopes more Americans will take steps to reduce their garbage footprint.

Small efforts like buying a reusable water bottle, taking canvas bags to the grocery store, using dishes rather than paper products and eating leftover food can all curb the glut of garbage.

A step toward zero-waste

By making small changes, consumers could adjust to a zero-waste lifestyle where no garbage is produced.

The zero-waste movement is already catching on. Germany, for example, has zero-waste supermarkets where food is sold unpackaged. Consumers bring in their own containers and fill up on things like cereal, granola and produce.

Now imagine how much waste you could eliminate by refilling bottles of your favorite household products like shampoo or cleaners. Technology like this already exists and it’s consumer-ready. Zero-waste solutions like this could make a huge impact on the amount of waste slated for landfills.

Consumers simply bring in their refillable bottle and put it inside a refill station, and the machine washes, fills and seals the bottle.

Despite the growth of the zero-waste movement, retailers don’t believe American consumers will embrace the trend. Don’t let retailers make assumptions about you as a consumer.

While you might not be willing to wear your garbage for a month, tell retailers that you are willing to make efforts to move toward a zero-waste lifestyle. Let retailers know that you’re ready to refill by signing the petition below and making your voice heard.