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A First Apartment, With (Almost) Zero Waste

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

Moving to a solo apartment without all the attendant consumption takes real commitment

Amanda Lindner moved into her first apartment without roommates, with a zero-waste mindset: She tried to do it without buying anything new.CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times

“I care about a lot of issues, but I feel you can’t stand for anything if there’s not a planet to stand on,” said Ms. Lindner, 29, who works for Avodah, a Jewish social justice nonprofit organization. “There are so many things I can’t change as an individual, but I can do these small things every day.”

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Moving day for most New Yorkers involves stacks of boxes, reams of Bubble Wrap and rolls of packing tape, but Amanda Lindner was determined to avoid all of those commonly used supplies when she moved from Hamilton Heights to her first solo apartment in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, this spring.

Why? Because so much packing material winds up getting thrown out, and Ms. Lindner had started pursuing a zero-waste lifestyle a few months earlier, embracing the environmental movement that seeks to reduce the amount of garbage on the planet by changing people’s personal consumption habits.

By the time she was ready to move, Ms. Lindner had already made a number of lifestyle changes. She had stopped using plastic takeout containers (bringing reusable metal tins to restaurants instead), switched out her toothpaste for baking soda and started carrying around a metal water bottle and tote bag wherever she went.

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