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June 5th-11th

Try Zero Waste for a Week!

Join the citywide zero waste challenge week to learn about the waste crisis and get practical help to move towards zero waste in your home or business. 

  • Learn how to reduce waste
  • Win prizes from local businesses
  • Join webinars and workshops


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Getting Started

The Challenge

Do your best to produce no trash or recycling for the week. Any waste you do create you’ll collect to review at the end of the week!


Try your best to create as little trash and recycling as possible during the challenge and collect any waste you accidentally create.

What counts as waste? Anything new thing you acquire during the week including wrappers, bags, containers, receipts, even food scraps if you don’t have access to a compost. 

 Why collect the waste?

At the end of the week you’ll have a trash audit, and you’ll be able to see very clearly what kinds of waste you personally tend to create. That is half the battle! After this week you’ll be perfectly equipped to reduce the waste you’re still generating.


Toilet paper: Unless you’re able to install a bidet, try to buy TP in paper wrapping rather than plastic. We recommend Who Gives A Crap 100% recycled.

Work associated waste: Any waste you produce as part of your job doesn’t count for the purposes of this challenge.

Medicine: Continue taking any medication you need to feel your best, and don’t worry about the trash.

What if it’s too hard?

Going zero waste is going to be a little hard, because most of our systems are built for disposability! But not to worry, there is no “failing” even if all you do is collect a week’s worth of trash and recycling you’ll have learned so much and be totally ready to make more sustainable choices going forward.



Zero Waste Map

Check out our interactive map of Ypsi for places you can shop zero waste.

Meal Plan

Full menu plan for your zero waste week!

Zero Waste

Challenge Calendar

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This Week
All Day

Week of Events

Getting Help

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I put food waste if I don't have a compost?

We recommend freezing your food scraps or keeping them in a tightly sealed container.

What about stuff I bought before the challenge?

We generally say to use up perishables and keep the waste, and anything you got before that you can go without, do so!

Why no recycling?

Our focus with this challenge is what is happening “upstream” of your stuff to get it to you. Unfortunately recycling still has to be produced so for this week we’re going to try to reduce reuse and rot, rather than recycle.

What if I'm too busy to cook?

Check out our interactive map and find a restaurant that does zero waste take out!

Where can I shop zero waste?

Our Zero Waste City Guide for Ann Arbor is the best place to find alternatives (or suppliments) to your normal shopping routine.

What about my pet?

While pet waste is important to consider, you don’t need to keep your pet related waste for this week. But do use this as your sign to work towards having a zero waste pet!

What if my partner doesn't want to do it?

That’s ok! Do the best you can, and you might be surprised what they pick up after the week.

Ask a different question:

Win prizes when you join the challenge!

$50 at Detroit St. Filling Station

4 zero waste challenge participants will take home a $50 card!

Free Bike from Common Cycle

Up to $200 in value at their bike sale!

Pilates Barn CNTR Logo photo

Pilates Barn

One free month of unlimited virtual classes (barre, mat Pilates, spinning, and stretch)- value $85.


Oil Mister
Use your Fustini’s oils or vinegar to spray a fine mist onto your favorite dishes or to lightly coat a pan for cooking. Keep it on your table so that your family can apply their own desired amount to their salads. Dishwasher safe. Clog free filter.
Our Fustini’s Tote:
Be environmentally friendly and carry your Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars in style with this sturdy Fustini’s Canvas Bag.  It can hold up to 12 bottles in their cardboard box and very handy for when you are transporting more than 2 or 3 bottles!
Arbequina Olive Oil:

This oil has both ripe and green flavors.  The aroma highlights are green grass, herbaceous and floral undertones.  It has the pronounced nuttiness, buttery-ness, tropical and ripe fruit flavors balanced by very grassy and herbaceous aromas of green apple.  This oil is well-balanced and complex with many aroma nuances that taste incredibly fresh.

This delicate SELECT olive oil is perfect for fish, mild salads, mild cheese, yogurt, eggs, ice cream and seafood. 

Books on Sustainability

Thanks to the kind members of Citizens Climate Lobby

Bulk Starter Kit from Steiner Health

2 lbs of organic quick oats, 1 lb of organic sucanat, 1 lb organic quinoa, 1 lb of organic brown rice, 1 lb organic black beans, spice bottle of organic oregano, spice bottle of organic marjoram, loose organic peppermint tea.

Lunch at Ginger Deli

Enjoy a zero waste meal at Ginger Deli!

Pilates Barn CNTR Logo photo

Pilates Barn

Three tower classes  with Heather Dupuis. The value is $120 for all three classes. 


Colony Co.

Zero Waste Shopping Kit

All 15 of these bags are made of certified organic cotton, approved by the Global Organic Textile Standard (G.O.T.S.) which certifies all steps of production, from farm to factory, meet organic and fair labor standards. 

El Harissa Gift Card

Which you can use to get food in a returnable container!

Ways to enter:

Sign Up for the Challenge

Get an entry for signing up to go zero waste for the week!

Email a Friend

Share on Facebook or Instagram

+3 Entries when you share a post about the challenge and tag Live Zero Waste!

Fill Out the Challenge Survey

+5 Entries when you fill out the challenge survey.

→ Link to survey