Heroes

Is it possible to live without producing trash? She proves it is.

All the thumbs-up to Lauren. What an admirable lifestyle.

Is it possible to live without producing trash? She proves it is.

If someone dared you, could you commit to a life where nothing you use goes into a landfill?

Lauren Singer didn't even have to be dared.

For the last two years or so, she has been living a "zero-waste" lifestyle.


That means that for two years, as Lauren details in Seeker's "Going off the Grid" video below, nothing she has used will end up in a landfill. If she "throws" something out, it's in the recycling bin or the compost. But stuff that can't be composted or recycled? She keeps it — although most of what she uses is compostable or recyclable to begin with.

The few things she's used that could end up in a landfill are in this jar.

This is the entirety of the non-recyclable, non-compostable trash she's used in just two years.

But she's not throwing that out. And she lives in a way so her small collection of trash won't grow. It's about alternatives. Like using compostable toothbrushes instead.

But how about make-up? Shampoo? Sponges? Toothpaste??!!

Lauren has found ways to use those items without creating waste. It's kind of amazing. You'll want to see how.

Lauren is a great inspiration for all of us.

Reducing waste doesn't have to be a boring, painful task. It can be creative and about much more than throwing a plastic bottle in the recycling bin.

Ask yourself this question again: If someone dared you, could you commit to trying out a zero-waste lifestyle?

I hope the answer is yes.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.