“Code Red" -- that's the alarming state of our planet's health, according to a United Nations climate change report, published this month. Our catchy slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” doesn’t hold-up to such dire news. And it’s recently become clear that recycling is a glaringly broken system in our country. Only 8 percent of plastic waste gets recycled in the United States, according to 2017 EPA report.

So, what are we to do? Maybe it’s time to start practicing ‘reducing’ and ‘reusing’ instead of ‘recycling’? If anyone’s going to, it’ll be Gen-Zers, whose generation could come to become known as Gen-ZeroWaste, since so many are adopting zero waste practices.

From viral zero-waste themed TikToks to internet-famous zero-waste bloggers, millennials and Gen-Zers are popularizing the waste-free lifestyle movement. And local efforts here in Massachusetts are leading the way.


Maria Vasco, founder and CEO of Uvida, Boston’s first zero-waste store.

Simon Metcalf, a member of the Sunrise Boston hub and a high school teacher.

Hayley Gambone, account manager at Divert, a Concord-based company working to eliminate waste from the retail industry. Hayley is also a former Boston University Zero Waste intern, who was part of the university’s Zero Waste Task Force.