Life

I tried living a zero waste life for 7 days — here's what I learned

For seven days, I tried to live on as little waste as possible. I've always been into recycling, reuse and minimizing my carbon footprint, and I wanted to see how far I could take it.

It turns out grocery shopping with reusable tote bags, using travel canteens at coffee shops and separating plastics from paper and glass are just tips of the zero-waste iceberg. Truly minimizing waste requires much more substantive lifestyle changes, as I found out firsthand.

During my week, I brought reusable containers everywhere – from the Whole Foods hot buffet to the ice cream store to my local lunchtime salad joint. I also carried household silverware in my backpack, refused plastic and paper bags, used washcloths in lieu of paper napkins and brought my compost to the farmer's market. Everyday habits like chewing gum (a highly packaged food) to ordering in on Seamless (another source of heavy packaging) became off-limits — and incredibly hard to forego.

I felt like a dinosaur almost everywhere I went. In a sea of people, I was often the only one handing my reusable containers to anyone who would serve me. I learned two major lessons: first, living on zero waste is incredibly challenging and second, our society is nowhere near ready to cater to a zero waste lifestyle.

Still, every change counts when it comes toward treating our earth better, and I was happy to tack on a few hacks to my daily routine.

Watch the video above to see how I lived my seven-day zero waste challenge.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: US families waste $1,500 a year throwing out food—here's how to save more and eat better