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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – One metro family takes out the trash once a year. That’s because they live “zero waste” and work hard to create as little waste as possible.

After picking up trash around the neighborhood on Earth Day a few years back, Megean Weldon and her husband decided they need to look at their own habits.

“We decided we have to do something about this,” she said. “We can’t call ourselves environmentalists and put a full trashcan of garbage on the curb every week.”

Her mission brought her online.

“I Googled and came across a couple of families that lived zero waste as they call it,” the metro mom said. “An entire year’s worth of trash in a jar? I thought, ‘This is crazy.’ There’s no way this can happen.”

Megean Weldon

The Weldons have made it happened though, going on three years now. They use as little packaging as possible, cutting out products that cause waste.

“It was a challenge at first. How close to zero can you get? It was fun! We started off slow and incorporated small changes in our life,” Weldon said.

They use reusable bags and water bottles, make their own cleaning supplies with baking soda and vinegar, and have changed the way they eat and shop.

“For dried goods, we go to grocery stores that have bulk bins,” she said.

Kenny Reed is the store manager at Sprouts Farmers Market on 64th Street near Parkville.

“People these days are a lot more aware of those things and so we’re just trying to do our part,” he said.

He explained the store donates all less-than-perfect food, knocks money off your bill if you use your own bags, and staff also educates shoppers about using reusable containers to buy in bulk.

“I think it’s a cool way just as far as the environment goes in cutting down on waste, whether it be landfills or that type thing,” Reed said.

Weldon said living this way is about giving back to the earth, but also teaching her son.

“We just didn’t want our legacy to be a mountain of trash,” she said.

As the family continues to minimize their footprint on the earth, Weldon’s calling includes teaching others how to do the same.

“I feel like I’ve been able to add some value to other people’s lives with the same mission and goal that I have,” she said.

Check out her Zero Waste Nerd blog here.