Alum aimed for zero waste—and wrote a book about it

It started with Oscar the Grouch, the trashcan-dwelling curmudgeon of “Sesame Street”—followed by the 1970s series of public service ads featuring Woodsy Owl and his catchphrase, “Give a hoot! Don’t pollute!”

For Eve Ogden Schaub ’92, BA ’93, BFA ’93, the message stuck.

“I’ve always had an understanding that garbage was not a good thing—and a curiosity about it,” says Schaub. “Back in the days before people would sort for recycling, my parents would put everything in one big, black bag. And I remember thinking, ‘That doesn’t seem right.’”

Book cover: Year of No Garbage

With her latest book, Schaub challenges herself—and her family—to confront trash’s ubiquity in everyday life.

For Year of No Garbagethe final installment of her trilogy of memoirs—Schaub, her husband, and their two daughters pledged to divert all the waste produced in their southern Vermont home from landfills and incinerators, whether by reusing, recycling, or composting.

“There are people in the world living zero-waste lifestyles, and I was anxious to try it,” says Schaub, who previously penned Year of No Sugar (2014) and Year of No Clutter (2017). “I have this real stubborn optimism. I always feel like there’s a way—and if I could just look hard enough, I’ll find an answer.”

Read the story in Cornellians.

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Eve Ogden Schaub
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