About the ‘Less is More’ Class

Are you concerned about the environmental issues facing us but are unsure what you can do to make a difference? Reducing your waste is a simple, yet profound way to decrease your impact on the planet and save money and resources at the same time.

Master Recycler, former Metro Regional Government Recycling Information Specialist, and waste reduction advocate Betty Shelley and her husband, Jon, have had just one 32-gallon can of garbage per year since 2006. After so many people asked how they accomplished this, they decided to offer a class to help others realize they too could reduce their waste. In the three-session class, Less is More: Getting to One Can of Garbage a Year, Betty Shelley teaches you her techniques for reducing waste and why that’s so important. The format is interactive and encourages participants to examine their values and behaviors and learn how to make lasting changes. Curb climate change instead of your garbage!

The class is designed to:

  • Inform about where our waste comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.
  • Explain the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – as well as how to avoid waste before it even gets to your home.
  • Raise awareness of the impacts of water, energy and other resource waste, and explore ways to prevent using more than necessary.
  • Share techniques for waste reduction, whether it be to one can a month, a quarter or a year.
  • Create awareness that all of your actions do make a difference.

Download Syllabus

Host the Class

Are you interested in taking the class with friends, co-workers, neighbors, congregation members? The class is easily adapted to various settings and group sizes; however, a minimum number of eight participants is required to ensure lively discussions. The class can be done in one 4- to 6-hour session or can be presented in shorter lengths to accommodate lunch hour meetings.

Less is More: Getting to One Can of Garbage a Year has been hosted at workplaces, nonprofits, libraries, faith centers and more. Contact us to discuss rates and availability.

Our Participants Say:

  • Jaylen

    “I liked the idea that everything comes from the Earth, and the need for reuse and refusal is tantamount. I liked the Re- exercise…Thinking of all the ways we can Re- in our lives was great.”


  • Tracey

    "The variety of ways you taught the material kept me engaged and focused (you’re a master teacher also). I liked all the exercises, group activities and videos; the power of group learning was quite evident. Your passion and sincerity are quite obvious. I felt I was being taught by someone who walks their talk, enjoys it and was inspiring."

  • Honore

    "It's funny to think how my change in worldview and passion for recycling and materials management began in that little high school classroom with you way back in 2008(?). I'm very thankful to have met you at that time in my life. And now, here I am, following my passion, as you say, and (hopefully) making a difference in my community and my region."  (in Colorado)

  • Nancy

    “The course helped me feel like there was a more extensive community of support, and it remotivated me to try to make new changes.”

  • Sarah

    “I feel like I was enraptured for the whole of the three weeks. The coverage of this class was so holistic, alarming and hopeful. It's so powerful to sit in a room of people with the common goals of changing this poisonous system we have.”

  • Tom

    "One of the things I liked best about this class was the sense of empowerment I came away with. I really can make a difference!"

  • Chanda

    “I’m a single-income person with a disabled spouse & a teenager. Money is always an issue. At first I kept thinking, ‘Yeah, but green typically costs more.’ By the last day, I was hit with, ‘Yeah…look at how much I waste.’”

  • Laura

    “I pledge to think more about the stuff that I buy – how it’s packaged, where did it come from, where will it go, etc. – so that I can really minimize my household’s waste.”

  • Kelsey

    “I loved how accessible everything felt. I actually think I can do this. Living with less waste is not an extreme or radical thing to do… it doesn’t seem that hard. Tons of people are already doing it. Learning how to recycle common household stuff was so practical, it has really helped in my home…”