Opinion: No Trash Challenge

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May 25, 2018

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Opinion: No Trash Challenge

: Have you ever thought about how much trash you throw away in a week? It’s a lot. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash a day. We decided to do a week-long challenge where we don’t throw away any trash. We could only use things that could be reused or recycled. Throughout the course of the week, we found many challenges with this lifestyle. 



Day 1: 

Hannah: Just hours into the challenge and I have already thrown away a Band-Aid wrapper. My day is already ruined. I had such high hopes.  

Jack: For the first time all year, I have had to pack a lunch. I don’t even have a lunchbox so I have to put all the Tupperware in my backpack. 


Day 2:  

Hannah: This morning I absentmindedly reached for paper towels and I can’t redo it. This is the second mindless mess up. I have no hope for the rest of the week. 

Jack: I had to eat an apple today, including the sticker and buried the core in my backyard. I had no choice, if my dogs ate the seeds, it could poison them. 


Day 3: 

Hannah: I use google at least ten times a day now, researching whether or not I can recycle this, or reuse that. My phone is always dead by the end of the day now. 

Jack: When I donated blood, they gave me a Band-Aid and a wrap around my arm and I had to throw that away. I also got a sticker, which I had to throw away. 


Day 4: 

Hannah: I went to Cinderella and got a playbill, I didn’t recycle it and instead threw it away. I died a little when it happened and my friends said they wouldn’t tell. The guilt got to me though. 

Jack: During math class, my friend gave me a piece of gum without a wrapper. Halfway through chewing the gum, I realized I couldn’t throw it away and swallowed it. 


Day 5:

Hannah: I stayed at home and watched tv all day, I ate nothing except for rice and made no trash. I ate all the rice because rice is good. 

Jack: Apart from throwing away all my money at the mall, most of the bags they give you at the mall aren’t recyclable so I had to save all of them. 


Day 6:  

Hannah: Jack and I came to school to do a photoshoot, they provided doughnuts and I took a peanut butter blueberry one on accident. It was unexpected and I threw it away.  

Jack: I caved this morning. It was very early and I had to be at school early, so I made a quick caffeine run. When I finished, I realized I couldn’t recycle it and had to throw it away. 


Day 7: 

Hannah: I fished through the trash for a soda can so I could recycle it after I accidentally put it in the trash can. I also forgot a spoon and had to eat my lunch cereal with my hands and drink the milk separately. 

Jack: I forgot a fork in my lunch, I brought a salad. I had to borrow a fork from my friend and washed it off in the bathroom before I used it. 


Trash Tally: 

Hannah – 6 items: Band-Aid wrapper, Band-Aid, two paper towels, chip bag, doughnut 

Jack – 4 items: Band-aid and wrap, sticker, Scooters cup 


With this experience, we realized that we mindlessly throw away an alarming amount of trash every day, a lot of things that could be recycled. Being so trash-conscious also made us realize that there is a lot of things in our houses that need to be thrown away and cannot be recycled (i.e. Chex mix bags). At the same time, there is a lot of things that we didn’t know could be recycled (i.e. clothing price tags and certain chip bags). Another major take away is that there is no school lunch that doesn’t have any trash in it, that is 100% recyclable. 

From this experience, we are definitely more aware of what and how much we are throwing away. During the processes, Hannah made a habit to bring everything in Tupperware containers and she hopes to continue and use as few Ziploc bags as possible. Jack started bringing his lunch to school and found that it was a lot better than buying, and he is going to continue.