And here comes the waste

Yesterday it was evident that a lot of people, myself included, were struggling with the waste aspect of this no impact week.  Well, it has just become an even bigger issue.  My birthday is tomorrow and when I went to check my slayter box, I noticed that I had two packages.  Normally, my first instinct would be to be excited about the fact that I have two packages, but today, my reaction was not quite the same.  Sure, I was a bit excited that people were thinking about me for my birthday, but then again, I had just received two cardboard boxes filled with packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and surely some wrapping paper.  Basically, waste on top of waste on top of waste, which does not work well at all for no impact week.  To make matters worse, I opened up the package from my parents and in addition to containing packing peanuts and bubble wrap, it contained various items all individually wrapped in wrapping paper.  Great, even more waste.  And I’m sure within each individually wrapped package, there’s bound to be some packaging in addition to all of the other waste.  So, once again, even more waste.  I know that no matter what happens, I will be generating waste because of these packages and it kind of stinks because this matter is a bit out of my control.  But, what is in my control is attempting to reduce the waste that I produce.  Therefore, I am going to keep the boxes and use them for when I move out of my room and try to reuse them as many times as possible, but I know that no matter what, they will eventually be waste.  This is why my goal is to get as much use out of them as possible.  Then, with the wrapping paper, my plan is to open them as carefully as possible so I can reuse the paper in some way shape or form.  It seems that it is inevitable not to create waste in this situation, so my goal is just to reduce my waste as much as possible.

As far as the rest of my goals go for no impact week, I have been sticking to them pretty well.  First, I have continued to limit my showers to 6 minutes and I have found that this has definitely become easier as the week has worn on.  I can absolutely see this habit continuing in the future.  In addition, I have found that decreasing my energy use has become more natural as I have farther and farther into the week.  Now, it’s just habitual to unplug my phone charger, turn off my computer after usage, only charge my computer when it’s less than 20%, not to use my hair straightener, and turning my lights off in the room when I am not there.  Third, apart from my excess of waste due to my two birthday packages, I have stuck true to sticking to only two packaged products per day, recycling all paper, and composting my one napkin per meal. Finally, transportation has been the easiest factor for me seeing that I don’t have a car, so I really have no need to drive.  I normally walk everywhere, so this has really not been an issue for me.

Today our new addition is food, which has already been an issue for me.  My first and primary goal was to not eat meat as eating meat has the potential to emit a lot of carbon due to all of the processes required to get it from the animals to us.  The issue with this is that I love meat and it is definitely a staple in my diet as a solid source of protein.  But, there are numerous other ways of getting protein and I am definitely coming to see this.  Next, my second goal was to eat in the dining halls and not get meal-x, but tonight that was nearly impossible.  By the time I was done with volleyball practice, the dining halls were closed and then, I had to go straight to the housing lottery.  I was on-the-go and was forced to go to meal-x.  To make matters worse, the salad line was the shortest and due to the fact that I had little time, I had to get a salad in a plastic container.  Luckily, I had kept my container from the night before and reused this one instead of a new one.  In addition, I am using metal silverware instead of using the plastic silverware every time.  I guess this is a little better, but not much.  Waste is once again becoming my biggest issue.  However, tomorrow I will definitely try to do better and continue to not eat meat and try to eat at the dining halls as much as possible.

Emily Marguerite


  1. I order SO much shit off the internet! Excuse my language, but thats exactly what it is… things I absolutely DON’T need… but just want! Anyways, when I perform my endless online shopping, it obviously is sent to me via the mail, packaged nicely for me in a cardboard box or plastic bag. And mind you, there are usually bags in side of the bags and boxes inside of the boxes! I need to cut back on the online ordering because I am creating this waste that is completely avoidable and unnecessary! And… also the fact that I don’t have the money for any of this crap anyways.

  2. I give you so much credit for thinking through reducing your waste with all this packaging. Not many people would think this much into and you are doing your best to make the lowest impact possible. I never really thought through how much paper and cardboard is used for one persons birthday especially when they are away at college because of all of the mail. I think you have really good ideas about reusing the boxes for different uses. You could probably get very creative with the wrapping paper if you want to do an art project or use it to wrap other presents. HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY!

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