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Mindfulness

Nearly done with the first day of no impact week. If anything has come out of today it has been the discovery of how pesky and easy to accumulate trash is, and how mindful I need to be as I go about my day. I got an apple at breakfast that had a sticker on it. Desperate to find a use for it I now have it serving decorative purposes on my water bottle. I love tea and cannot stand to go without it, so I will be accumulating quite the number of pouches that hold tea bags this week. Just like that, one of my goals to have only ten pieces of trash is already failing. Instead I think I may revise the goal to a set overall size of trash created (hopefully no larger than the volume of a mason jar at the end of the week) over number of items. But, in thinking about quantity of trash, I am stumped on what to do with the large envelopes of mail I am about to pick up from the mailroom after I write this, and all of the environmental damage I have created by ordering things online as well as asking my mom to mail me clothes from home. To top it all off, today I rush shipped some documents for my study abroad program and don’t even want to think about how huge my carbon footprint will be from that. I am cutting down a lot on my phone use, with the plans to not charge it at all the whole week, but with that have found more and more how much we rely on our phones just to get through the day. It holds our calendars, alarm that ensures we wake up in the morning, and gives me music and podcasts to listen to while I’m working out or mindlessly folding paper at my campus job. Despite all of these downfalls, I feel good about my success in avoiding tissues or napkins throughout the day, the two items that produce the most trash for me. I have also found how easy it is to follow this on a college campus too. Local food is offered, ready to eat, we live in small rooms and communal dorms which cuts down on our energy use, and have no need to drive anywhere because everything we need is within walking distance. Mindfulness will be essential for getting through this week, and I am excited for the more findings I have as this week progresses.

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6 Comments

  1. Reading this I was reminded of the package I ordered right before no impact week. I thought I had avoided trash, but now I realize I will still have to account for Amazon’s wasteful packaging practices.

  2. I definitely agree with the trash accumulation issues. I didn’t realize how things such as gum rappers and tissues can accumulate so much in such a short time. The local food options are also a great resource here on campus but even at Curtis there is a fair amount of waste so I find that there are pros and cons to a lot of the options.

  3. I noticed that one of the best ways to limit trash is by avoiding Slayter, focus getting meals at Huff. and Curt. Secondly, and I know this sounds ridiculous, maybe you could reuse the tea bags. I’ve heard of people reusing tea bags 2 times over to save money. I know that may sound crazy but the project is only a week long so maybe you could give it a go.

  4. About the napkins, I also made a goal of not using napkins for this week, more specifically, in the dining hall. I chose to bring an old white t-shirt around this week in place of my napkins and to wash it at the end of the week. I realized how many napkins I generally do use since I reached for the napkin bin on the table about 5 times during dinner before being mocked by friends that my t-shirt was waiting for me. I like your idea of having a goal/limit of the amount/mass of trash (mason jar) opposed to a number of items.

  5. You make a good point about how the setup of this campus reduces our ecological footprint. I also agree with the point about how it’s gonna be hard to cut down on phone usage. I’ve already found myself charging it today. Loved the idea of using the sticker from your apple on your water bottle as well.

  6. I have been thinking about the issue of ordering things online as well! I ordered a few things last week, and I have been brainstorming what to do with all of the garbage that is created from the packaging. I am hoping to be able to recycle the box, and the plastic bags that usually encase things, but I still feel very guilty about the overall waste that goes into ordering things online in general.

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