Last winter I took Pete’s PSC 320 Class (Energy Society and the Environment) and we did a similar intervention. A lot in my life has changed since then in both my personal beliefs and my lifestyle. Though I’m pretty sure these self interventions are supposed to be nonjudgemental (reserve judgement and just observe), I can’t help but feel frustrated and disappointed in myself by what feels like backtracking.
A little about my beliefs then and now. At the time of intervention #1, I was pescatarian for environmental reasons and since then I have transitioned to being vegetarian and mostly vegan. I realized that eggs and dairy products (particularly dairy) have much larger of an environmental effect than I realized. Though being vegan is really hard at times (times when I often choose to not be vegan), I feel like my life is making progress to being more sustainable in that regard.
As for my lifestyle, I have definitely backtracked. Last year I lived in an apartment and I meal prepped most of my food and did not create that much waste since I cooked my own food. This year, I am an RA and as part of my compensation, I am given a meal plan. As a result, I feel like I am subjected to campus dining’s wasteful practices. I distinctly remember feeling bad as a freshman creating all of this waste but not knowing what to do about it. Honestly, I still don’t really know what I should do about this. When getting food I try to get reject as many superfluous wrappings as possible (not getting a bag, asking them to not wrap stuff twice, etc) and that helps a little but every thing I eat still contains a minimum of one wrapper. Additionally, I was given a lot of free bags of chips during WOW and I am a sucker for free stuff so I have been eating a lot of those. Majority of my trash consists of burrito wrappers, bags of chips, fruit remains (not sure how i would compost in my dorm), and other food items. Basically all of my trash generated is food related waste. The only thing non food was dryer sheets, and receipts (mostly from buying food). The other thing I noticed is a lot of waste gets thrown away on behalf of me. Its also really hard to track but I still acknowledge it’s my responsibility. A lot of receipts from food I don’t have because they throw them away by default and I just noticed a lot of other random things that you have to do assignments, tests, etc that will ultimately get thrown away afterwards.
With the lifestyle change of being forced to eat campus food, its hard to say what changes I will make moving forward to reduce waste. However, a few things that I have taken from my past self intervention and trying my best to reduce waste are these tips. Tip 1: bring reusable cutlery everywhere. Its really easy to just keep a spoon and a fork in your backpack.
Tip 2: Air dry your hands
Tip 3: try to bring reusable cups when you buy drinks like starbucks (something I strive for but is definitely the hardest)
Tip 4: Accept progress for what it is and don’t get too mad at yourself if you forget to do something like bring your fork or cup
Trash from this week