Before the project started I had made my own predictions on what I would collect. I assumed that I would collect mostly packaging trash, but not much of it because I don’t eat much prepackaged food. I drink a minimum of 3 cups of tea a day so I knew I would see a lot of tea bags with the individual packets they come in as well as loose leaf tea. I did not expect to see a lot of food waste because I buy in small amounts at a time in a conscious decision to not create food waste.
The first thing I noticed in the process of completing this assignment was that I bought coffee a lot more than I thought I did. Like 5 times more than I thought I did. At my job, we are provided with fresh coffee from Coastal Peaks every day, so I get free coffee at a minimum 3 times a week. I didn’t even realize before this week that every time I get a coffee I use a non-reusable cup. On top of that, I went out and bought coffee 3 other times throughout the week/ weekend (I always forget to bring them home after my shift so they aren’t pictured below but there should be 5 additional coffee cups in my trash collection).
At the end of the week I saw what I expected to be true: lots of tea remains and packaging trash. But I saw a lot more to-go food and coffee containers than I would have liked. I believe that the most important leg of the “reduce-reuse-recylce” saying is the “reduce” aspect, because if you don’t create the problem in the first place or are able to minimize the initial problem then there is less to deal with. I can definitely cut down on my coffee cup usage by bringing my own mug to work and leaving it there more me to reuse, and buy a to-go thermos so I can use that when I go out to cafes. Overall, I definitely created more trash than I was aware of, but now that I’m more conscious I will definitely try to decrease how much waste I produce.