Reflection on a Week’s Worth of Waste

Starting off this week, I had this grand plan to try and have zero waste. And as soon as I woke up Monday morning, made eggs, and had the remaining egg shells to deal with after, I realized that even the simplest of meals and actions in my habitual life produce some waste. So, I adjusted my aim to be more conscientious and cut down on my normal amount of waste. I told my roommates and friends who were mostly interested, and one forgot on the first day and threw my small collection away. I took this as a chance to start fresh with a new perspective on making this self-intervention a success. Grocery shopping, I avoided the plastic bags for produce and ate more fresh, non-processed goods to cut down on any plastic wrappers. It had the added benefit of a healthier eating lifestyle anyways. Aside from food waste, I did not have a lot of other trash, some papers from school or random things here and there. A lot of my routine beauty products happened to run out this very week I’m trying not to throw anything away. I was proud of to think that my waste in most of my life was minimal, definitely had room for improvement, and overall not as bad as I would have expected. Man did the food waste start to collect by the end of the week. It was plastics around meat, egg shells, veggie scraps, fruit peals, a cereal box, one to go food box, and a milk carton. I cannot attach a picture due to the fact that my roommates threw it all as soon as this week was over as the smell of rotting food was consuming a corner of our kitchen, but collectively between recycling and trash I had almost a full paper bag of trash in total for the week. My project for this class is to resolve the lack of trash management in Zanzibar, Tanzania and it was hard to think about every person on that island’s paper bag amount of trash from every week, every year spread across the beautiful beaches and markets. The calamity became very real to me through this assignment and extends past Zanzibar to span across the entire world as humans produce so much waste that is dumped sporadically on this planet. I have hope that my group can help alleviate some of the problems in Zanzibar, and understand that I have to start with changes in myself to fix some of my own waste management. I appreciate this self-intervention for highlighting this issues as I move forward in the fight for a more sustainable future.

-Emily Holloway

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