Don’t Throw Anything Away – Rachel Rosenzweig

I started my self intervention assuming that the majority of the waste I produced would be compostable because of my vegan diet that relies on fresh vegetables and fruits. However, this self intervention highlighted, more than ever, the cyclical nature of waste. Even though I do not produce much waste day by day or meal by meal, I find that each week I have accumulated significant amounts of cardboard and plastic waste. Each week I tend to cycle through a cereal box, the plastic wrapping surrounding my bundles of vegetables, a hummus container, etc. During the intervention, I did a lot of self-reflection by comparing my waste to my collective apartment’s waste. So many environments are not conducive to being sustainable and do not have the necessary infrastructure to support students who desperately want to be eco-friendly and conscious. My apartment complex has one recycling bin for upwards of hundreds of residents and the bins are not explicitly marked so often there is cross-contamination of recyclables and non-recyclables. All of my roommates produce equal amounts to my waste each week, which when you think of our apartment multiplied and mirrored by all other tenants living in just my immediate complex, it seems like an exorbitant amount of waste. One of the strangest realizations this week was the amount of waste that is created when my roommates and I clean our apartment, everything from endless paper towels to sponges and swifter heads are used out of necessity. We also all cycle through toothbrushes, hairbrushes, toilet paper, etc at different paces and different cycles. All of the waste production seems to come in cycles, and I think this is what made me go through the world thinking I was doing better at being environmentally conscious than I really was. One week I was barely producing any waste and then the next week, when I was doing my self intervention, it seemed like I couldn’t stop throwing away things that had worn out, finished, etc.

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