Don’t Throw Anything Away Self Intervention- Chloe Heinz

During this whole intervention process, I was shocked and so disheartened at all the trash that I, just one person, amassed in such a short period of time. I had a lot of difficulty remembering to hold onto the waste that I accumulated in public, which is why it took me so long to complete this intervention. While I would liked to cut my waste in half, a lot of the materials I throw away are not up to my choice. Despite efforts to use recycled materials and biodegradable plastics, too many companies continue to include unnessessary packaging in their products, or materials that can’t biodegrade at all. I’ve always had a concern for the packaging industry, and being a graphic communication major I feel a great sense of responsibility to use more sustainable means of packaging. For example, many food products that have preservatives in them require an air tight seal to keep them fresh for a long time. It is difficult to achieve the kind of seal with paper packaging that plastic polyethylene wrappers offer. Perhaps this is an issue with a lack of proper materials, or perhaps this is an issue with Americans’ attitude toward food. Americans expect fast and easy, which means little to no food preparation. Pre-made foods must contain preservatives, which requires packaging that meets this standard. That being said, I watched my own attitude toward food during this intervention align with that of the majority of Americans. I was disappointed in myself with how much fresh produce I threw away because it went bad. I was not strategic or intentional with my grocery purchases, and sheer laziness caused me to continuously choose pre-made food for my meals, until the fresh ingredients I bought were no longer edible. Food waste is such a waste of resources such as water, and this is detrimental to our planet due to the surplus of crop required to account for the food we will purchase and then throw out. In summary, I became more aware of my food-buying habits in this intervention. I’m trying to meal plan for this week so I’m more strategic with my food usage and none of it goes to waste. However, I am still feeling very discouraged in regard to all of the waste that comes from product packaging. You can’t bring your own re-usable bag when you go shopping for toothbrushes or a pack of pens, which both come in plastic shells adhered to cardboard. It’s also so discouraging seeing how much recycled materials that I collect, but there’s little guarantee that it will be collected and re-used.

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