For two and a half weeks, I have been collecting all the trash I generate to the best of my abilities. It has been eye opening to keep the trash outside my room, and then carry it around with me until I return. I was inspired by a friend here at Dickinson College after watching the documentary Time To Choose. The documentary itself was not about waste, but I came to the conclusion during the film that doing something wasn’t only for the environmental bloggers or super hard-core environmentalists, but that it could be my project, too. It has to be my project if I want to take any kind of meaningful action to increase my awareness of the impact I have on the planet.
I didn’t realize how much wrapping is used for daily food consumption in my life, and I also didn’t realize how much waste I create when I try to sneak food out of the cafeteria. Through this experiment, I have come to the conclusion that I need to use plastic and glass reusable containers for transporting food. By using these, I can perpetuate better systems around food into my daily routine: where and how I prepare it, and how I eat it. Also, using glass containers gives me better awareness of the food I don’t need to waste while I am carrying it around. It also serves double-duty as a reusable cup!
I have thought a lot about what it would be like to collect trash in different settings apart from college. I definitely considered continuing it during my travels, and I will likely try my best to do it. I think doing this during travel would be more eye-opening and powerful, because saving and transporting the trash you generate gives you so much more knowledge about how much trash we all, as humans, create. And it shows the systems in our world that perpetuate this consumption and waste.
Pictured is the trash I generated during the last two weeks, collected to the best of my ability.
While collecting the trash, I have been counting down the time left until my departure for Bonn in meals, hours, classes, and sunrises. I always have this strange feeling when I travel; reality never sinks in completely until I am on the plane actively traveling. Maybe part of this is because I have a hard time visualizing trips, especially when they are something or somewhere I have never experienced. But, I think part of it is that the cycles of daily college life feel so removed from the big wide world.
I’m excited to learn how to better incorporate the world and what’s happening in it into the bubble that I’m experiencing in college. I feel the time is approaching for this far off dream I had of going to COP23 last March to become realized, and I cannot articulate how grateful and energized I am for it.