Where does our trash go once we throw it away?
How much trash do we generate?
And do we care?
These are the questions that the “Zero Waste Challenge” seeks to address. Why is it socially acceptable to put as much trash as you please in the can, but not in a bag you carry with you? People who take on this challenge are usually amazed at what they find.
Take part in the Challenge!
It’s easy – the idea is to collect everything that you don’t recycle or compost (or otherwise legitimately divert from the trash), in a clear bag, and then carry the bag with you for a week. The bag should be prominently displayed or clipped to backpacks or bags. Try it, even for only part of the week. You will be surprised at how much you learn about waste and your own habits (and how it changes your decision-making when your trash is connected to you! Why is that?).
Read about others’ experiences with the challenge on our blog.
How to participate
If you would like to try the Zero Waste Challenge yourself or organize a Zero Waste Week for a group or organization, follow these simple rules:
- Take a gallon ziploc bag (or other large, clear bag) and affix the “Zero Waste Challenge” sticker to the outside. You can also:
- Ask your Eco-Rep for a challenge kit.
- Make your own. Download and print your own sticker.
- Any waste that you do not actually recycle or compost or otherwise legitimately divert from the trash can goes in the bag. One-time use water bottles go in the bag too – there’s no excuse for them!
- No biohazards in the bag.
- The bag should be attached to the outside of your backpack or bag at all times.
- If you or your group participates in this challenge, please share stories and pictures by posting on the Office of Sustainability Facebook page about your experiences!
- RECYCLING: Unsure what item goes where and where to recycle – visit the Facilities Recycling Primer for detailed information
- COMPOSTING: Information on composting drop off sites can also be found on the Facilities Services – Recycling website.
- Energy bar wrappers can be upcycled through the Terracycle program – there are collection points in the Tower Cafe and the Office of Sustainability. Details here.