When I learned of the sustainability office visit, I was genuinely excited because I have a passion for sustainability and being able to see it out in the real world would have been very interesting. Sadly I was unable to attend this visit due to family circumstances. But, one of my friends in Wicked Problems did lend me her note sheet and she sat and talked with me about the visit to help me learn about the sustainability office and what they do.
One of the most interesting things I learned was that 70% of OSU is powered by wind, and there are other methods of power that the other 30% are powered by, such as geothermal and solar power. I also thought it was interesting to learn that some of the furniture on campus is original and has been refurbished in the upholstery shop at the sustainability office. This inspires me to do the same with my furniture that I have now. Rather than getting rid of it when I am tired of its aesthetic, I can refurbish these pieces by upholstering, painting or staining them. This also makes me want to buy used antique furniture that is higher-quality when I fully furnish my home after graduating college. These higher-quality pieces will last me longer than new lower-quality pieces, and even if I don’t like the design of them, if the furniture has good bones, I can upcycle it.
I also think the concept of cradle to grave and cradle to cradle is something I am going to start being more mindful of in my daily practices. I am going to actively work to think more about the items I am using and how I can reuse or repurpose them. If I can’t reuse the items I will try to ensure that the item is recyclable so that even though I will be produced waste, it will hopefully have another life. This reminds me of the common phrase of reduce, reuse and recycle. When implementing these practices you should focus on reducing first, using less unneeded things to reduce your waste, then if you can’t reduce your use of the item you should try reusing it, and if you can’t reuse it then that is when you go to recycling. While recycling is a good option over throwing things into the trash, reducing and reusing are both better than recycling.
These are all things I am going to focus on as I try to go no waste for a week next week. I am doing this for an article to be published in modmuze magazine, and I am going to do it and then tell others about my experience and how they can do it too. Throughout this week of no waste, I am going to keep a mason jar to put trash in if I do make some, and I am going to focus on the reducing and reusing aspects because going no waste means no recycling either because you should not have products that need recycled either. I am very excited to see how my week goes. The one waste item I will still be using is toilet paper, but other than that I am cutting out all use of single use plastics, plastic packaging, paper towels, Styrofoam and etc.. I think this may be a challenge mostly because I enjoy snacking so I am going to go shopping at Sprouts for snacks in glass containers or snacks that I can put in my own containers. I am excited to see how it will go! The hardest part will be denying food other people offer me that is in plastic packaging, especially if that food is chocolate. Chocolate is my weakness.
I am excited to put in the effort of reducing my waste because it reminds me of the efforts OSU has in place to reduce their waste. Without these efforts, I don’t think we would directly see the results of not doing these efforts on campus, but we would definitely have more of an ecological impact than we do now. I think this is a common theme between the Americans and their trash. They produce so much, but then most of them never see the ecological effects of this trash. This is why I believe people are not more mindful of their actions because there is not enough awareness.
How can we as a younger generation help make people aware and instill inter-generational responsibility in them?