This month the sustainability house is getting into the swing of things. As we come back to college it has been hard to develop sustainable living practices, which has shown us our base line from where we can improve. These past few weeks we have put into place systems for measuring waste. We brought scales into the kitchen to weigh the amount of groceries we bring into the house, and then to calculate the amount of normal waste we throw out and the amount of recyclables. With this we are hoping to be able to show that many of the materials we take into our homes or dorms can be recycled or reused. Plastic and paper wastes are the most common from a college campus. All of the water we drink from plastic bottles and the papers we write just pile up and we throw them carelessly into the trash can. These materials, along with so many others, can easily be recycled.
We have also begun our composting efforts. With the use of a small plastic bin outside we collect any raw materials. These materials are known as green and brown materials, in other words materials such as egg shells, fruit rinds, coffee grinds, etc. Once we have a larger pile of compost we will place it in compost bins near the garden to be used as nutrients and soil for plants. Once we have begun planting our own flowers, vegetables, etc. we will use this composted material as part of the soil. Following many of the sustainable practices already employed by the Albright garden we hope to be able to grow some of our own food. This will cut down on the amount of food we buy from the store directly resulting in a lower weight of the foods brought into the house.
Though this house is meant to be for those who chose to endure the struggles that come with living sustainably, it has already proven difficult. We have three girls and two boys living in this house and gender has proven to be an unexpected obstacle. The two boys are both athletes, which means a lot of sweaty clothes and loads of laundry. Having three girls leads to the showers always being in use, as well as excess appliances such as hair dryers. These are two of the major sustainability problems we have run into. We are going to be applying for grants soon to be able to receive sustainable additions to the house. We are looking into low flow toilets, water and energy efficient washer and dryer, solar panels, rain barrels, as well as many other sustainable items. Our goal is to make this house the example for how people can live sustainably. We hope by the end of the year to be significantly more efficient than the average affinity house, and even a residential home. It is remarkable how even just changing a few small things in our everyday routine can be so environmentally beneficial.