My assigned role in the house this week was to record the data on trash coming in and out of the house. Everything that comes into the house that is considered trash or is consumed by the students in the house has to be weighed. For example, groceries, soap and paper towels, but exclude clothes, cellphones i.e. things you do not throw away on a regular basis. The trash is broken down into categories: recycle, regular trash (non-recyclable, non-biodegradable) and compost. We find it interesting to put a numerical value on the trash that we generate on a weekly basis. It has allowed us to think of ways that we can reduce the trash values and increase the recycle and compost values.
Weighing the trash coming into a household of five individuals opens our eyes as to how much a city like reading generates. Where does it go? What do others do with it? How can we reduce it? This got us thinking on something bigger than just our house hold. What if there were town/ city regulations to help reduce trash, and increase recycle and compost items. For example, creating a city or town compost where individuals could rid of composting items. Even though we should be recycling and composting on a regular basis, sometimes there are factors that impede on that capability. For example, knowledge of what should be recycled, along with composted. Last spring the Albright football team took a trip to Montreal, Canada. In the cafeteria where they ate, there were four different trash cans consisting of; trash, recyclable plastic and tin, recyclable paper and cardboard and compost. Even though the cans were labeled there were even pictures and lists of what could go in each can. What if restaurants in cities and towns, even the cafeteria at Albright had cans like this to organize and promote proper composting and recycling.
Another way to increase recyclable and compostable products is to incorporate more sustainable products within already existing products. For example, one of our family member’s brother recently traveled to California, when he returned he brought him back a straw, but not just any straw. This straw was labeled “eco-straw”, where after use it was one hundred percent compostable. So what if we could generate more sustainable products that we use on a daily basis, like a straw.
When we put a numerical value on the trash that was coming in and out of the house it put into perspective the impact that not only the household of five students is having but we as a whole are struggling with. To reduce the trash amount and increase recyclable and compostable waste we recommend that cities towns, or even something as small as Albright set standards on what and how waste is managed. Along with that we recommend that daily products, such as spoons, straws even napkins become more eco-friendly and more sustainable. These are not small changes but there are small changes that can be done to implement these bigger changes.