This week at the Sustainable Living House there has been discussion and planning of major changes. Everything from school competitions from artistic renovation are beginning to occur. One aspect of living in the Sustainability House is trying to spread the word about how others can live sustainably and the impact we as humans have on the population. An event that we have going on right now is the Recycling Wars! This is a fun activity that is a competition between the other houses on campus and ourselves to see who produces the least amount of waste that gets dumped to the landfills. Each week on the separate trash collecting days two of the Sustainability house members walk around campus and weigh the other houses trash, and then a few days later they weigh the recycling. The hope is that each house will learn how to be more recycling conscious when they throw away their trash. We all at some point absentmindedly throw a container or wrapper in the trashcan when it really could go in the recycling bin. As the competition progresses we hope to see an increase in the weight of the recyclables indicating that the house members are being more conscious when they throw out their garbage. At the end of a month we will bring all of the house members together at the Sustainability House and announce a winner of the recycling wars who recycled the most compared to their trash output over the month. After this announcement the Sustainability House will discuss the many different ways recycling can be beneficial the environment. We intend to conduct these wars twice to see if season or weather plays any part in the amount of trash people throw away. For example, in the winter people may eat more soup so the cans would be recycled and then the recycling may weigh more than in the hotter months where water bottles are more prevalent.
On top of this the house is moving to test our sustainability resolve. At the end of this week we are going to wrap up one of our toilets that is not water efficient and make everyone, including guests, use to basement toilet that is low flow. Along with this we are going to begin timing our showers. As five people living in a house together we notice who takes longer showers and how often. The girls take longer due to having more hair and shaving; while the boys take more frequent showers as they play sports and shower after every practice, or sometimes before practice as well. We are debating what the exact time limit should be, general consensus is between eight to ten minutes. There will be a final decision by next week Monday. We are doing this in the hopes that the data will show a reduction in water use for the house over the month. If the reduction is significant enough we will begin looking into grants for a low flow toilet and continue with our time reduction on showers. We at the Sustainability House have high hopes for the results of these next few weeks!