Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sustainability on Crack: The Trash Diaries

Ahem, make that "trash diary".

So, as some of you know, I am pursuing a degree in urban planning as well as a minor in sustainability. Even though I am on co-op (a paid internship) this quarter, I am taking a introductory sustainability course in DAAP, which is not necessarily going to count toward any of my goals. The director of the Sustainable Urban Environments program is usually missing in action, over in Africa or some other exotic location. Thus, I'm not certain whether this course will actually work in substitution for the Intro to SUE. *However*...

In the course requirements, there are five projects from which we must choose two to complete. While it's a risk in itself that I am taking this class, it's another that I will overcompensate by completing all five projects. I mean, how could someone *not* give me credit for the course, after I go apeshit on five projects in ten weeks?

I will own this class.

So, included in the list of projects is to keep a trash diary:
For 2 straight weeks, throw nothing away, and keep a diary of the trash you have generated. At the end of the 2 weeks, submit your Trash Diary indicating itemized list of trash generated with total weights of paper, plastic, glass, metal and food that you created. Follow the rules and guidelines as identified by the blog 365 Days of Trash – available here:
That means that from January 6th to 19th, I will be logging my trash, my recyclables, and my food scraps composted. Each piece of waste will be photographed and filed by date. The results will be tallied by weight, and will end up in an in-class, Pecha Kucha presentation. It goes without saying that this is going to be an exercise and a challenge to create the least amount of waste I can. I. Am. Stoked.

So, for today, I have only created one piece of waste: a box from the spaghetti I made tonight. Throughout the day, I carried an organic cotton washcloth for runny noses. I ate at Aquarius Star & Om Cafe, which features local and organic fare with a cloth napkin. My purchase did not require a receipt. Later in the day, I had a doughnut from the Expressmart in TUC, on UC's campus, for which I paid cash and declined to use the wax paper. So far, so good. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, which should be hell for most commuters. That means I get to work from home, eat my bulk food items, and get into a better program by drinking more water.

I will be covering more of my trash diary endeavor, as well as my other sustainability class projects, regularly. Fortunately, that will also give me more motivation to post about my neighborhood initiative....tomorrow.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I could do without receipts in general. I think they need to go the way of the VHS tape.

Now that I think about it, it's kind of ironic that sometimes an electronic means of payment (credit card) generates more real waste than paying with physical money. If you go to a restaurant, up to three receipts can be generated -- it's such a waste!