Let’s Talk Trash
Written by: Carly Bergman
During my time in Nicaragua, I had quite the eye-opening experience. I lived right on the beach in small villages where everything is simple and beautiful. But, along the dirt roads, I couldn’t help but notice all the trash on the ground. Seeing this extremely impacted me when I realized how much waste we produce as humans.
I was asked to minimize my waste by refusing, reducing, and reusing because the country doesn’t have a proper waste management system. The streets in Nicaragua were filled with trash and I did not want to be a careless tourist contributing to this problem. I figured I would have a little competition with myself to see how little I could waste.
After the month I spent in this country, I was able to fit all of my recyclables in a single plastic bag! I made this happen by being conscientious about the packaging involved in what I was consuming. This got me thinking about how much I waste in the United States. From Chipotle containers to deodorant sticks, I consume A LOT of plastic.
When I returned from my trip, I decided I wanted to raise awareness on plastic waste and minimize my consumption once and for all.
As Americans, we do not even think about the detrimental effects it has on the environment simply because we do not see the impact these countries experience. I decided that I was going to collect my regular plastic/recyclable consumption for the month of February just to see how much I accumulate as an individual. So far my living room is close to being a landfill. I knew I consumed a lot, but I had no idea I consumed this much! For being an environmentalist and practicing sustainability daily, I was shocked. After sharing my idea with my GIVE group at Florida Gulf Coast University, I decided to present this idea to anyone who wants to evoke positive change for the environment.
The idea is to collect ALL of your recyclables and plastics (nothing perishable!) for the month of February to raise awareness on pollution and over-consumption. We are using February as the benchmark to establish our typical consumption. The goal is to try to reduce this waste by 50% for the month of March.