Waste Reduction Week

I believe that global warming is happening and that we are making it worse. I think that the government should set up regulations to help keep our earth clean. I try not to litter, and I make sure to recycle at work, but at home, I have not been doing the same. Part of it is laziness, and the other is the lack of knowledge on how to reduce waste in my house. Last week, I wanted to implement a waste reduction week, but as I had to go to Atlanta for a business trip, I decided to reduce waste generation while in my hotel room.
When I was packing, I made sure to use reusable bottles to carry some of my hair products and lotions instead of using the ones in the hotel or buying new ones. The bottles will allow me to reuse all of my products anytime I travel, and there will be fewer bottles that I will throw away. I also made sure to pack a BPA-free reusable water bottle that I can use while I travel. I have noticed that I create a lot of waste by buying plastic water bottles, so I decided a to use the reusable water bottle to cut some of that out.
When it came to the checking in at the airport, I used the online check-in and did not print a boarding pass. I skipped my usual stop at the airport shop for bottled water and just refilled the bottle I had, at a drinking fountain. I was not a fan of that because I did not know if the water was filtered. In Atlanta, I used uberPOOL which allows you to share your Uber with others that are going in the same direction as you are. Not only does this save money, but it also causes less pollution when you share a ride.
Living in a hotel for a whole week makes it hard to reduce your food waste, but I tried my hardest to carry on with my waste reduction week. The hotel I stayed at had a restaurant downstairs, and I made sure not to use a styrofoam box or a plastic bag. Instead of throwing away the food I didn’t eat, I saved the rest for lunch in the Tupperware that I brought with me. I was able to eat everything I ordered which allowed me to eliminate food wastage. I also asked the hotel to refill my BPA-free water bottle with their filtered water.
I did not ask for turndown service the whole week I was there because I was alone and there were more than enough clean towels for myself. I kept the do not disturb sign hanging, and they never came into my room. At work, I decided not to use a lot of paper. I created a signature on my computer, so when I had to sign contracts, I added it on the pdf file, and therefore, I did not have to print it, just to sign it, and scan it back to my computer.filler-rrr
I was on the go through the week, and I was not able to do as much as I wanted to for this waste reduction week, but the little changes I made not only helped the environment, but it saved me money as well. I have looked into how I can keep on doing little changes to my lifestyle, so that I can keep on with my promise to reduce waste. I will no longer buy packs of bottled water. I am not a fan of filtered water, so I decided to get my water delivered, and the company has installed an energy saving water cooler. I have vowed not to use too much paper towels, and I will be getting more cloth towels for my home.
Organic household product use can also help with the elimination of dangerous chemicals. These household chemicals not only cause pollution, but can also affect our health. I suffer from allergies and asthma, and I can hardly use some of those cleaners because they make me sick. Ian Kimber and Raymond Pieters stated in their article, “Household chemicals, immune function, and allergy: A commentary,” “There is some evidence that exposure to certain chemicals may elicit or exacerbate respiratory reactions in those who are already sensitized, or who already have existing airway disease.” By switching to safe organic household products, I can, not only help the environment, but also limit my and my boyfriend’s exposure to these harmful chemicals.
Another change I wanted to make in my household is the wastage of food. Wasting food has been something I have been doing a lot. In the article “Waste Not, Want Not,” Laura Lorentzen and Kim Spaccarotella state that “according to a United States Department of Agriculture report, 133 billion pounds of food, representing 141 trillion calories, went uneaten in the U.S. in 2010.” I get uncomfortable eating things that are near the sell-by date or a few days after and that is why I have thrown out a lot of food. Sometimes, I have gotten grossed out if something has been in the pantry too long.
I have let these sell-by/use-by dates rule my life. I have learned that these dates do not necessarily mean that the food is automatically bad after that date. According to Akshat Tiwari’s article “Mystery Date: Advocating for a Harmonized System of Expiration Date Labeling of Food”, “while most manufacturers agreed that extremely perishable food products require expiration dates that inform consumers of freshness, there was a wide range of responses for products with marginal shelf life, illustrating the broad level of discretion left to manufacturers.” I believed that there was a reason for these dates and now realize that there is not much to it. I have been wasting food for nothing.
The changes to my lifestyle might seem small, but I believe that it is a start in the right direction. I cannot go on complaining that the government is not helping with the global warming and pollution problem, without actually helping the planet myself. If everyone made the little changes I am doing; we could help reduce some of the waste that is hurting our planet.

by Josephine Garcia

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