Day 3

Zero Waste

SPONSORED BY U-KONSERVE

The Story of Stuff Project
Guayaki
EcoWatch

OVERVIEW

“”Above all, we should question the consumer ethic, which uses up non-renewable resources, creates inequality and injustice, generates pollution, destroys other species and upsets the balance of nature. Waste itself is a human concept; everything in nature is eventually used. If human beings carry on in their present ways, they will one day be recycled along with the dinosaurs.”
~ Peter Marshall, English Philosopher, Historian, Passionate Ecologist

You have 48 hours to complete today’s challenge. It is due on 10/5 at 6am PT.

Stuff is all around us. It makes up our world. Mostly, we surround ourselves with items that serve a purpose — school supplies, toiletries, clothing, furniture, electronics, food, etc. As soon as those things are used up, we throw them out. And that’s the end of that.

But unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Far from it. Stuff — matter, in scientific terms — never truly goes away. It might decompose and turn into something else, but more likely than not your stuff is destined to sit in landfills or waterways, polluting our atmosphere and our planet.

It’s not just you. The average person produces about 1.95 kg or 4.4 pounds of waste per day. Collectively, the United States produces around 254 million tons of waste annually – a quantity that could cover Texas, TWICE! According to the World Bank, the global population will produce over two billion tons of waste annually by 2100, putting the need to combat such waste at “the heart of sustainable development.” Trash is already finding its way to the most isolated and untouched corners of our world. Just recently 38 million pieces of plastic were found on one of the world’s most remote islands, Henderson Island, which is part of the South Pacific Pitcairn group.

Waste has become a negative byproduct of our daily lives, but it doesn’t have to be! According to 5 Gyres’s Plastic Ban List, the top six sources of plastic pollution are all caused by people and largely consumer driven, they include: food wrappers and containers, bottle and container caps, plastic bags, straws and stirrers, and take out containers. By taking only what we can eat and switching to reusables, we send far less to landfill. Simple solutions to waste are readily available, so luckily changing your behavior can be painless. Forgoing single-use packaging for safe, reusable containers is one of the best places to start. Companies like Klean Kanteen and U-Konserve offer stainless steel reusable containers that make it easy to transition to a zero waste lifestyle.

So, where can you start reducing your waste consumption?

Yes, Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. You’ve heard these words since you were a kid, and they’re truer than ever today. But here are a few more important “R’s” to throw into the mix:

RETHINK. Think hard about what you can do differently to cut down on waste. Today’s non-profit partner, 5 Gyres, shares simple but illuminating information about reducing plastic pollution through exploration, education, and action.

REFUSE. Refuse all single-use items and disposables that you can live without. While you’re at it, ask your friends, family and school to do the same.

ROT. Make it your business to keep food waste and other biodegradable materials out of landfills by creating rich compost to feed nearby plants. Encourage your friends, schools, and communities to start composting if they haven’t already.

It may sound difficult, but we’re here to tell you that a zero waste lifestyle is possible. And one piece of the lifestyle that often gets glossed over: living zero waste is much more cost effective in the long run! Buying in bulk, exploring DIY, and buying direct from farmers are all choices that help to lower your monthly bills.

For more specific ideas and tips, check out Lauren Singer’s blog Trash is for Tossers.

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

Think

Think about the full lifecycle of a single-use product. How was it created? How did it end up in your hands? How will you dispose of it? The answers to these questions all have serious implications for the health of people and planet. In fact, every piece of plastic ever created still exists in one form or another.

Challenge

  • Watch this short video made by Annie Leonard, Story of Stuff
  • What are three lessons you learned from this video?
  • Share one change that you will make in your life.
  • Share a link to Story of Stuff on social media and tag @TurningGreenOrg, @storyofstuff, and use #PGC2017
  • Deliverables

    Upload your responses in a PDF document. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Greener

    40 POINTS

    Think

    Since landfills are hidden from view, it’s easy to overlook just how much waste we produce and how it negatively impacts our shared planet. Check out this visual of consumerism in the U.S. to see how mindless consumption can add up.

    Challenge

    Do you ever wonder how much waste you actually produce? Well, you’re about to find out!

  • For 24 hours, carry a bag everywhere you go and collect everything that you would otherwise throw away. Don’t hide it! Carry your bag of waste proudly and invite conversations with classmates and community members.
  • Show us the story of your day through the medium of your choice (e.g., photos, video, etc.), tag @TurningGreenOrg and include the hashtag #PGC2017. Don’t forget to include:
  • Who did you interact with? Share your conversations with 2 people. What did they say? How did they react?
  • At the end of 24 hours, take a photo of everything you collected separated into recyclables, non-recyclables, and food waste/compost.
  • Consider some reusable options for each of your piles – pick two items in each pile. Tell us how these items could avoid ending up as waste in the future.
  • What is something you could change in your own lifestyle tomorrow to contribute to a zero waste world.
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF document with your photos and responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Greenest

    60 POINTS

    Think

    Polystyrene and expanded polystyrene foam — better known as Styrofoam — is one of the most harmful forms of waste on the planet. It is rarely recyclable, and, like all plastic, it takes hundreds of years to decompose. It’s one of the most common forms of litter on our beaches, and is known to cause cancer in animals. It is literally everywhere; in our coffee cups, take-out containers, straws, cutlery, and more. For this challenge we’re asking you to join the #foamfree campaign that is working to ban polystyrene across the nation!

    Challenge

  • Watch this “Topless for Oceans” video here
  • Take a look at 5Gyres #foamfree campaign and upload responses to Steps 1, 2, and 3.
  • Log on to get started:
  • Step 1: Take the pledge to refuse single-use polystyrene products.
  • Step 2: Check the map. See what’s going on around this issue where you live. Use the map and tell us if any bans have passed or are pending in your area.
  • Step 3: Take action. Choose one of the three actions to take under Step 3 and tell us which action you took. Step 3 on twitter and tag @5Gyres and @turninggreenorg, and hashtag #foamfree and #PGC2017
  • Look around on your campus and see where Styrofoam is currently being used.
  • Create a poster. Based on what you’ve learned, incorporate key facts and engaging graphics or visuals to communicate the importance of eliminating Styrofoam from your campus.
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF document with the responses that you posted on the #foamfree page to Steps 1, 2, and 3. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.
    The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

    Extra Credit

    0 POINTS

    Extra Credit due on October 21 @ 6am PT. Up to 150 points awarded for outstanding work.

    Think

    Based on what you’ve learned in the previous challenges, it’s time to take #foamfree to the next step. Individual actions definitely add up, but if you can enlist the support of your entire campus community, the impact could be enormous! Commit to eliminating polystyrene by developing a campaign and acting as a catalyst for change on your campus.

    Challenge

  • Take Action. Download and follow 5Gyres’ Free Action Guide to launch a #foamfree campaign at your school.
  • Develop your campaign and share your process with us. Include the following: your team, goals, work plan, timeline, communication and marketing strategy, and branding.
  • Show us your campaign: photos, flyer, video, or a recap of a conversation you have had with an administrator or school leader – anything that demonstrates the progress you have made with getting your school to go #foamfree.
  • Post an Instagram that features your campaign logo and campaign tagline tagging @5gyres and @turninggreenorg, using the hashtags #foamfree and #PGC2017
  • Deliverables

    Upload a PDF document with your photos and responses. Include a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.

    Submission Guidelines

    • Please submit all entries as PDFs – no word or pages docs.
    • Please save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2017.pdf)
    • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
    • Please be sure to include all content for your submission in one doc
    • Do not upload a file bigger than 5 MB
    • You will get a confirmation that your submission uploaded correctly. If you did not get a confirmation, please try again.
    • If your total points do not change, your submission did not load correctly and you will have to try again. You can see your point total by opening the Edit Profile tab on the bottom nav bar. Your point total will be at the top of the page.
    • Send any questions you have to info@turninggreen.org
    • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Facebook @TurningGreen, on Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2017.