Day 3

Zero Waste

SPONSORED BY 

Guayaki
The Story of Stuff Project

OVERVIEW

“There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard, Founder, Story of Stuff 

Check out what’s right before your eyes, in your hands and around your space. How much of what you see has been created by humans? How much will be obsolete by tomorrow? By next week? By next year? 

We tend to think that the lifecycle of possessions begins when we make a purchase and ends when we throw any given item away, but that could not be further from the truth. Stuff – “matter,” if we’re being scientific – never really goes away.It may decompose and turn into something else, but more likely than not, your stuff is destined to sit in landfills or waterways forever, polluting our atmosphere and planet.  

According to the 2017 Global Waste Management Conference, global waste is estimated to rise to 2.2 billion tons by 2025. In the U.S. alone, the average person produces 4.4 pounds of waste per dayCollectively, the U.S. produces around 258 million tons of waste annually, a quantity that would cover Texas TWICE! 

More than negative environmental impact, plastic is hazardous to human health.New studies find that microplastics, tiny pieces of plastic resulting from degraded plastic debris, are in our water and food. A 2019 study found that humans ingest around 5 grams of plastic a week, the same amount of plastic as a credit card. Microplastics contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer and a multitude of other health concerns.  

Have you ever thought about plastic’s impact on climate change? Plastic pollution is a major factor in the extraction and release of fossil fuels that contribute to the climate crisis. The entire lifecycle of plastic is fossil fuel-intensive, from petroleum extraction to production to eventual disposal. It is estimated that by 2050, global plastic production will emit 2.75 billion tons of carbon, equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.

Waste has unfortunately 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 (food wrappers and containers, bottle and container caps, plastic bags, straws and stirrers, and take out containers) can be easily eliminated from everyday life. Companies like today’s partner, Klean Kanteen, offer reusable alternatives that make it easy to transition to a low waste lifestyle.

So, how can you start reducing your waste consumption right now?  

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

RETHINK.Think hard about what you can do differently to cut down on waste. Today’s partner, 5 Gyres, shares a simple shopping guide that demonstrates how we can live with less plastic.

REFUSE. As Plastic Pollution Coalition reminds us,”plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest. Refuse single use plastic.”

ROT. Make it your business to keep food waste and other biodegradable materials out of landfills by starting a compost!

A low waste lifestyle is possible and far more cost effective in the long run. Buying in bulk, exploring DIY options, and purchasing direct from farmers and ranchers are all choices that help to lower monthly bills and ecological footprints.

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 people and planet. Remember that every piece of plastic ever created still exists in one form or another.  

CHALLENGE: 

Watch the Story of Stuff, a brilliant short film made by environmental leader, Annie Leonard, and watch this mini-doc from Story of Stuff’s latest project, the Story of Plastic.

  • Share three major takeaways from these videos. What is one change that you will make as a result?
  • Share a link to Story of Stuff on a social media platform and caption it with the change you will make. Tag @TurningGreenOrg and use #PGC2019.

DELIVERABLES: 

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see the upload button you will need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again. You can see your points total by logging out and back in again.
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

Since landfills are often hidden from view, it can be easy to overlook just how much waste we produce and its negative impacts on our shared planet. Check out this video made by our partner Klean Kanteen. Ever wonder how much waste you actually produce? Well, you’re about to find out!

CHALLENGE

For today,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 and include:

  • Conversations with 2 people. Who did you interact with? What did they say? How did they react?   

  • A photo of everything you collected at the end of your day, separated into recyclables, non-recyclables and food waste/compost. Check out your local guidelines for recycling to make sure you properly sort items.

Next, consider reusable options. Pick two items and tell us how you could avoid creating that waste in the future. What is one small change you can make today to contribute to a less wasteful 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

  • If you do not see the upload button you will need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again. You can see your points total by logging out and back in again.
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

Schools produce massive amounts of waste. In the cafeteria alone, students use and dump countless plastic utensils, styrofoam trays, single use plastic water bottles, cups, straws, and more every single day! 

CHALLENGE

Make a list of wasteful practices you notice at your school and outline solutions to these problems. Think about the cafeteria or dining hall, classrooms, sporting events, and more.

Next, choose one issue that you listed above and design an action plan for reducing this waste at your particular school. Need inspiration: consider recycling, composting, reusables, water, to name but a few starting points. Use this toolkit designed to help students reduce waste on campus from the Post Landfill Action Network as a resource. Answer the following questions:

  • What steps would you need to take to implement this project?
  • Who would you need to involve in the process?
  • What logistical details would you need to figure out?
  • What are some potential barriers you might face?
  • Is this project something you would consider implementing on campus?

DELIVERABLES

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

Submission Guidelines

  • If you do not see the upload button you will need to log in
  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2019.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again. You can see your points total by logging out and back in again.
  • Send any questions 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 #PGC2019
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

TODAY’S PRIZES

Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest of the most outstanding submissions will be chosen as winners and awarded prize points to redeem in the PGC Prize Store. Greener wins = 75 prize points, Greenest wins = 100 prize points. Check the Winners page to see if you’re selected!

 

5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:

Klean Kanteen 8oz Insulated Canister
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Straws (4)
To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensils

Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!

Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.