Our society is so heavily based upon production and consumption. Americans’ linear way of living, as opposed to a circular, cradle-to-cradle based system, generates massive amounts of waste: in fact, in 2013, we produced 254 million tons of trash! Many goods are made to be disposable after a short period of time, whether that is three years, five months, or two hours. Our goal is to reduce the amount of immediately disposable goods – such as coffee cups, plastic utensils, tissues, etc. – that we use in our day-to-day lives, and become more mindful of our individual impact on the environment.
Developing awareness and being more cognizant of this issue will have a large influence on what we’re purchasing and throwing away. We hope that making an effort to replace disposable goods with reusable, extended-use items, such as travel mugs and handkerchiefs, will help us reduce our individual waste.
The NO IMPACT CHALLENGE is a week-long waste-reduction competition for students, faculty, and staff at theUniversity of Michigan. Participants record the number of disposable goods they use each day and work to improve their individual actions as the challenge progresses. Those who use the fewest disposable items at the end of the challenge are the winners! We hope that participants will gain a greater awareness of their consumption and feel motivated to make changes to their daily lifestyle.
After all, creating a bit of competition is the best way to get people motivated!
- Challenge dates: January 29 – February 5.
- Those who are interested must sign-up using this form by Friday, January 28th.
- PitE Club will send out a Google form every evening for participants to individually record their points (1 disposable item = 1 point) using the items guide.
- The challenge only works if participants are honest! Remember, it’s not only about winning, but also about reducing your environmental impact!
Items Guide (all items count as 1 point):
- Plastic bags, paper bags
- Disposable cutlery
- Cups, bottles, cans
- Food and drink accessories (i.e. coffee sleeve, stirrer, etc.)
- Napkins, paper towels, tissues
- Single use containers (i.e. yogurt cups, bag of chips, etc.)
- Wrappers, packaging
Q: Should I count a point if I’m sharing a food item with a friend/family member/living companion?
A: Yes. You’re still consuming it!
Q: Do I count toilet paper, Q-tips, or dental floss as a point?
A: No, we consider those items to be necessities, and not easily replaceable by extended-use items.
Q: What if I am given a disposable item, but don’t use it, like napkins in my take-out?
A: That counts as a point! You can always ask for no napkins.
Q: What if I recycle the item after I use it, like a water bottle?
A: This counts as 1/2 point. The idea is to reduce consumption, so although recycling is a good way to dispose of waste, a better option is not buying the water bottle at all and using a reusable water bottle.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Remember, the idea is to become more conscious of your waste. We understand that there are certain limitations due to the structure of our society, so don’t worry about the areas in which you feel like you can’t eliminate waste!