Students to Participate in “Carry Your Trash Week”

A group of 17 Colgate students and faculty gathered around a table on Friday, February 8 to discuss “Carry Your Trash Week,” which will take place from February 10-16. Those in attendance were provided with large Ziploc bags in which they will dispose any and all of the trash that they accumulate over the course of the week.

“Carry Your Trash Week” is a part of a larger international movement between the United States and Canada, known as RecycleMania. Over 600 higher education institutions partake in this eight-week competition designed to reduce waste on college campuses. Colgate has been participating in RecycleMania since 2009. Colgate Sustainability reported last year that RecycleMania efforts were focused primarily in student and faculty education about campus waste.

The “trash” that can be stored in the bags includes paper items (magazines, newspapers, pizza boxes, notebook paper, etc.), bottles, cans and landfill waste (gum wrappers, plastic utensils, styrofoam, receipts, etc.). Students who wish to participate can register through the Colgate website. Participating students should make sure that these items are clean and empty before storing them in order to avoid odors. According to the event on Colgate’s website, the goal of this environmental crusade is to engage students in efforts to help the environment, not to repel them.

Senior Chaveli Miles led the information session and said that the objective of “Carry Your Trash Week” is not to lower waste to as little as possible; rather, it is to raise awareness and address waste on campus. Each Ziploc bag should serve as an accurate representation of how much waste the average person produces in just one week.

Recycling, although cited as an important element of environmental sustainability, is expensive, time-consuming and limited in the products it can salvage. Each day, the average American produces 4.5 pounds of waste that cannot be recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. This week is about showcasing that waste, taking accountability for it and then changing behavior in the future.

Senior Camila Loke explained why she is getting involved in “Carry Your Trash Week.”

“I want to become more aware of the waste that I’m creating and make other people aware of what they’re creating, too,” Loke said.

Junior Eliza Judson agreed with Loke’s views.

“I’ve been trying to find ways to reduce my footprint, and I think that having a visual will be really helpful,” Judson said. “It’ll serve as a reminder for myself and for others to be more mindful.”

The students participating in “Carry Your Trash Week” said they are hoping their participation will encourage the Colgate community to confront and reflect upon the excess waste it produces and that, hope- fully, students will cut back on their use of smoothie cups and will think twice about using plastic straws.

Contact Lucy Feidelson at [email protected]