Twenty-seven-year-old Lauren Singer is not the average New Yorker. Over the past four years, all of the trash that she has produced can fit into a 16 oz mason jar, while the average American produces 4.3 pounds of trash every day. Singer lives what is called a “zero waste” lifestyle.
In order to live a waste-free lifestyle, one must reuse all products, avoid packaging and find alternatives to plastics.
However, Biology teacher David Mcenaney believes that a completely waste-free lifestyle is not achievable, and argues that people should try to limit their waste instead.
“Zero waste is not achievable in our economy. I think a push for a limited waste lifestyle movement is more realistic. We are a grab-and-go society where convenience outweighs all other factors, such as the amount of waste,” Mcenaney said.
Students, in particular, do not realize the impact they have on the environment. They forget to recycle, eat fast food with plastic packaging, and waste paper. However, Teachers are trying to make an effort to change this
“The environmental science class does a project where they bring in the trash they produced during the weekend. This is typically an eye opening experience for students to see how much they throw away in a short amount of time,” Mcenaney said.
Contrary to popular belief, limiting waste doesn’t have to be so difficult. Little things like purchasing products without packaging and using your own containers and cloth bags in stores can make a difference. Spanish teacher Amy Roberts is an avid believer in these methods
“When I only purchase a few items, I just carry them without bags. I also reuse everything that I own, including my ziploc bags,” Spanish teacher Amy Roberts said.
The effect of waste is tremendous. Trash travels throughout the world’s oceans and accumulates on beaches. It harms marine life, damages habitats and spreads chemical pollutants.
The public is generally unaware of this impact. Those who are aware sometimes choose not to show their care by acting on it.
“People who don’t care about the environment are like people who don’t vote during the elections. Everything makes an impact,” Roberts said.
It is projected that the amount of plastic in the oceans will double by 2030. Environmentalists are advocating that people make changes now so that this figure doesn’t become a reality. Junior Danielle Glasgow has many siblings and knows the impact that a household’s trash makes.
“It is common knowledge that we must reduce our waste and it’s important to protect the world that we were given,” junior Danielle Glasgow said.