-Challenge 2-

This just in…. Eco House updates coming to you LIVE from well, the Eco House (duh). Last week ended with the EcoTeam battling it out against the evil Dr. Unnecessary Electricity Usage. While the fight continues, this week the EcoTeam took on a new foe: physical waste.


As per usual, we’re fighting to earn our black-belt in sustainability. Are you with us?


Challenge 2: Earning our Yellow Belt

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The EcoTeam are no strangers to composting and recycling- we’ve got that down (but if you’re unsure check this out). Our main focus for the week was to pay attention to what we consumed: How much packaging did it have? Was the packaging recyclable? Was there a better alternative?


Like any good waste-reducing detectives, we documented the evidence of our exploits:


Trash- Before

IMG-20141017-02655   IMG-20141017-02656


Trash- After



So, it seems that in terms of trash…. we created more that the previous week. But what about compost?


Compost- Before


Compost- After

IMG-20141024-02664    IMG-20141024-02665


…we ended up with more compost than the week before as well. The same was true for recycling. Is this because the challenge turned the EcoTeam into mindless consumers? Or were our needs and activities week to week drastically different? Our photos demonstrate the reason why scientific methodology requires data averaged over multiple trials before you can really have any idea what is going on.


Therefore, we will have to rely on our individual reports to determine our success (and hopefuly explain our wastefulness).


Sustainably Savvy Superwoman: I was the most aware of the challenge when I went grocery shopping for a potluck. We as the eco team were in charge of bringing a dessert and decided to provide fruit. By making this decision we already reduced the consumption of gas (because we didn’t have to use the oven) but there is more to the story. At the supermarket, I consciously chose fruit with the least packaging (this a lot of thought). I chose a packet with a large quantity of grapes over one with a small amount for less plastic per volume. (The container was recyclable.) I went for kiwis in a compostable package rather than those in a plastic wrap. I also did not buy berries which come in plastic containers but I did buy a cantaloupe, a watermelon, and bananas. It was a unique and fun experience to wander around a store calculating the total price versus the total trash that comes with food!


Waste-reducing Wonder Woman: Although eco-heroes always compost, recycle and throw away trash responsibly, this week was a challenge for me. While shopping, I definitely had a difficult time picking out food that didn’t have plastic packaging. It seems like almost everything is individually wrapped. Kowalskis was challenging, but I also traveled home for fall break. As I was shopping with my mom, she tried putting a pepper into a plastic bag. I got seriously distressed and wouldn’t let her do it- which made her laugh very hard. (I’m still bitter). This was an interesting experiment in living outside of a sustainably conscientious community. I’m so lucky to be living with a supportive bunch of eco-heroes!


Locavore-ous Lavagirl: Like my fellow eco heroes, I was no stranger to recycling and composting before this week’s challenge. My main focus was to choose groceries when shopping that would produce as little waste as possible. The goal I had in this regard was to choose items with as minimal packaging as possible; after that, to choose packaging that would be either compostable or recyclable over packaging that would end up as trash. I ended up making some opposite decisions to what I would normally choose, going with one brand over another due to the amount of individual wrapping, and not buying some food items at all that I usually get every week. I tried as hard as I could to not get anything that was individually wrapped, though that ended up being impossible for frozen fish. Because all of my usual breakfast options involved more packaging than I deemed acceptable, I ended up getting muffins from a local bread store instead- a definite plus to my experience this week!


After reviewing our efforts this past week, we have decided to chalk our trash up to “life experiences”. The fact that we had more trash, doesn’t mean that we were worse at composting; we had more compost too! I think we’re going to keep working hard at this challenge and see how our trash levels fluctuate week to week.


Mainly though we are all going to be more conscious consumers at the grocery store! You can be an EcoHero just by saying “PAPER” instead of “PLASTIC” and choosing bananas over kiwis wrapped in plastic(since when has this become a thing anyways?).

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EcoTeam to AlphaControl: Mission accomplished. Waiting on our next assignment.



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