Members of a Louisville youth environmental organization are taking a unique approach this week to raise awareness about the household garbage people create. They’ve been carrying around all the trash they generate—everything that can’t be recycled or composted.
I expected there to be a lot more trash when meeting the nine members of Our Earth Now who are several days into a weeklong project in which they’re carrying all of the garbage they generate. The average American generates 4.4 pounds a day, and the group is several days in. But most of the members are just holding small bags.
“I have a bowl and a cup from Qdoba, because neither of those are recyclable. I have a bag that had spinach in it. I have soy sauce packets,” University of Louisville sophomore Laura Krauser says. She says she hasn’t changed her behavior during this week, so she gets an accurate picture of how much trash she’s creating.
Jenna Farineau is a senior at duPont Manual High School. Several days worth of her trash fits into a small bag that once held walnuts. She says projects like this one are just a small step toward raising awareness about the larger issue.
“Awareness is the next step to change and big things that are going to happen,” she says. “And I think a lot of people don’t realize that it’s super simple to do that. And this—you know, it’s a super simple project. You’re just putting trash in a bag and carrying it around with you.”
Krauser says in a society running out of space to store its trash, projects like this one can help change attitudes about recycling.
“Reusing a glass bottle doesn’t seem like a big deal for one person, but when an entire society, an entire country or community, or even just your family makes those type of commitments, those changes are real, and they’re tangible, and that’s an important thing to recognize,” she says.
The group will end its project on Sunday.