student working on a laptop

Less Is More

Friday, February 28, 2020

For 24 hours in late February, students in Jennifer Kuhns's Environmental Science classes carried every bit of trash they produced in a trash bag. They didn't recycle, compost, or use trash bins.

"The exercise helped make them mindful of the amount of waste they produce, the environmental impact, and how small behavioral changes can have a lasting effect on the economy as well as the environment," said Mrs. Kuhns.

Her eighth period class produced an impressively small amount of trash! A few napkins and tissues, disposable cups, a soda can, a banana peel, and paper. The students reported making conscious decisions to produce less trash. For example, some didn't use paper towels to dry their hands, others forced themselves to clean their plates, while another used a metal coffee filter rather than a paper one. The students didn't seem to see these changes as difficult, except maybe the student who forced down a less-than-palatable hamburger. 

"I had to make some changes in my day to day life. For instance, I started to air dry my hands after I washed them to not only minimize, but eliminate my paper towel consumption," said Andre Richard '20. "I also began to only take what I knew I could eat during meals to decrease food waste. As a result, I ended up throwing no trash away. This activity made me feel like I was in control of the waste that I produce as well as helped me discover that it really isn't that hard to make little to no waste." 

trash produced in experiment