Posts tagged ‘northwestern’

Culprit: Energy Bars

By Amanda Myers

I started out the No Impact Challenge without anxiety about accumulating too many points. Why worry when I was mindful of wasteful habits and made careful decisions in sustainable practices? What I’ve learned about myself with this challenge is that while I support green efforts in various forms and I am aware of my footprint, I still, at times, choose convenience over other “greener” choices. One example that seems to impact my points the most is single-serving foods that come in individual wrappers. In particular, protein/energy bars. I live a pretty active lifestyle and have a class schedule that doesn’t always afford me a leisurely meal. Because of this, I grab a protein or energy bar and throw in my bag on the way out the door. This is one lifestyle choice that may not be the most environmentally-friendly but it allows me to get through a hectic class and workout schedule providing the sustenance I need. I believe in the ability to improve continually, especially with green habits, but this may stay on my list of not-so-green practices. While the wrappers are a waste, it is minimal and hopefully I can do other things to offset them.

May 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Lessons from a Prospie

by Chase Eck

It was Sunday.  I had just picked up a prospie (prospective student for those not in the know) and we were headed out to lunch.  I suggested a couple places downtown and she picked Five Guys. My mouth watering in anticipation of the juicy goodness that is a Five Guys burger, I walked eagerly there.  I went up to the counter and ordered a cheeseburger and a water…and then it hit me: that burger would be wrapped in foil and then put into a paper bag and my water? It came in a plastic cup. Three wasted single-use items, three points.  I sat down glum at the sudden increase in my point total for the day. As lunch went on I ended up talking to the prospie about student groups and BaglessNU. I told her about the game and she seemed pretty interested.  Discussion about the game and my recent strategic misstep led to a broader conversation about sustainability and why exactly I was doing this.  In fact, I had just the type of conversation that we hoped to spark when the idea of the game was introduced. 

As I look back on Sunday I think about it as a successful day.  Sure, I got three points and, more importantly, used up three single-use items, but I got the chance to talk to someone and share with them the real issue.  While playing and designing this game I’ve found that it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of victory or the details of the rules and lose sight of why we’re actually doing this. The real purpose of this game is not to win but to raise awareness of the unnecessary waste that we produce through single use items and hopefully encourage more people to stop using single-use items. Even though I have failed to completely avoid single use items I can console myself with the hope that just by participating I am helping to bring about a broader awareness of the need to be sustainable because no matter how few points I get I can’t do it alone.

April 19, 2011 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

Celebrating Earth Week at Northwestern

Its almost here! As some of you may know, next Friday, a week from today, is Earth Day. Leading up to Friday, we encourage all of you BaglessNU readers to celebrate Earth Week with us! If you’ve been reading the blog and wanted to learn more about the campaign or just want to do more to become more sustainable… now is the time!

Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to celebrate Earth Week:

  1. Bring a reusable bag with you and skip the plastic (or paper for that matter).
  2. Decline a paper cup at Norbucks and use a reusable one instead.
  3. Take on the No Impact Challenge for one week.
  4. Be a guest blogger! (email baglessnu@gmail.com with a short bio and photo to sign up)
  5. Sport a “Go Bagless” pin — you can pick one up from Liz Derby or at a BaglessNU event.
  6. Go to the free screening of Bag It on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm in Harris 107. RSVP on Facebook!
  7. Follow BaglessNU on twitter and tweet about going green @BaglessNU using #NoImpactNU.
  8. “Like” BaglessNU on Facebook and share your favorite No Impact Challenge blog post with your friends.
  9. Check out Mount Trashmore on Friday, April 22 from 11-3pm on Sheridan Road (in front of Lunt Hall) to see how much trash NU creates in one day.
  10. Attend a weekly meeting of one of NU’s environmental groups! (The Policy Center for Energy and the Environment (BaglessNU) meets Wednesdays at 6:30pm in University 318, SEED meets on Tuesdays at 9pm in the Arch Room in Norris, ESW meets on Tuesdays at 8pm in Ford, ECO meets in the lobby of Hillel at 1 pm on Sundays)
Happy Earth Week! Go green!

April 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Confessions: Gum is my vice.

My name is Zach and these are the confessions of a consumer.

When the No Impact Challenge began, I was fine with sparing a point here or there without much thought. But, by the end of the day, I usually had a lot of points. It was always a surprise to me when I ended the day with 4 or 5. I don’t know why, but I thought I had been doing a good job. I was wrong.

For the past two days, I’ve come close to sealing the deal for my first NO IMPACT day. Both days I have failed.

I can smell victory in the air today, though. At lunch, I almost took a napkin but recoiled my hand with a triumphant smile at the last moment, remembering my goal to have no impact.

I may or may not have eaten my French fries with a fork to avoid needing a napkin for my greasy fingers. People may or may not have judged me. But I feel like I’m on top of the world.

Not really. But it’s nice to know that I’m making progress.

I’ve finally learned the tricks of the trade. And maybe, when somebody else sees me putting my Starbucks coffee in my own mug and asking the barista to put my scone in a Tupperware, they’ll catch on. Or at least care enough to ask what I’m doing. That’s what I hope for. I’m learning to live more sustainably and I think my competitors in the challenge and I can lead by example.

It’s quite possible to significantly cut down my impact. But I still struggle. A lot. I like chewing gum. What can I say? I won’t apologize. But I will be shamed.

Can I have no impact? Maybe on some days. I’ll get back to you. Perhaps I should try making my own gum. Let me know if you have a recipe.

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm 1 comment

Say hello to my little friend, the Tupperware.

by Alicia White

Since starting the No Impact Challenge, I have cringed at plastic water bottles, shunned paper napkins, and cowered from paper coffee cups. My backpack is a little fatter now, as it always has my thermos, my Sigg water bottle, a Tupperware, and a cloth napkin. For the most part, these changes in my lifestyle have been fairly easy, since I already used a thermos, water bottle, and Tupperware. Other things, however, have required a little more thought, such as last week, when it was my turn to cook dinner. Conscious of my new involvement in the No Impact Challenge, I planned out exactly what I would get at Whole Food to make sure that I would be able to get it all without using plastic produce bags. As I went down my list, all was well, until I got to the chicken. How was I supposed to buy chicken without any plastic packaging?? I’d only ever seen it sold on either Styrofoam plates or wrapped in paper and plastic. It was only the third day of the Challenge, and it seemed like I was destined for defeat. But I refused to give in to the nefarious Styrofoam tray. I pulled out my secret weapon from the cabinet: a large, red Tupperware. If not using disposable packaging meant that I was going to be the weirdo bringing her own container to the grocery store, then so be it. I was not about to let a measly piece of Styrofoam ruin my disposable-free day.

Excited, but a little apprehensive, I approached the meat counter with my trusty red Tupperware in hand. I asked the man behind the counter if I could get 1.75 pounds of chicken in my own container…dun dun dun…and he said, “Of course!”

Success! I had conquered the evil Styrofoam tray! Sure, I might have gotten a few weird looks in the process, but it felt awesome. By refusing to accept the conventional corporate packaging, I had stood up for my rights as a conscious consumer. Even though I had only saved one piece of Styrofoam, I felt empowered because I was able to make a deliberate choice. My short trip to the grocery store had taught me an important lesson: being the weird hippie is actually pretty fun.

April 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm 2 comments

Trying to enjoy life to the fullest without creating waste; I argue that its impossible

by Andy Hobaugh

We are approaching the end of the second week of Northwestern’s spring quarter. Still, I am getting over what might have been the most relaxing and exciting spring break ever. After returning from Miami, Florida two weeks ago I have found it extremely difficult to readjust to the unpleasant Chicago weather and motivate myself to go to class. I just want to go back to the wonderful eighty-five degree weather on the beaches of South Beach or the golf courses of Boca. Alas, I can not do that. I must, instead, be responsible. Have I been? Absolutely not. What does this mean with regards to the No Impact Challenge? It means that I am losing big time…I think.

On the first day of the No Impact Challenge–Friday April 1–I was invited to go see the Cubs play on opening day at Wrigley Field. Despite the rain and sub-forty degree temperatures, I was pumped! Visions of hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and of course baseball danced in my head. The one thing that hadn’t crossed my mind was the waste sporting events must generate. I didn’t hold back, though. I bought two plastic bags containing peanuts. I had two hot dogs. These come covered in a foil-paper wrapper and are placed in a cardboard box for one’s carrying convenience. Of course to wash all of this down I had an ice cold Pepsi, which came served in a plastic cup. The waste just piled up.  There is no recycling; its all just picked up and thrown away. Somewhere in the world I can envision a landfill full of Cubs’ souvenir cups.

Imagine all of the people who go to sporting events buy hot dogs, nachos, beer, peanuts, and pop corn. The trash must just pile up. When I was in Miami I attended a Heat game at the American Airlines Arena. The stadium is LEED certified, there are plenty of recycling bins, but most of the items purchased by fans are not recyclable. Even if items are recycled–i.e. plastic cups–they are most likely one use items that could have been avoided in an ideal world. People could have just brought their own drink to the game, right? Wrong. Even though it is becoming more normal to carry around a reusable water bottle or mug these items are not allowed into the friendly confines of Wrigley Field or the “sustainable” confines of the American Airlines Arena. During the Heat game, there was an announcement about recycling. This is a good educational tool, but it does nothing when people have to take a new cup every time they purchase a drink.

In the immediate future, I do not see a solution to this problem. Professional entertainment, be it sporting events or movies, continues to be a wasteful  past time. Sport teams do not want fans bringing their own reusable water bottles to the games because there is no way of telling whats inside. Most movie theaters are like that too. However, it is much easier to get into a theater with a water bottle because there is no pesky security; good luck getting into a Heat game with one. If people want to avoid being wasteful at a sporting event or at a movie theater, then the best solution is to not buy anything. In my opinion thats impossible. When I go to a movie I am probably going to get popcorn and/or Raisenettes. When I go to a ball game I can’t help but buy peanuts and hot dogs. What everyone can do, however, is consciously cut down their waste at either of these types of events. You can stop taking napkins. In the bathrooms you can pass on the paper towels; instead, use a hand dryer or even your pants. Don’t take a cardboard box to carry food items. Everyone has two hands and multiple pockets. Use them. Just don’t stuff your pockets with ketchup and mustard packets; use the communal dispensers!

I am not going to eliminate all of my waste during this challenge. I know that there are things I will not be able to forgo; but I have become more aware of what I am contributing to the waste cycle. The problem is, when I get a chance to take a day off and go to a Cubs game, I usually do. I skipped class on Tuesday to attend my second Cubs game of the season. This time I only had one hotdog with no packets of mustard, rather I went to the communal mustard dispenser. I did accumulate plenty of points when it was all said and done. Fortunately, I am aware of what waste I did cause…and I am not proud of it

April 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm 2 comments

In the Gutter

by Alix Hallen

As soon as the No Impact Challenge began, I developed a terrible cold. It was almost as if the universe was telling me that I would need to produce as much waste i.e. tissues as possible. I am basically cold free and decided I wanted to take a trip outside my apartment and go to CVS.

Now, I love CVS and have a very hard time resisting the aisles of makeup and other beauty products that beckon to me to purchase them. But, I was on a mission for new toothbrushes so I put my blinders on and headed straight for the oral hygiene aisle. As I gathered up my purchases, I went over to the self check out. As I paid for my items, my first instinct was to put my few purchases in a plastic bag and head out. It was a force of habit, but instead I thought twice and walked out of the store toothbrushes in hand.

On my way home, I thought about how awesome it was that I avoided gaining another point and that I may actually have a shot at winning the No Impact Challenge (well probably not, but a girl can dream). I wasn’t

Poor turtle eating a plastic bag for lunch... (photo found on treehugger.com)

thinking, however, about all of the other, more important things I prevented by not taking the bag. I wasn’t thinking about the ocean that I kept a little bit cleaner or the animal I kept a little bit healthier by not taking this plastic bag. As I made my way home, I took the same route I normally take, but this time I stopped in my tracks. The storm drain I normally pass was covered by a plastic bag. The only thing I could think about for the rest of my way was, how that could have been my plastic bag.

April 7, 2011 at 6:57 am 2 comments

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