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Mariel completed the AWAY Project in January. Check out her reflection and what she did from there below! 

My experience with the AWAY Project led me to the awesomeness of 1to1 (Amanda presented the project in my environmental science class), but it also made me realize something gross: I produce a lot of trash. After I collected a week’s worth of plastic sandwich bags in my tote, I suddenly became aware that I had been throwing away about that much trash every week of my life. Multiply my seemingly negligible contribution to the Miramar Landfill by 18 years and suddenly the amount of trash I produce seems a little more significant.

When I take into account the 3.2 million other people in San Diego County, all of which produce trash, I can see that something like the AWAY Project can have a lasting impact on the planet. Little changes make big changes possible, and because Miramar is scheduled to close within 10 years, we need as many little changes in waste production as possible! That’s where my AWAY bag came in handy–it made me conscious of how many unnecessary items I get rid of and how easy it would be to modify my everyday habits. Little changes matter! I invested in a massive set of reusable plastic containers for lunch at the office and convinced my family to donate our old sporting goods instead of trashing them, both of which were incredibly easy.

Of course, we are all far from perfect, but the little changes we make matter. Working at 1to1 has positively impacted my life in countless ways, but since the AWAY Project, I have been conscious of what I get rid of. Such a simple concept, yet for some reason I never bothered to think about what happens to my trash when I put the black bin out to the curb. 

The AWAY Project rocks! It spurred me to think of myself as an environmentalist and began my fantastic experience with 1to1, which carried into summer and hopefully will continue in the future. It’s funny to think that something as random as carrying around a recycled vinyl bag full of trash can have such a huge impact on a person’s life.