Woot woot! Check out Laurie’s final reaction to completing the #AWAYProject last week. 

Name & Grade
Laurie. Masters student in International Project Management!

How full is the bag?
30% full!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you about The AWAY Project?
10 (last day woohooh!!)

What’s in your bag?
I added a used envelope and another paper towels (I know, I used paper towels everyday!).

Can you share what you thought about Friday and the week?

Last day of the AWAY experiment!

This afternoon, we went back to King Chavez High School to do the… “dissection” process of the AWAY bags with the students!

To give you an overview of the process, just imagine you’re spreading your trash on a table. Yep- that’s exactly how it was! We sat in groups of four to five people and dumped all the contents of our bag out. And guess what garbage came out to be the most recurrent? Water bottles, plastic bags, and chip bags! Are you surprised?

By doing this, we could get a better understanding of our consumption habits and trash routine. It actually helped us find solutions, too. Just to name a few of them:

– Use reusable water! Yes, you would save a great amount of money instead of buying so many disposable bottles every week.

– Use canvas bags! They are cheap, durable, and can be found everywhere.

– Eat less junk food! Right, it can seem hard for some, but once again just think of your health, the environment, and of your wallet!

That was also the great occasion to remind students of the basic recycling rules! And if you’ve also forgot about this, don’t panic! Just follow this link or check out your local municipality recycling rules.

We ended the experiment with a really fun activity: we made bottle bricks! I know it sounds weird to have both words “bottle” and “brick” in the same noun, but bottle bricks are one solution to a part of our trash issues.

Here’s how we did:

We filled in bottles with trash such as plastic bags, cookie bags, and chip bags… (nothing recyclable) until there was no more air left in the bottles. We really needed to compact each item as much as we could, which requires lots of muscles! But the students were great at this. At the end, we got bottle bricks that can be used to build benches or walls in  buildings… how cool, huh?

So yes! This is our solution for you to eat a bag of cookies without feeling guilty! Your bag can be reused for construction!!

My general impression about the AWAY Project:

As a whole, it makes you feel a bit weird when you realize you are actually carrying your trash with you. Your bag is here to always remind you of the trash you throw away!

Also it makes you wonder if you really want to consume some products. You would probably think: “Wait, the packaging is a bit huge, do you want to carry that with you the whole week? No! So don’t buy it!”

Oh, and it’s needless to say that the trash I carried with me is just a small share of what I actually threw away during the whole week. I ate a couple of meals out of disposable boxes, used tons of tissues (yes, even in San Diego, you can catch a cold), dried my hands with some paper towels, cooked a can of chickpeas… Well you got the main point. But, in fact, that’s another part of the AWAY Project that becomes very interesting. In addition to having my trash with me all the time, I had to take extra time to become more aware of what I usually throw away even though it wasn’t acceptable waste to go in my bag.

At the beginning of the week, I was convinced I would barely put anything in the bag and see, I was totally wrong! I throw several things away every day, which ends up being many in a month!

I would recommend this experiment to anybody curious enough about your trash routine, but also to people who, like me, are think they’re rock star environmentalists and who do not dispose a lot of garbage. Do it!