The Chronicles of a Wasteful College Student: Redemption 101

Hello all, if you have read my earlier article “The Chronicles of a Wasteful College Student” you would've already seen my struggle with waste and single-use products. As you all know, I was shocked and disgusted to see how much my actions were polluting our planet, and because of that, I set out on a journey these past 5 days to live as waste-free as possible when it comes to eating.


Ippolito International

How To Start

To begin my waste free journey I had to acquire a few things to make it all possible:

  1. Glass Jars

  2. Tin to go box

  3. Cloth Napkin

  4. Glass containers (think Tupperware)


Things that I already owned that were also necessary for these 5 days

  1. Metal straws

  2. Reusable grocery bags

  3. Travel mug

  4. Utensils  

  5. Plates

  6. Reusable coffee filter


I was able to buy many of these items at Harmon's and online (tins are hard to find), all while using recyclable packaging, and refusing plastic/paper bags for reusable ones. It’s possible guys!


Take Care of Texas

Five Days Waste Free

Day One

Throughout the first day, I found it was actually quite easy to refuse single-use items with the help of everything I had bought. The travel mug, metal straw, and tin to go box were my saving grace throughout the day to allow all of my meals to be waste-free.


Waste Created: 0 products


Day Two

I found day two to be a little harder than I expected, especially after the first day. Throughout the beginning of day 2, I was doing great, but the Utah vs Oregon game made it impossible to come out waste-free. Not being allowed to take any food, or drink (other than a factory sealed water bottle) threw a wrench in my plans, and forced me to buy a drink in a styrofoam cup. So I may not have made the entire day waste free, but at least I only used one thing.


Waste Created: 1 product


Day Three

Day Three went significantly better than the day before, probably because there isn’t anything that I can do on a Sunday in Utah that creates waste. Most of the day was spend studying with my trusty travel mug full of coffee.


Waste Created: Still 1 product


Day Four

The dreaded Monday, a day for donuts and Mochas. I found so many things tempting, but sadly, most all of these came with unnecessary packaging and plastic. Though I was able to get a donut for my tin (I call that a win), I did though however run into a problem when it came to lunch. Nestled right in my lovely salad was a little plastic container of dressing ready to ruin my day. Single Use Plastics: 1 Tristyn: 0.


Waste Created: 2 products


Day 5

The end of the road is near. Day five here we are. I started out my day by savoring my coffee in its mug, and ignoring homework while doing so. Lunch was quite easy now, as I had gotten used to grabbing my tin and mug to bring with me to the dining hall. Dinner with friends was a little harder to manage, but my trusty metal straw and travel napkin were by my side to see me through to the end of my 5 days waste free.


Waste Created: 2 products


Electronics Reuse Conference

The Results

While I wasn’t entirely waste free throughout the week, I drastically reduced my impact on our planet from dozens of products a week, to just two. What's important to remember, is that it's not an overnight conversion. I didn't wake up one day thinking that I could be a hippie goddess with no trash. Being waste-free or even just more sustainable is definitely a slow climb. From food to makeup, there’s always a way to better yourself and produce less waste to lessen our impact on the planet, just one single use plastic at a time. So get out there, and save the world (one metal reusable straw at a time).