Monday, April 30, 2007

Thank you professor Verges

I am very happy that professor Verges included in this class Garbage Land. It definitely made the class even more interesting. Personally, I learned a lot. I changed the way I was recycling and even the way I was buying! To change a way of thinking about something is something that a very few classes can achieve. I want to thank professor Verges for everything she taught us. She can be sure that we all learned a lot from her and changed a lot of bad habits that we had. Finally, I want to say that the involvement with the community was also great! Since I am from a different country and have been here for less than a year, I didn’t have the opportunity to do it without this class. Thank you very much professor Verges for everything you did for us during this semester! I hope we all keep in touch with this blog!

The story... :)

Thanks, Michelle! So the story is, my condominium complex doesn't offer recycling services, but we do have a big dumpster to put our trash in. I started recycling earlier in the semester, and convinced the guys who live in the unit below me (also college students) to do it, too. We have to pack up our cars and drive it down the road to a recycling center every once in a while. Well, we'd collected a formidable collection of recyclables, which we were beginning to feel pretty proud of. As I told Michelle, last weekend there were some people renting the condo next door to mine, who were in town for the Notre Dame spring Blue/Gold football game. On Sunday morning I went outside to go for a run, and the renters were packing up and leaving, and the man said, "Excuse me, miss, I just wanted to tell you that we threw your trash away for you. You know, those boxes that were sitting there..." I couldn't believe it! What a moron! I did go get my makeshift recycling bin, full of stereotypical college-age recyclables, out of the dumpster, as they stood there and watched in disbelief.

I also found it quite interesting that they raided the boys' recycling bins as well. Amazingly enough, however, as the other pictures show, they seemed to realize that the newspapers were recyclable, so they left those, but they BAGGED and THREW AWAY all their other stuff (We got that out of the dumpster, too.) But can you believe it?! People we didn't even know! Renters for the weekend! I find it ironic that they clearly care enough about "garbage" to know that it looks distasteful, and want to keep the environment clean. And they didn't like the look of our trash out on our porches, to the point that they took it upon themselves to dispose of it. Yet when it comes to their recycling knowledge, out of all of our stuff, the only thing that they visually recognized as recyling was newspaper...even though all the rest of the stuff was tossed in the same boxes as the newspaper (quite disgusting too, i might add). So they went through it, stole all of our recycles, and threw them in the dumpster. Amazing. Anyway, proves my personal take-home message from Royte's book--the public NEEDS to be better educated. If they were, obviously the motivation is there to keep the environment clean...they just need to be better informed of their options.

p.s. that exam was soo hard!! eek! have a great summer, everyone!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Molly's Recyclables

Originally uploaded by mverges.
I love this photo because not only does it show Molly's commitment to recycle, it beautifully reveals the diet of a college student! :0)

Molly sent me a couple more photos to share with you (just click on this flickr photo).

And she has a great story to tell you about her recyclables; I'll let her tell you the story!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Most Wicked of All Resins...

After reading the chapter in Royte's book about plastic recycling, along with Jennifer's reply to my "yogurt lid" post, I begin to wonder what types of plastic were being used to manufacture the majority of the plastic products I used in my house. Mainly, I wanted to know more about what sorts of items were made out of the various types of plastic (#'s 1-7) and I also wanted to see if any of the manufacturers had any misleading labels on their un-recyclable products. So thus I kept an eye out for various plastics around my house and workplace for a few weeks in order to see what I could find out. Here's a list of the various sorts of information I collected:
1- Here I found pretty much any botttled water, juice, or soda (water: sam's choice, dasani, kroger, enon springs, ice mountain, aquafina, nestle pure life, fiji, Juice/tea: minute maid, lipton iced tea, Soda: sunkist, sprite, fanta, coke, sierra mist, gatorade, pepsi) and also any sort of common household cleaners (orange glo, windex, lysol) and a few other various food containers (heinz ketchup)
2- kroger grocery sacks, milk jugs, kroger yogurt smoothie, any anti-bac hand wipes container, cacique-drink up- Yonique yogurt, baby powder, 7-11 slurpee cup, the actual recycling bins and most trash cans themselves, lotion, coffee creamers, shampoo and conditioner bottles
3- I couldn't find any!
4- elmer's glue bottle
5- subway cup, food storage containers, ziploc microwave bowls, rubbermaid
6- dannon activia yogurt, client's medicine cups, 7-11 super big gulp cup, some trash cans, styrafoam cups, wendy's cup, plastic utensils,
7- "white out" correction tape, welch's orange pineapple juice bottle

I found absolutely nothing at all on many various wrappers, most of them were the snack sized food portions (any bread, candy in general, cheeses, granola bars, little debbie/hostess )

Then, after reading some of the non-conventional messages on various packages, I began to wonder what other sorts of interesting labels I would encounter on products outside the realms of plastic. The messages varied quite a bit from some that were very environmentally friendly, to some that were not so friendly. Here is a list of some of my more intriguiging "finds" on the "non-plastic" packages:
◦ Glade air freshener spray: "you can recycle this steel container in an increasing number of communities. Call 800-558-5252 for recycling information. It also had "contains no CFCs which deplete the ozone layer"
◦ Air Wick: "contains no CFCs which deplete the ozone layer" and "please recycle when empty"
◦ Pringles: "canister contains at least 50% recycled material, 15% post-consumer content. For more info call 1-800-568-4035"
◦ Eclipse gum: read "do your part" next to a little symbol of a stick figure throwing away trash into a canister
◦ Sam's choice root beer can "recyclable aluminum container if facilities exist in your area
◦ Kroger mac and cheese box: "carton made from 100% recycled paperboard, minimum 35% post-consumer content"
◦ Papa john's pizza box: "corrugated recycles"
◦ Comet: "package contains at least 75% recycled material(minimum 50% post-consumer), the surfactants in this product are biodegradable, contains no phosphate"

Lastly, I just wanted to list this website:

It is a concise, informative (and visually-pleasing) website mainly about recycling plastic. I liked it a lot because it isn't overwhelming with too much information and gets to the point quickly.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Yet another amazing Amanda Serenevy experience...

For part of my service-learning credit, I was given the opportunity to try out some of Amanda Serenevy's amazing math challenges with the children I nanny for. Basically it was a wonderful/fun activity to teach addition and subtraction. I babysit for an 8-year old boy, a 5-year old girl, and a 2-year old boy, and all three have been diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder. While these are without question the brightest, most creative, and most intriguing kids I have ever worked with, homework and schoolwork is always a serious issue for the older two. The youngest is slightly developmentally delayed, so going into Amanda's activity, I knew he wasn't ready to grasp the concept, but there was no doubt that he would want to participate with his brother and sister.

Per Amanda's direction, I was to tape several sheets of paper to the floor, each one with a number on it. Then I taped them to the floor in the proper, number line order. Then I would tell the kids to start on 0, and say, for example, "2"-which would prompt them to go stand on the number 2, and continue, "+4=", and the kids would walk 4 spaces forward, and look at the number on the sheet they were standing on, and yell out the answer. I then introduced subtraction and also incorporated negative numbers, which even the 8-year old hadn't confronted in school yet. I was nervous to see how they'd do, based on our usual experience with academically-based material, and the attention it demands. But the kids absolutely loved this!! We did it for about 35 minutes. And for each correct answer they got, I gave them an M&M. So the activity itself was intrinsically reinforcing, and they loved being able to move around, and the M&M's provided an added form of motivation. They started building mazes with the numbers, and both the 5-year old and the 8-year old gained proficiency in addition, subtraction, AND negative numbers!! It was so amazing! While the 2-year old didn't understand the concept, he stayed active the entire time, and jumped around on the numbers, and loved the treats, too!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Amanda! It was so fantastic to see kids who typically struggle so much genuinely love an academically-based activity as much as they did this. If you babysit, you should totally try this!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Yesterday I volunteered at the library to help tutor some young ones. I wanted to share my experience with you. Perhaps this will help motivate some of you to keep being involved. I know it did me!

A young boy comes to mind when I think about yesterday's tutoring. He was in seventh grade trying his hardest to understand algebra. He was working on the not so fun problems where you have to solve for x. At first I had to really think back on how to deal with these type of problems. I'm embarassed to say I had forgotten. There were also FRACTIONS in these problems that had completely scared me. However, I figured we would both suffer together because I truly wanted him to go home at the end of the day feeling confident about these problems. So, I started to read a little of his book and I looked at some practice problems and all of a sudden it came to me. I knew how to do these!!!

Now it was a matter of me being able to explain the steps and teach it in a way that would "connect" with him. By golly, this kid was as quick as a whip. He caught on so very fast to what I was saying. He made occasional mistakes and I would correct him. At the end of the tutoring he asked Amanda to give him any problem to solve. I was thinking, "Oh dear, Any?" I was hoping Amanda would be easy on him but she gave him a challenging question and he solved it with no problem. I was so proud of him and I could tell that she was also.

I was so encouraged by this. There are so many young children out there that are struggling with math and their parents aren't capable of helping because they might not have had much education. If we all give just a little bit of our time, it will touch many lives. I encourage my classmates to continue to reach out to others. The reward is priceless...

Was it worth it?!?!

One of Royte's lines in our recent reading that struck me was: “It isn’t worth it, they said, to get worked up over paper versus plastic at the grocery store.” After this statement I responded pretty defensively, because I thought, wait we just had a whole BagFest over plastic bags and now they, the UCS, say it is not worth it to think about these “unimportant decisions.”

It raised a lot of questions for me, as far as the value, impact, and role of our BagFest. At this point I began to smile, I thought of the 25+ people that I spoke to while counting their bags. I thought of our impact, or footprint, that we made that day. I thought of all the things we learned and had fun with in class. And I think one of the best things was the relationships I built throughout this whole project. It was not about collecting 72,571 bags (that was awesome, though), but it was about the statement, the opportunity, the awareness, and the knowledge that came from BagFest.

Without BagFest in our community, who would have thought that in one day we could collect what Wal-Mart gathers in a month? If BagFest never would have happened, who would have believed that there is an importance in what we do as a community with plastic bags? Sure we all might only have 50 bags, but put them together and look at what our community has created. We recycled those bags that would normally either be thrown away or stuffed away. The community I think gained a lot of knowledge from this opportunity. It was not about collecting the bags, but rather taking the time to expand our knowledge of resources that are just waiting for the community. It was amazing and encouraging to see so many young children involved in this event. Also it was surprising how many people from all around the community cared.

Overall, I saw this event as bringing awareness to the community of the difference we can make when we all pull together, and what an impact that makes! I grew a lot through this experience. I found myself leading, teaching, and talking with people I never thought I would have an opportunity to. The relationships I built with my classmates were encouraging, motivating, and unique, because we were all going through an experience together. I do not think I have ever been involved in any other school activity that I felt so proud of and so self-rewarded by. So, is it worth it to get worked up over paper or plastic (or cloth)? I would say most definitely!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Blog ( Personal Reflection)

When we were given this assignment for the first time, I felt sick in my stomach. The idea of writing my views did not sit very well in my mind. This was horifying for me to share what I was thinking about and give my personal opinions was not my ideal way of studying Statistics. To me numbers, large formulas, and extra computation that no any other class wanted to do them was going to be dumped on us. That was the ideal way of studying Stat. The blog slowly became more fun and informative and suprising enough to me, it became one of the things Iwould look forward to look and write something in it.There was a lot of good ideas that were shared in the blog that before this assignment, I would not find it possible that the blog could provide. There is something empowering about sharing my own ideas that I have just discovered in this class. By no means I do mean that I had the best views, however, I mean that it is a good feeling to share thoughts and ideas. I GENERALLY ENJOYED THIS BLOG !!!! THANKS AND GOD BLESS.

Goodbye Plastic Bottle, Hello SIGG

As part of the requirements for my college degree, I had to enroll in a course on health & fitness. I was shocked to learn that adults should drink 3 liters of water daily. That's basically a gallon of water every day. My jaw dropped in astonishment.

Oh my Lord, I thought. If I drink 3L of water everyday, I'm going to spend most of my day in the bathroom. Good grief.

But, I reasoned, this is good for my health. So I decided to drink more water, that is, 3L of water each day. And yes, I spent more quality time in the bathroom! But my body adapted to this change, and now, it's a daily habit. My body actually feels deprived whenever I don't drink my usual 3L of water.

Anyway, my jaw recently dropped on another occassion. This time, it was at BagFest. I was gleefully following along to Elizabeth Royte's talk, when suddenly she raised a plastic bottle to make a point about the dangers of plastics. Now, this was no ordinary plastic bottle: It was MY plastic bottle she was publicly condemning! Oh, for the I embrace public shame is beyond me. I think I actually cowered when I saw that bottle raised in contempt.

But point well taken. As I recently learned, disposing plastic bottles is a dirty business. Toxins and dioxins are released when incinerated, so torching them is out of the question. In landfills, plastics can last for thousands of years, leaching toxins as they disintegrate. (Ok, that's not a good solution.) And recycling plastics creates poorer-quality plastics. (Great, we're three for three here. Folks, that's a strike-out!)

As Tony asked, "What on Earth are we to do?"

For me, the answer was simple: Stop using plastic bottles. So now I'm the happy owner of this SIGG bottle. It's a 1L bottle made from aluminum, which I purchased from I also got a 1/2 L SIGG bottle for easy travel.

So, goodbye plastic water bottle. Hello SIGG! :0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Water Issues

First off, I would like to admit that I have been a little negligent about actually checking the blog, but boy, look what I was missing! I am a bit of a novice when it comes to blogging (case in point: this is really my first, err, second time), so I hope that you all will forgive me. After perusing the various postings I was astounded by the revealings of my peers, and I have come to the realization that this particular blog is quite resourceful; when it comes to environmental issues, consider me sold.

Recently, I had the opportunity to submit a research paper regarding the issue of water diversions out of the Great Lakes basin. It seems that as denizens of this region, not many people (myself included), were really inlcined to know much about the Lakes, so I decided to do a little bit of investigating. After reviewing some scientific literature, the inferences that I was able to procure were quite alarming. In lieu of trying to summarize all of my findings, I would definitely encourage you to do a little bit of surfing around. A great website for learning more about diversions and the immense capabilites that the Great Lakes system provides is available at the following:

The information was compiled by the Great Lakes Water Institute and I found it to be very insightful.

To tie this all back to Royte and sustainability, one very interesting fact that I was able to glean from my research deals with bottled water. Due to the seemingly vast amount of fresh water right next door and looming concerns over the issues related to water scarcity, some proponents of diversions see it as an opportunity to exploit the water and sell it as a commodity; even ship it overseas. Fortunately, there is some legislation to protect this from happening, but loop-holes do indeed exist.

According to some information from the GLWI website, "The 2005 Annex Implementing Agreements regulate new diversions and exports of water out of the basin in pipelines, canals, and containers larger than 5.7 gallons." Current legislation does not, however, contain a mandate on shipping water out of the basin in smaller containers, and the implications of such could be disastrous for our region. What we're talking about is the complete loss of habitat as the lake levels decline. This could ,in turn, play host to a number of malignant scenarios, any of which we would not wish to come to fruition.

To make matters worse, the U.S. alone has witnessed a marked rise in the consumption of bottled water. The GLWI provides that, "Americans drank 6.8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2004, compared to 15.3 billion gallons of soda. The Beverage Marketing Corps. predicts that bottled water will soon be Americans 2nd most popular beverage (soft drinks rank 1st)." The fact that the water is "bottled" only confounds our current plastic footprint. What on Earth are we to do?

Co-op America

While searching on the Internet for a new credit card that is socially conscious and not issued by Citibank, Chase, or some other mega corporation, I stumbled across this website. It has some interesting short articles on many topics that we've discussed on the blog such as biodiesel and composting. Here is the link if you're interested:

Twinkies, Carrots, and the Farm Bill

While eating lunch, I read this article in the New York Times (click here for a pdf copy). I didn't know how important the Farm Bill is to us. As the author, Michael Pollan, suggests, this bill should really be called a "food" bill because it affects every American.

So read all about it for yourself. And feel free to post your thoughts about this issue on the blog.

Paper Increase Passed to Us

This morning, I received a "FYI" email noting that Office Max has received an increase in the cost of paper from manufacturers (i.e., Boise, Domtar, and International Paper). As a result, this price increase will be passed onto consumers effective May 3rd. Lucky us!

Here are some highlights I gathered from reading the manufacturers' letters:
  • There is a US $60/ton paper increase on copy paper
  • This increase will raise prices to $1,020/ton
  • Laser paper printing will increase 5.35%
  • Inkjet paper printing will incrase 5.55%
  • Printing on 30% recycled paper will increase 7.8%

Why the price increase?

According to Domtar Co., this increase is due to tight markets in the U.S. and to price increases already implemented in Europe.

So, what should we do?

According to Tom Westerhof, Staff Member of Purchasing and Contracts, we should, "please keep this increase in mind when reviewing your paper needs for the near future." In other words, it's time we conserve paper, too.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Cost of Celebrating Christmas: American style

As I began reading chapter 12 (It's Coming on Christmas) of Elizabeth Royte's book "Garbage Land", I was shocked by the number of holiday catalogs that hit our mailboxes in 2001-a whopping 17 billion or 59/person!! I receive approx. 2-3 catalogs per day (not including the holiday season) and it makes me crazy! I've decided that I must be on every mailing list that exists because it takes me about 30 minutes/night to sort through my mail trying to decide what to keep, recycle, tear-up or just throw in the fireplace.

Having already established my own set of issues about how commercialized the holidays have become, I became curious about how much we Americans were really spending during the holidays. According to the U. S. Census, Americans mail 1.9 billion cards to family & friends every year and receives 20 billion letters, packages, and cards between Thanksgiving and Christmas (USPS). In December 2004, we spent $31.9 billion at retail stores and in 2002 we cut down 20.8 million Christmas trees! So, who's birthday is it anyway?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


This class has challenged me to think of alternatives for creating a more environmentally conscious world. I have now started using the reusable bags at the grocery store. I must admit it has been a challenge to remember to bring the bags but as Michelle suggested, I just add a reminder on my grocery list to bring them. I have now also started recycling my newspapers, aluminum cans and plastics such as milk containers, yogurt containers, etc. It does take a little bit of an effort to rinse the containers out and choose which bin to throw them in. However, I am certain that it will pay off in the end. I may not see the results right away if ever in my lifetime. Just knowing I am being thoughtful of others future makes me humble. I feel an obligation now to be responsible for what is mine. This includes where my stuff is disposed. This class has truly opened my eyes to see on a much larger scale how my actions affect others. It certainly has been an experience I will not forget.

This Book is Not a Tree

That's the title of the first chapter in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by McDonough and Braungart (2002). Instead of using paper to print their book, the authors used a polymer film. As a result, this book is not only readable, it's waterproof, too!

Anyway, I'm currently reading this book. It's a fascinating read, though you should be warned, it's not a "light" read. (In other words, this book is not like reading your favorite Cosmo magazine.)

I like this book because it explains the role of technology and the importance of product design on the myriad of artifacts we can't seem to live without. And it offers a hopeful, rather than a grim message, which I find refreshing.

This book clearly demonstrates an alternative printing method for the book publishing world. As Amy lamented in a recent comment, " seems that authors really are at loggerheads when it comes to [this] issue." Yet, this need not be the case. Cradle to Cradle really does offer innovative alternatives to reconciling these environmental and economic dilemmas.

Case in point: gdiapers.

Gdiapers is a company that offers an alternative to the cloth vs. disposable diaper issue. And it's the first company to receive a Cradle to Cradle certification for their product. (To see other companies with the Cradle to Cradle certificate, click here.)

Instead of continuing the same, tired debate (cloth vs. disposable), gdiapers gives us a third option: flushable diapers.

Skeptical? Read more about their product here.

I'm impressed by the fact that gdiapers are compostable (only the "wet" diapers, poo poo not allowed in the compost pile).

Anyway, knowing this information does give me hope. (And if I ever become a parent, I'll buy my diapers from this company.)

It also reminds me of our project. The media have done a fantastic job raising the "paper vs. plastic" issue. But they fail to discuss a third option: cloth bags. It's as though we only have two options, with no clear solutions. Yet, if you consider the third option, that's when the glimmer of hope arises. Too bad the media won't air my response when I've been asked this question.

Paper Recycling

So way, way, way back in the 6th grade, our class did a recycling project where we crafted our own "homemade recycled paper". I remembered it being relatively easy to do, not too messy, inexpensive, and most importantly- fun! Knowing that many people in our class have kids, I thought it would be neat if I could find and post directions on how to do this. I did a few searches and found this great instructional video on youtube.
DIY Paper Recycling:

Also, I found this other really interesting news clip about a new material, made from recycled paper, that is being used to build homes. I'm not sure if it was mentioned on the blog already, but the video is only a couple minutes long so be sure to check it out!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Composting Revolution?

In another Huffington Post entry, Royte blogs about the compost revolution. A revolution?!?

Wow, I've got to wake up and smell the coffee.

I must admit, when I first read Royte's chapter on composting, my reaction was, "thanks, but no thanks."

But I'm warming up to this idea. And in the spirit of trying something new, I will definitely attend the free composting seminar on May 2nd (see also blog calendar down below). And I'm determined to venture into the composting world once I know what to do. (Stay tuned, I have a funny feeling that my personal experience with composting will resemble a comedy of errors!)

So, is there a compost revolution in South Bend? I'd really like to know. Please feel free to post your composting practices (and any tips!) on the blog. :0) M

Earth Day: Every Day...and Today!

If you're reading this note today, shame on you! Just kidding, although we've been blessed with great weather. I made a pit stop at today's Earth Day event, which is being held at Howard's Park. There were plenty of kids, pooches, and family activities while I was there. And somehow I managed to go home with two Marigold plants. Wish those plants luck! And enjoy the warm weather this weekend! :0)

Looking back...

With respect to the “BagFest” project and the service learning component, I initially learned about it from Dr. Verges prior to the spring semester. Even though it sounded like it was going to be a “heavy-duty” course, I was interested because I like the concept of applying course material to “real-world” concerns. In addition, reading Elizabeth Royte’s book,Garbage Land: on the Secret Trail of Trash, proved to be a learning experience in-and-of-itself.

The more I read, however, the more disappointed I became on how our nation deals with garbage, recycling and the environment. However, I also recognized that exposing an ugly truth lends opportunity for change—which is the beauty of it. We all have the opportunity to change our behavior, the way we think about our world and how we interact with our environment.

Personally, I have become much more conscientious about what I buy or throw away and also what I recycle. I have a long way to go and still have some bad habits (e.g. buying bottled water and using plastic bags) but I am working on these and am committed to changing my behavior one step-at-a-time. My biggest problem will be in remembering to bring reusable bags with me when I go shopping! :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Paradigm Shift

Last Saturday, during the BagFest Event, I had the opportunity to participate in the discussion panel which consisted of representatives from SB Waste, Wal-Mart and Rocky-Mountain Recycling. It was interesting to listen to the responses to some of the questions being asked by the audience. My question to them (particularly to Rocky-Mountain) was, "Is recycling plastic bags reducing the use of natural resources?" The representative of Rocky-Mountain replied with a "yes", stating that (because the bags were being recycled) they reduced the need to use the materials to make new plastic bags. This is somewhat problematic because plastic bags do not necessarily become plastic bags again after being recycled. They become lawn furniture, wood composite and other misc. items. So, unless everyone is using re-usable bags, plastic bags are still being manufactured.

I have been recycling my plastic bags for years, largely because I knew there is an outlet for them. In essence, I had a false belief that I was not damaging the environment because I was recycling. The question that begs to be answered is, "Does recycling decrease the use of natural resources or does it only decrease the amount of waste going into landfills?" On one hand, recycling prevents "waste" and compilation of materials in landfills; on the other hand, recycling increases the demand for materials to be recycled. Hmmm...somewhat of an oxymoron.

Elizabeth Royte made a statement during her lecture on campus last Saturday that puts this issue into perspective. To prevent mis-quoting, I am going to paraphrase the statement. She was discussing "Zero Waste" and told us that in order to have zero waste, there needs to be a Paradigm Shift. I took that statement to mean that we need to change how we view our world, our environment, our behavior and how we live. Recycling isn't the only answer and it does not solve all of the problems. Reducing the use of natural resources combined with recycling and reusing should be viewed a collective process rather than as options from which to choose from.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bagfest Comments

I have to agree with everyone- Bagfest was so great! The whole event ran so smoothly, and I was so excited to see the turnout. I have to say that I enjoyed hearing the panel discussion as well as meeting Elizabeth Royte. I would have liked to talk with her a bit about her experiences and about the political involvement regarding garbage. Ah, another time.
Also, the dinner was such a wonderful way to end the Bagfest. The discussions were lively and interesting. And, Michelle's "thank you" speech was wonderful. She was able to describe the process of pulling the planning of the Bagfest together along with thanking each individual who helped bring the event together. The speech was informative as well as touching. And, she hand wrote a thank you note for each person at the dinner- so very thoughtful. Thank you Michelle.

semester review

I used to be a big re-user of the plastic bags. Like the documentary guy I used them for kitty litter clean up, or to pack my lunch, or to throw in clothes my kid has outgrown to give to a friend. I used to enjoy my abundant pile of plastic bags, like Royte’s pack rats, except I never urinated on them. Now, I use my old forgotten canvas bags, I even resisted the urge to buy the pretty silk ones, because I didn’t need them.

I’ve learned to take in small chunks, and I do enjoy and try to remember Royte’s great sense of humor alongside looming global catastrophe. I realize it’s important to make one decision at a time and stick with it. I will never buy anything but 100% post consumer recycled toilet paper again, I never thought I would feel so proud simply wiping my you know whats. I use my canvas bags, it’s easy and I can clearly see the difference that makes after our 72,000 some odd bag round up. I ask myself if I really need it before I buy it, and I avoid ridiculous packaging. I talk my son out of happy meals. And I talk to other people about zero waste, virgin paper, the whole thing because like me, most people just don’t know about this stuff. And I try to remember I am a work in progress, and I am excited to imagine where I’ll end up. I may even compost this summer.

Bag Fest

I’m not sure what I was expecting at Bag Fest but I was pleased it went so smoothly. It was evident how much work and organization had gone into it. I was surprised at how many bags some of the people brought but everybody worked together well to get them counted thrown onto the pile. The day went fast. I did have one unpleasant surprise. As I was separating and counting somebody’s bags I found a messy diaper! How disgusting. I was also surprised to see so many Wal-Mart volunteers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


When looking for information about my chemistry lab I found this pretty interesting site about dioxin and thought that I'd share it since I'm sure that I'm not the only one who had never even heard of dioxin before taking this class. Enjoy! :D

Elizabeth Royte Blogs about BagFest

In today's Huffington Post, Elizabeth Royte blogs about her reactions to BagFest. Click here to read her post.


Final BagCount

Originally uploaded by mverges.

I'm slowly but surely recuperating from BagFest. I was very pleased by the turn-out, the talks, and the number of bag donations. In four hours, volunteers counted over 72,500 bags. Wowza! BagFest was indeed a success.

In addition, folks have been kind enough to send me their pictures, which I've uploaded onto flickr. So feel free to click on this picture to see more BagFest photos.

This weekend, I'm going to organize the data we collected on Saturday. We have four excel files that need to be collated. And Kim was a go-getter: We have 100 completed surveys! So I need to organize those data in order for us to begin analyzing that information.

Just thinking about these data brings a smile to my face. Yes, I'm a veritable stats geek!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Candlelight Vigil


Dane Blue contacted me this morning and asked if I would help him spread the word about tomorrow night's candle vigil, which will pay respects to the families and friends of the victims killed at Virginia Tech yesterday.

Dane writes:

This is Dane Blue
I am putting together a candle light memorial to remember those lost in the shooting today at Virginia Tech. It will be open to the public - please tell everyone!
Wed. 8:30pm
Near the library at the Peace Pole
Looking for people to speak, there will be a sound system and podium - open to conversation afterwards
Most of all, looking for people to show support to the families and friends of those lost by being present
For more info contact me.. Dane Blue Purdueblue@hotmail.com574 849 7306

Thank you
all much


I am running short of words to explain how excited I was for the successful completion of our festival. The Festival was well, a success to me. I have been very anxious to know the response of people in Michiana area about this festival. I was both excited and suprised of the response of the big fest. I think that I was underestimating people's awareness about this issue. I think that we still need to sensitize and reinforce the idea of environmental awareness every time we get an opportunity. The cooperation and involvement of the Michiana community was obvious on that day. Bagfest is only the beginning of many more festivals that are environmentally charged, I am hoping to see many of this kind in different communities.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Personal Change: One Sheet at a Time

This afternoon, I attended the Speech Preliminaries hosted by the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts. Our very own Melissa Lentine was one of the speech finalists! Now, let me get this out of the way: I was not an unbiased observer. But let me be clear: Melissa's speech was AWESOME!

Out of six finalists, Melissa's speech was the only one that conveyed a message of hope and personal empowerment. As Melissa put it, we can make simple changes to our daily routine, like purchasing 100% recycled toilet paper, which can make a big sheet at a time.

The other five speeches, which included topics such as drunk driving, teen driving accidents, and human trafficking, left me feeling a bit hopeless and depressed. (And well, one speech was bizarre; I'll just leave it at that.)

So congratulations, Melissa, on a job well done!

P.S. I'm still decompressing from BagFest. Once I've mentally and physically recovered from this event, I'll share my thoughts and personal experiences with you. :0) M

Art With Cans

My dad sent me an email with a forward about alternative and creative ways of using empty cans. I want to share it with you because I think the art pieces that can be created with cans are just amazing. Unfortunately the PowerPoint presentation doesn't say anything about the place or the creator. Here are some of the pictures.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I loved BagFest! I was exhausted by the end of the day, but I felt like I had really accomplished something. I think BagFest turned out to be everything we wanted it to be and more. Like Professor Verges was saying, I really do think we grew through this experience, as individuals, as a class, and even with parts of our community. I know I, and a lot of my classmates, say a BIG thank you to Professor Verges for all her behind the scenes work and just giving us this experience!

Also dinner was great in having the experience to talk with Elizabeth Royte, that was definitely the top highlight of my semester! I do not think I realized how much I would gain through BagFest, and I am very grateful all that I did gain! Thanks again to everyone who made this possible :)

What an experience!!!

The day dawned well with promises of success not too cold not too hot. It was such a successful day from the start and organization was great! I learnt a lot by watching and participating on how one person can make a huge difference. Congratulations Michelle for steering the way to a direction of change in Michiana community we share the pride of having you as our professor working together in this project was one more step to better experience and better learning. I worked with Amanda for most of the day and was amazed by how we were turning simple ideas to mathematics with fun by estimating how much carbon is released by trees and how much it takes back. The girls we had did great on working this out. Working with kids has been fun for me and it was still another opportunity of having so much fun. Finally, I can't express this excitement enough! I met Elizabeth Royte! Oh my goodness! I was still speechless that I did see her talk about her book and tell us of all those experiences it was so sweet to see this hero narrating it all out before my eyes. Having her at the same dinner table made me feel even extra special it really made my day. Seeing Michelle overwhelmed by joy at the final note for the success of her project brought the whole experience to a very personal and emotional wind-up for me. Thanks Michelle for letting your students be part of this.

Way to go, guys!

The Bagfest was so awesome!!! I can't believe how well it went! It was definitely a team effort, but all of Michelle's preliminary and behind-the-scenes work was VERY evident!! I also was just as amazed at the turnout, and how many people in this community are so enthusiastic about the issue. I feel like they too deserve a pat on the back...maybe we could put another ad or small article in the paper, applauding them for coming out and caring about bags!...which, if nothing else, would motivate them to come out again next year. We could also give them our final count, and maybe reiterate where they can get the super cute purses and t-shirts...just a thought. Nice work, everybody. :)

Bag Fest Success

I agree with the comments by Ashley and Mary. The Bag Fest was a huge success!!! Also, I had several people comment that it ran very smoothly for a first time event and that they didn't see anybody waiting around to have their bags counted. People bringing bags in were responded to quickly. Several people asked about next year and a few expressed interest in partnering with the project next year. So great job everyone! And I second the hats off to Michelle for a job extremely well done and organized! Also, your speech at the dinner acknowledging all the important people involved was awesome. You really made that speech personal; it was touching, funny, and serious all at the same time. The personal thank you notes were a really nice, unexpected touch. The event could not have gone better!

Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation

Last Saturday's "BagFest Event" was an excellent opportunity to bring awareness on how our behavior can have a negative effect on the environment that affords us life. Living in a society in which personal success is often measured in terms of material possessions; by default, our priorities also shift in that direction as well. If you consider Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" proposed in his (1943) paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation", one might argue that many of us fail to reach 'Self-Actualization' because we are never fully satisfied with the previous level of 'esteem'. When our quest for esteem (self-importance, fame, fortune, respect, acceptance from others, etc) becomes imbalanced, we experience a warped-sense of who we are, virtually finding ourselves caught in an endless void we ourselves have created. This shift in priority comes at a price; be it our family, individual sense of self-worth, or the depletion of our environment and natural resources.

We all have something to gain from public awareness events, such as Earth Day and BagFest and if I had to select one 'take-home-point' for myself it would be to change personal behavior and habits that promote reducing the use of natural resources. Recycling is a tremendously important component in promoting positive change, however, it is not the solution. Solutions involve identifying the source of the problem and incorporating ways to eliminate the problem (in this case, reduce the use of natural resources and find ways to replenish the ones that we can(e.g. planting trees, etc).

Saturday, April 14, 2007


What a fantastic success! I cannot even begin to tell you how many people thanked me for taking their bags and recycling them! Hats off to Michelle for making this such a success! There were also several requests to make this an annual tradition! I had no idea that it would be such a success and that there would be so many people, as well as the amount of media that were there! So, great job, Michelle, and thanks so much for including us in this experience! 72,000 bags is a lot!


Whew!!! I can't believe that BagFest is over already!!! The day flew by! Overall I have to say that I was quite impressed with how smoothly things seemed to go. I was also really impressed with how many Walmart volunteers there were helping out! They all rock!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

BagFest: Before Pictures

snow fence2
Originally uploaded by mverges.

As you can imagine, after several meetings and coordinated efforts, we're ready for BagFest!

To check out some pictures I took this afternoon, simply click on this flickr photo.

I can't believe tomorrow's almost here.

Let's just hope lots of people come with their plastic bags!

:0) M


Yesterday I sent everybody in my facebook (117 people) an invitation to the BagFest! 15 people already confirmed that are going to go, 33 said that maybe they will go, and just 5 said that they can’t go. Most of them expressed relief because they didn’t know what to do with the bags they have at home!
The BagFest is going to be a total success!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bag Haute Couture


I love that site! I just had to grab a couple of photos for everyone to see:

"The Bag Man"

And here's one more:

"Pretty in Paper Cups"

Nice!! In case you're wondering if these folks have indeed lost their marbles, the purpose of this fashion show was to support the Thailand Water Project. The models are actually students of Gordonstoun School, which is located in Scotland.

The school's motto is Plus est en Vous. In plain English, "There is more in you (than you think)."

Gordonstoun School elaborates on this point:

"This means each of us, in order to make a real contribution to life in our community and to gain a true sense of fulfilment, must move outside our comfort zone and develop that awesome potential that lies - sometimes deeply buried - in each of us. We need to be passionate about the things that matter and pursue them in a practical way. In this way the Mission is given life and is achieved by embracing the Motto."

Wow, what a compelling school motto!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fashion Show

So this evening I was relatively "bored" and I decided to see how plastic bags might be used in the modeling industry. Being a model I have done all sorts of bizarre shoots. I thought there had to be some kind of high fashion site where they used junk. I came across this site that was rather interesting. Students made articles of clothing out of plastic bags and other recycled materials. What a fun idea! Perhaps you will find it interesting as well:)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Step It Up at BagFest!

Elizabeth Royte informed me about Step It Up, which is a non-profit organization rallying for climate change on April 14th. Here's the link to the site: To see the poster, click here .

I've asked the Environmental Justice League to hand out literature about Step It Up at their booth for BagFest. In addition, Step It Up is trying to get folks to send letters to Congress; their goal is to have 80% carbon reductions by 2050.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that BagFest will be counted as one of the rallies for climate change. Thanks, Elizabeth, for bringing this program to our attention. And guess what else? Colin Beavan (i.e., No Impact Man) talks about Step It Up on Comedy Central. See the footage for yourself! :0)

Bella's Bags

Bella's Wal-Mart Bag
Originally uploaded by mverges.
I took a couple of pictures this morning so that you could see Mrs. Bella's bag creations for yourself.

To learn more about Mrs. Bella and her creations, please read the blog post entitled, "Guest Blogger: Sue Inwood." As I mentioned before, Sue Inwood is a former student of mine, and Mrs. Bella is Sue's mother. Mrs. Bella is an incredible woman, so I hope you get the chance to hear her story, which is posted on the blog.

In the meantime, please enjoy these pics! :0) M

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cloth Nappies

I have a newborn baby who is five-months old today; she has been using diapers all along from the time she was born. When we started this class we had to do inventory of how much garbage we contribute to the city every month. I was very suprised with how much food my family is wasting weekly and that made me make some serious adjustments to our eating and cooking life style, which I am very pleased with. Another big contributor from my waste was the disposable diapers my baby uses. This was a lot of waste in both volume and mass, but largely money that goes to the dumpster to contribute in the environmental destruction. "YES" I pay a lot of money to pollute our planet.

I remember growing up with my younger siblings who used cloth diapers. We called them "Nepi" in Swahili. These diapers were rewashable and money saving. I was very happy to hear the story about these nappies again. I will be spending about $1500 at the end of this year only in diapers, so I am seriously thinking about these cloth nappies. I am afraid that it will be such an inconvinience to wash & dry them and keeping them clean; however, it will be both planet and money saving. For those who have children in diapers, lets think about it. I think it will be worth to invest in these nappies.

Information about Arbor/Earth/Herb Day


Diana Mendelsohn, Representative of the Arbor/Earth/Herb Day Festival on April 21st, contacted me this morning to help her spread the word about this event.

In addition, she is looking for two models to sashay some clothes for the “recycled-content” fashion show! Please let me know if you're interested in participating with the fashion show and/or the event.

Here's more information. I've also added this event to our blog calendar (see below).

Arbor/Earth/Herb Festival for Saturday, April 21st at Howard Park

Diana writes:

Last week, I re-potted herbs into larger pots at the Potawatomi Greenhouse; we will sell the plants to benefit the Potawatomi Greenhouse Botanical Society.

We are having a “recycled-content” fashion show that day for fifteen minutes beginning at 10:00 am and are looking for two models. Would you pass this opportunity along to your students?

Mike Keen, a Prof at IUSB, will be bringing his car to the celebration and speaking.

Any way you and your students wish to share with or be a part of the April 21st event we would welcome.

Thank you for this consideration. Feel free to let me know of any questions.

Diana Mendelsohn

Guest Blogger: Sue Inwood

Sue Inwood, a former student of mine, stopped by my office bearing gifts last week. I was surprised and completely astounded: Her mother created eight cloth bags to support BagFest. I was (and still am) very touched by this random act of kindness.

I wanted to know more about this incredible woman. And so, Sue told me more about her mother. Anyway, I didn't want to keep this story to myself, so I asked Sue to share her story with you.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the story as much as I do. And if you're interested in becoming a proud owner of one of these bags, please let me know. I'm still accepting tax-deductible donations to financially support this project! :0) M

Sue writes:

The term Bag Lady once referred to the poor homeless woman seen on the street who carried all her worldly possessions in one or more bags. Today, that term can be applied in another, much less negative light.

A local organization called “Busy Hands,” which is associated with Catholic Charities, provides volunteers an opportunity to put their sewing, knitting, and quilting skills to work, for a variety of good causes. In order to support IUSB’s Bag Fest, one volunteer has graciously donated eight handmade shopping bags to the cause….but her story goes further.

Now 75, Suzanne Bella has been sewing and quilting for many years. She never duplicates the same creation, so everything sewn is truly one-of-a-kind. She has donated quilts to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis to be given to sick kids. She has appeared in the maternity wards of local hospitals at Christmas anonymously donating baby quilts to new mothers, saying only that it was a gift from “Mrs. Claus.” She has sewn countless numbers of bags to be given to discharged hospital patients so that they have something bright and colorful to take home their belongings in after their stay. She is now embarking on making bags that have little slots for crayons on the outside and include a new coloring book on the inside for little hospital patients or other needy kids.

Suzanne asks for no payment, and no credit for herself, although she has been honored in the recent past by Memorial Hospital for her work. All she requires is a few scraps of material, which she often receives through donations to Busy Hands to make bags. Her payment is the smiles and gratitude of those who receive them.

The “Bag Lady” has evolved!

Sue Inwood
Student, IU South Bend

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Plastic Bags in the News

I was reading through the new issue of Time (April 16), and under the numbers section which is a list of interesting statistics there was a category about recyclables. It read,

"1,000 Estimated number of years a plastic grocery bag takes to decompose. About a 100 billion plastic bags are distributed annually worldwide. 95% Drop in Ikea plastic-bag use in Britain since the chain began charging for bags last spring. On March 15, Ikea introduced a 5 cent charge per bag in its U.S. stores."

The source was the Progressive Bag Alliance, their website was interesting to view.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


When I read Royte's chapter on e-waste and how poisonous that was, it scared the hell out of me. I acted first and had to get my two, very old desk-top computers out of my basement and I knew that poison was off my way. Little did I know what her next chapter held. On reading about plastics and learning that plastics are poisonous, my heart missed a bit. What! poisonous! I am surrounded by plastic all over my house. Plastic plates and spoons, plastic dishes to keep my left overs, plastic bags, and other plastic bathroom items. I was not sure if I was ready to trash all those items and I even did not know where to get replacement for them. Just learning that they are not good for our health and our environment was important, but it also did send chills down my spine. Did anybody else think the same? I am eager to finish her book but now am approaching every remaining chapter with caution as I expect her to talk of something that may be really bad to use, yet I may be using it everyday. Anyway, it is better to learn it than have someone benefit with my dollars in exchange for my health.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Newspaper Bags

I just thought I would share with the class something I learned recently. For those of you who receive the South Bend Tribune, you can collect those plastic bags and give them back to your carrier. Apparently, the carriers are required to pay for those bags out of their pocket so they would appreciate having the bags back. That way, the bags get reused.

toilet paper fixation continuance...

Well, I had to give a persuasive speech (for speech class). I did mine about toilet paper. Well, okay, the "dangers" of virgin papermaking and the benefits of recycling, centered around a toilet paper theme. What can I say, Royte really inspired me; I never imagined I would develop a passion for bathroom tissue.

So, anyway, my speech got selected (23 out of 450) to be presented on speech night!!!! So, I get to "redo" the speech in front of a much larger audience. I asked my speech prof how many people would be there, she shrugged and said the room holds 250. (YIKES) and if I make it to finals (it's a competition) that's 2x the audience! I'm one part excited, 5 parts terrified, and 10 parts grateful I get to pass on this very important information I've been given.

The speech is Monday the 16th btw 4-6 in the recital hall (NS 158) if any of y'all wanna come by and hear the whole spiel.



What's For Dinner

As you know, I will be hosting a dinner to honor folks who have worked closely with me to help make BagFest a success. This is what we're having for dinner:

Pasta Primivera
Mozzerella Chicken
Mixed Vegetable
Garlic Bread
Iced Tea & Water

Mmm...mmm...sounds good to me! And I have other treats in-store for you, so you really don't want to miss out on this festive occassion!!

So, if you've been invited, but haven't RSVP'ed, please email by Friday. You may bring a guest with you, so please let me know if you're coming solo or with a guest.

If you've already RSVP'ed, and you're one of my students, please take note: The first 7 students who email me will have reserved seats to dine with Elizabeth Royte. So you better respond soon, before it's too late!

Guest Blogger: Bruce Spitzer


Today we have the pleasure of having Bruce Spitzer, professor of Instructional Technology in the Department of Education, submit his shopping story to the blog. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Bruce! :0) M

Bruce writes:

With the upcoming Bag Fest and a renewed interest in using permanent shopping bags, I wanted to share with you my most recent shopping experience at the Martin's grocery store on S.R. 23 in South Bend.

My wife and I have used canvas and net shopping bags for some time now, and it's habit that they are in the back seat of the car. So naturally, I took them in with me shopping last Saturday morning. This was our monthly "big buy" where we stock up on many items we use throughout the month such as canned goods, dry goods, and such.

After an hour of shopping, I had a loaded basket and headed to the check-out. I placed my 3 canvas bags and one net bag on the counter (and received my 12 cent credit!) and asked the bagger to "fill them up; no plastic please."

Believe it or not, $200 worth of groceries, canned goods, fresh vegetables, and dairy products fit in those 4 bags! Of course, I didn't bag the roll of paper towels, the large, packaged frozen salmon, and Martin's provided a reuseable cardboard 6-pack carrier for my 4 bottles of wine (which this time around also held a bottle of olive oil).

Not a single plastic bag left Martin's that day because of me and that means not a single additional bag in the landfill this week because of me.

It can be done: $200 worth of groceries in 3 canvas and 1 net bag!

Bruce Spitzer
IUSB Faculty

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Manitoba in Canada bans plastic bags

Check out this link

On this site you can even vote whether or not you think plastic shopping bags should be banned.

The BioBag

This past weekend, I did some grocery shopping at the Garden Patch, which is a health-food store located on Edison Rd. I purchased my first 4-pack of 100% recycled toilet paper (thank you Melissa, for the inspiration!), and I was in the process of looking for biodegradable kitchen bags.

The shopkeeper noticed; he asked, "is there anything I can help you find?" I asked him if they carried those kitchen bags. "No," he said, "I think it costs too much for us to carry at the moment because there isn't a demand for that product."

"Not yet," I countered hopefully. He smiled in agreement.

Ok, so I'm a psychologist, clearly not an economist or businesswoman. So what is it going to take to create a demand for this product? Am I the only person in South Bend who is interested in purchasing biodegradeable trash bags?

Hardly. I'm really not that special.

So I was thinking of trying an experiment. The question is: How long will it take for retailers, such as the Garden Patch, to start carrying this product? One month? Two? Three? A year?

And here's a related question: How does a "demand" begin? With repeated requests by one person or several people?

This is the product I want to buy: They're called BioBags, and they're kitchen bags not made from polyethylene (i.e., oil), but made from corn.

Well, I'm going to keep asking for this product, just to see if, statistically speaking, I can reject the null hypothesis--that is, repeatedly asking for BioBags will not result in the store carrying this product.

If you're interested in testing this hypothesis, I think that will help in stirring-up a "demand."

Here's the Garden Patch's phone number: (574) 255-3151 and here's their address: 228 W. Edison Rd.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cloth Nappies? From New Zealand

In a moment of distraction, I encountered this video on YouTube. Maybe some parents out there would find this interesting. (Turns out, Royte begins Ch.10 with the diaper issue!)

:0) M


Last Thursday morning, clients from Marshall Starke Development center came to IUSB to learn how to make coasters out of plastic grocery bags. Two of the clients had already attended one of the coaster-making activities two weeks before, but they were still excited about doing it again. The other two clients asked if they could come because they had previously seen the coasters the other clients had made and wanted to make them, too. I was told that several other clients wanted to come but were already scheduled for an activity that day. Perhaps they will get an opportunity next time. I couldn’t believe how fast the time went with them. And they were most appreciative to be taught how to make the coasters. The thing I found most interesting during my time with them was their ease and independence; they just plunged right into the activity without getting discouraged. The clients would love to come back, so if there is anyone that would like to work with Marshall Starke Thursday or Friday, please let me know.

One last thing: We had a supporter the other week interested in buying the coasters as a donation for the festival. The clients have offered to sell their 6 coasters for the donations to go towards the bag festival. So if there are any interested buyers out there, let us know!! It would be much appreciated.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Water Bottles

I want to share with my classmates my Royte reading response for the chapter Satan's Resin. I just found that this chapter really hit home with me and perhaps it will for you, too?

In 2003, Americans consumed 13 billion liters of bottled water! Unfortunately, I know that I am part of this statistic. Several months ago, I wrote a list of things I could live without to save money. Bottled water was one of them. Every week I was spending close to $6.00 on bottled water. Roughly that would total close to $290.00 annually. Seeing these figures down on paper really put things in perspective for me. Why did I actually drink bottled water?

For me, I grew up on it. Truthfully, I have never been very concerned about the impurities in our water. However, spending close to $300.00 a year on drinking water was a bit ridiculous. There was one substitute that I could think of and that was buying a Brita water filter. So I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and found a pitcher that would fit very nicely inside my refrigerator. Along with that I bought a filter that would need to be changed every 3 months for $19.00. Being a bargain shopper this seemed very logical to me to stop buying bottles of water. If I kept using this pitcher of water, I could save close to $200.00! Honestly, at the time I was only concerned with the money issue. However, this chapter put light on the fact that I am not contributing to the astounding statistic anymore. No longer are my water bottles being burned or buried.

At the end of the day, it’s comforting knowing that I have helped save our environment and quite frankly, I didn’t even go out of way to do it. This just seems like something that everyone would be capable of doing.