Grace’s Final Project

Well, at long last, the time has come my friends. Time for me to sum up everything I’ve learned in this one semester and then bid you adieu as I merrily skip away from NYU into adulthood freedom.

This has been one of my favorite classes in my time here, mostly because it focuses almost entirely on a topic that I’m pretty obsessed with, the environment. I’m literally a tree-hugger (really, there are pics of me hugging trees everywhere) and I’m also into an artistic industry, so this class was perfect for me. It gave me the chance to really kick off my waste-free lifestyle and I’m excited to share with you guys what I’ve learned and accomplished so far, and what I plan on accomplishing in the weeks, months, and years to come.

My goal was simple: To identify the waste I’m contributing to landfills and start to take steps to move away from needing/using these materials. Pretty straightforward right? In order to accomplish this goal, I came up with 5 steps for myself.

  • STEP ONE: Identify the landfill waste I produce over a two week period
  • STEP TWO: Fully replace necessities in my home with sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives
  • STEP THREE: Fully commit to making my own products
  • STEP FOUR: Start the slow, long transition into sustainable fashion
  • STEP FIVE: Find a place to compost in NYC

I can tell you right now, I was hoping to be able to crash course myself into this kind of lifestyle, but just like anything else in life, this is gonna take some time. There are habits that have to be altered, materials that have to be purchased, and old goods that will need to be disposed of properly. I’ve already identified what needs to change and how to change it, so at this point in time I’m slowly starting to transition myself into actually making those changes.

STEP ONE! When I presented my midterm to you all, I talked about how I’d already tried keeping track of my landfill waste by writing notes for everything I tossed in my phone. I decided to try some good old-fashioned handwritten notes for my 2 week period, but guess what? It didn’t really work out that great. You know what did? Taking a video on my phone every time I put something in a trash can. You can see my lil compilation video right here. It forced me to really take notice of how often I was tossing something in and what it was I was tossing in. When I was just trying to write it down, I really believed that I was just throwing away the cotton rounds I used for makeup remover and maybe some food. Turns out, I was visiting the trash can a whole lot more!

STEPS TWO-FOUR! These three steps are still in the process of being undertaken. I’m going to include a link to my class presentation at the bottom of this post because it includes a lot of links to the websites I’ve been using to help me identify the products I need as well as where I plan on buying these products from.

STEP FIVE! Wowee you really can compost in NYC! This was a cool thing to learn about, and a slightly frustrating one too. Here’s a better look at the map of where they have brown bin collections in NYC:

2017 Compost Collection in NYC

Notice anything about this map? Besides the beautiful earth tones they went with for a color scheme, it pretty clearly shows that environmental activism is something really only available for the affluent. “Future Expansion” in all of the poorest neighborhoods of NYC. Awesome. On the one hand, this map is really helpful as I apartment hunt because I want to end up in a neighborhood that has the brown bin collection (if I can afford it). On the other hand, it enforces this idea that being eco-friendly is a rich person thing.

So where do I go from here? Social media of course! I’ve created an instagram account called @optimistic.recyclingbin and I plan on documenting my journey and sharing information as I continue down this path to Earth friendly enlightenment. I’ve already posted my trash video, and I have a few more posts already planned out, check them out below:

As I said earlier, this isn’t an overnight change. A waste-free lifestyle is an act of rebellion in our consumer based society, and it’s a lot of hard work to undo the mindset to use, use, use. I’m excited to keep learning, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you as I keep on working at it.

Check out links and all that fun stuff here!

And check out the instagram here!