Trash on your back

Trash Talk

By Matt Bogoshian

I did an initial post back on March 6th called Getting a Personal Tune-Up. Well I’m half way through the Trash on Your Back Challenge and wow, I’m learning so much about my own daily habits by carrying with me the trash I generate. The trash on my back has served as a present reminder that I need to start making lifestyle changes to generate less trash and prevent pollution.

Before the challenge began the organizers had a telephone conference with the university scientists and researchers who are spearheading the analysis of each participant’s trash as it compares to the norm for Americans in several categories. More on that in the future, but here’s what’s going on now….

Day one began on Earth Day, last Sunday. My wife and I were hosting family and friends in our apartment and I started the day off with an egg breakfast. Dutifully, I cleaned the egg shells and put them in my trash bag thinking, no problem, egg shells are light… I’m off to a good start.

I then took a quick read of the newspaper on-line and we made our way down to the Mall for the Washington, DC Earth Day events. Sadly it was cold and raining, but the concert went ahead as planned. My band and I played a few tunes before the head liner Cheap Trick which was great. Here is a picture of me sporting my trash on stage.

Throughout the day my food and drink intake led to me having to carry around numerous cups and other paper products. It didn’t take long for me to see that these kind of “on the go” containers are a good waste reduction target. All day I kept thinking that if I had brought my reusable thermos I could have enjoyed my coffee and soda without having to carry around those plastic cups.

The next morning I didn’t want to wake my house guests so I skipped making my usual homemade lunch….ouch. I had to buy a cafeteria lunch and got another disposable container to carry around.

Small items really add up. Just washing my hands in the restroom at work has made me more aware of the number of paper towels I use. As such, I started keeping the towel for later use. I now see better how air dryers can make a true difference. I’m realizing the list goes on and on and small everyday choices do have real environmental consequences.
Stay tuned…..

About the author: Matt Bogoshian is Senior Policy Counsel for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Matt is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Getting a Personal Tune-Up

By Matt Bogoshian

I like to save money.

As a husband and dad, finding more ways to save money is just part of living and raising a family.

From a national perspective, the same thing applies. To make an America built to last, making smarter choices not only can save REAL money but it often also means preventing pollution at the same time, it’s a twofer!

So to save money at home I first ask myself, how do I start to make smarter choices to “tune-up” my own use and consumption habits?

There are many web tools like EPA’s guide to make smarter green living choices. Yet despite so many useful tools, I’m still sometimes slow to change my ways.

That’s why, with many others, I have accepted the Sustainability News & Entertainment for the Planet™ 5 Day Trash on Your Back Challenge April 22-27. The challenge is inspired by Dartmouth College and MIT’s Climate Interactive Team and I’m hoping that my participation will help me realize how much trash I generate so I can then start to figure out smarter alternatives.

I’ll report back soon and let you know what I learn about my own habits and what insights it gives me toward my work. Writing this blog has already made me wonder if 5 Day Trash On Your Back challenge can motivate me to take the first step to tune-up my own habits, could it motivate millions of Americans to do the same? Could a challenge like this lead to greener, safer products in the marketplace and accelerate our economic recovery in a way that improves our health all at the same time? Could a challenge like this motivate more of our over 300,000 manufacturers to tune-up their factories so they spend less money on waste and have more money to hire workers and create new market innovations?

When Americans come together with common effort and common purpose, we have a solid track record of getting the job done. In fact, the challenges we face now remind me of those faced on the home front by the great WWII generation that came together to build our defenses to protect the nation. That great American effort and the famous iconic Rosie the Riveter who embodied it, is the same kind of “can do” American spirit that will help us come together now to make an America built to last.

Stay tuned……

About the author: Matt Bogoshian is Senior Policy Counsel for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Matt is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.