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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State students encouraged to walk trashed through campus

Alyssa Van Steen’s waste jar contains a Band-Aid wrapper and the top packaging piece of a potato chip bag. Photo credit: Yaritza Ayon

Associated Students Sustainability is challenging students to carry their trash with them for the entire month of October.

The Zero Waste Challenge asks students and faculty to carry around all trash not recyclable, compostable or reusable in either a mason jar or gallon bag. Individuals signing up are given; an instructions guide, a paper bag for compostable items and a Ziploc bag for their trash. Students interested in participating can do so for a day, week or the whole month.

The purpose behind the challenge is to bring attention to all the waste produced by a single person and entice the community to practice in more sustainable habits.

Maggie Scarpa, coordinator of the challenge, began restricting her overall waste in January of 2017.

Her main goal is for students to learn at least one sustainable habit.

“This challenge is not about asking people to just keep their waste in a mason jar, but to look at their waste and reduce as they go,” Scarpa said.

Maggie Scarpa's zero waste spaghetti squash lunch made from bulk items she bought to avoid any grocery shopping food waste. Photo credit: Yaritza Ayon

Scarpa started this challenge because she sees an intersectionality of oppression with regards to sustainability.

According to Scarpa, large amounts of waste, compost and recycling facilities are in low income, disadvantaged and colored communities, which end up affecting their well-being. She tries to reduce the oppression through her own individual environmental impact.

“It can seem like a privilege to go zero waste, but the big thing is to use what you can and what’s around you,” Scarpa said.

Although the challenge is only a month long, Scarpa will be continuing her year-long campaign on waste reduction immediately afterwards.

Scarpa hopes the challenge brings awareness to the pyramid of environmental action. The pyramid starts with awareness develops into individual habit before progressing toward community and education.

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Maggie Scarpa's pyramid of environmental action explains the structure of waste awareness. Photo credit: Yaritza Ayon

Alyssa Van Steen, a student participant, began limiting her waste over a year ago. Although she’s seen similar challenges online, she wanted to partake in her first official one, due to the fact she would not be alone.

Van Steen, determined to further challenge herself, will be using a smaller mason jar than suggested. She plans on continuing her low-waste lifestyle after the challenge ends.

“I think being sustainable in your everyday life is you just making the effort to be sustainable,” Van Steen said.

Alyssa Van Steen and her waste jar that is smaller than suggested, since she wants to challenge herself to produce less waste. Photo credit: Yaritza Ayon

Each week the challenge will focus on a different waste topic. The four themes are takeout, shopping, hygiene and food. Individuals are encouraged to focus their efforts on limiting trash related to the theme of the week.

Each day students can stop by the AS Sustainability table or office to show their trash and try to win the daily prize. Those participating for more than one day will be put in a weekly raffle to win one of the five ecology prizes.

The five eco-friendly prizes participants can win to help them lead a more sustainable life. Photo credit: Yaritza Ayon

Prizes include LUSH shampoo bars, coffee mugs, stainless steel lunchboxes, handmade cosmetics, bamboo utensils and produce bags.

Students can sign up for the challenge at the AS Sustainability table or office.

The AS Sustainability office is located in the basement of BMU 005 and their office hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Yaritza Ayon can be reached at [email protected] or @ayon_yaritza on Twitter.

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