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Anika Rajesh's avatar

Anika Rajesh

ECO-NCMNS

"My goal is to learn more about how plastic affects the environment and what I can do on a daily basis to help the planet!"

Points Total

  • 35 Today
  • 70 This Week
  • 1,260 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    21
    disposable cups
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    680
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    31
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    59
    plastic containers
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    72
    pieces of plastic cutlery
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    66
    plastic straws
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    23
    zero-waste meals
    consumed

Anika's Actions

Pets

Thrifty Pets

I will find secondhand sources for my pet's water/food dishes, collars or leashes.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Pets

Invest in a Pooper-Scooper

I will swap out my single use plastic bags for a pooper-scooper.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Travel Smart

If traveling, I will bring my own plastic free items (water bottle, grocery bags, collapsible food containers, utensils, straws, etc.) with me.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Natural Fibers

When available, I will purchase clothing made with natural fibers, such as cotton, linen, or wool, rather than synthetic fibers.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Complete a Waste Audit

I will conduct a waste audit - including recyclables and compost - to understand how much waste I create and where I can reduce the most.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Community

Research Local Waste Sites

I will spend 15 minutes finding out where landfills and/or toxic waste sites are situated in my region and which communities are most impacted by these sites.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Join a Cleanup Effort

I will host or participate in a beach, highway, river, or other cleanup effort in my community that follows the CDC’s current guidelines for prevention of disease transfer.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Practice Sustainable Fashion

I will spend 15 minutes learning about the costs of fast fashion and begin trying to practice sustainable fashion in my own life.

Completed
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Back in the Bowl

I will purchase refillable beauty products.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Pretty oh so Pretty

I will purchase beauty products that are packaged in sustainable packaging.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

That Was a Close Shave

I will replace my disposable razors with steel razors.

Completed
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Dam the Flow

I will use a menstrual cup and/or cloth pads.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Pearly Whites

I will purchase toothpaste in an aluminum tube or in a glass jar or make my own!

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Fresh as a Daisy

I will use deodorant either from a bar or a jar or I will make my own.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Brusha Brusha Brusha

I will replace my plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Lather Up

I will replace my soaps, shampoos, and conditioners with either a bar or refillable option.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Ask My Favorite Restaurant to Reduce Plastic Use

I will talk to the owner or manager of a restaurant I frequent to request that they reduce their use of single-use and disposable plastics.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Use a Reusable Mug / Collapsible Cup

If possible, I will avoid sending 1 disposable cup(s) to the landfill per day by using a reusable mug or bringing my own collapsible cup.

COMPLETED 16
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Use Reusable Water Bottles

I will use a reusable bottle and stop purchasing bottled water, saving 1 disposable plastic bottle(s) a day.

COMPLETED 21
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Start Composting

I will start a compost collection at home, work, or school.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Say No to Plastic Bags

If at all possible, I will not accept any disposable bags when making purchases, including produce bags.

COMPLETED 15
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Buy Unpackaged Produce

I will purchase produce items without plastic packaging, making sure to wash them well before using them.

COMPLETED 7
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Minimize Packaging

I will purchase food items with the least amount of packaging.

COMPLETED 11
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Plant a Garden

I will plant a herb or vegetable garden in my home, workplace, dorm room, or community garden using as little plastic as possible.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Make My Own

I will try new recipe(s) or food preparation method(s) each day, such as canning, pickling, making yogurt, or baking granola bars or bread.

COMPLETED 21
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Advocate For More Food Packaging Options

I will advocate for alternatives to single use packaging at local grocery stores, markets, or work.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Use Reusable Containers

I will only use reusable containers instead of single-use plastic storage items (such as plastic wrap, single-use sandwich bags).

COMPLETED 25
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal

I will prepare 1 meal(s) at home each day without using any items packaged in single-use plastic.

COMPLETED 17
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Use Reusable Utensils

I will keep 1 plastic cutlery out of the landfill per day by using my own reusable cutlery.

COMPLETED 26
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Skip the Straw

I will keep 1 plastic straw(s) out of the landfill per day by refusing straws or using my own glass/metal straw.

COMPLETED 25
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Practice Sustainable Fashion
    How can you express your personality, creativity, and values in ways that don't require fast fashion or buying more clothes and accessories?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/08/2021 10:15 AM
    I express my personality, creativity, and values in ways that do not require fast fashion or buying more clothes by making my own! I often find that old clothes do not fit me anymore. Instead of throwing them away and purchasing new ones altogether, I use the fabric to sew clothes that require less material or make accessories like scarves and scrunchies. Additionally, I buy fabrics that are grown sustainably so that I get to control how the clothing is made. Sometimes, I end up with a few scraps of fabric, but even then, I can use the cloth to make patchwork fabric, which I can then utilize for making a clothing item.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Cook a Zero-Plastic Waste Meal
    Do an inventory of your kitchen to see how many single-use plastics you've used in the past. What are some resuable alternatives to these commonly used products? What would your impact be if you switched all the single-use products from your inventory to reusable?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/07/2021 1:57 PM
    My family used to use a lot of Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. To avoid these products, we now use stainless steel or silicone lunch boxes and Pyrex containers. However, I noticed that we still use Ziploc bags to keep snacks for my dog when she goes to daycare. If we switched these to reusable containers, then approximately twenty-one Ziploc bags would not find themselves in a landfill per week of her staying at daycare. This is a significant impact from my family alone, and with a joint effort, imagine all the Ziploc bags we could keep from waste sites!
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use Reusable Containers
    How can you think outside the box (or bag!) when it comes to disposables?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/07/2021 1:46 PM
    When we go on long trips, we reuse plastic containers from, for example, takeout to store food in the refrigerator for when we come back home. Then, we simply wash the containers so that we can use them next time. Additionally, instead of throwing out plastic water bottles, we fill the bottles with tap water so they can be reused. Specific to sandwiches, brown paper bags are an alternative to plastic sandwich bags because they are biodegradable and perfect for composting.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Plant a Garden
    Besides having access to fresh herbs and vegetables, what benefits will you see from growing your own garden?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/06/2021 11:26 AM
    Growing my own garden allows me to spend more time outside, which makes me happy. It also gives me a sense of purpose, for I get to care for all of the new seedlings. Most of all, I am content that I am not only helping my family by giving us access to herbs right in our backyard, but I also get to garden sustainably!
  • Reflection Question
    Community Research Local Waste Sites
    In what neighborhoods or areas of your region are landfills or other waste sites located? Which communities are most affected by these locations?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/06/2021 11:21 AM
    Communities of color are most affected by waste sites, as more than half of the population located near waste sites are people of color. Minorities and lower-income families are disproportionately located near such sites because of the United States' history of redlining and wage disparity. Specific to North Carolina, ten percent of all NC landfills are located near a floodplain, which puts local communities at risk of flooding and water contamination. Furthermore, many hazardous waste sites, including one in Rocky Mount, a predominantly black city, are not documented as flood-prone, putting many African Americans in harm's way. Hopefully, with more awareness of the effects of housing discrimination on communities of color and low-income families, we can bridge the gap and support those who are currently subject to the environmental hazards resulting from landfills.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Say No to Plastic Bags
    How difficult was this challenge for you? What made it easy or difficult?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/05/2021 11:24 AM
    This challenge was not too difficult for me because my family keeps cardboard trays in our car trunk. We got these trays from Costco because they no longer needed the boxes, and the trays allow us to keep grocery items safe without them moving too much in the back. If there is anything too fragile, like eggs or desserts, I keep them on my lap so that they do not get ruined.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use a Reusable Mug / Collapsible Cup
    Since the restrictions that COVID-19 has required of our society, trying to use your own cup might present new barriers, as well as new opportunities for creative problem solving. How were you able to achieve success on this action? How can you make it a long-term habit?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/05/2021 11:19 AM
    I was able to achieve success on this action by ensuring that I cleaned my reusable mug after each use and making sure that I did not touch my nose or eyes while drinking. I can make this a long-term habit by keeping my reusable mug with me wherever I go in case I need to get a drink along the way.

    • Bobbi Mullins's avatar
      Bobbi Mullins 7/05/2021 12:27 PM
      I simply filled my reusable mug or cup at home and took it with me. That was cheaper and a time-saver. Plus, my tea or coffee is usually better than what I'd pay $3-5 dollars for. :)
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use Reusable Water Bottles
    Using the links provided, investigate the bottling practices of water corporations. There have been many cases where the water rights of the local people have been violated or even completely disregarded when a corporation decides to bottle water from a particular water source. How can you advocate for those who have been harmed by this bottling process?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/05/2021 11:10 AM
     I can advocate for those who have been harmed by the bottling process by signing petitions to reduce funding for bottled water companies, talking to my school principal about banning bottled water in my school, and writing letters to my Representative to end support for bottled water companies. In this way, I can also inform a larger number of people about the issue and urge my community to help those in need.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Skip the Straw
    Have you noticed a shift in your community as more messaging about reusable straws becomes mainstream? Cite some examples.

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/05/2021 10:53 AM
    I have noticed a shift from plastic straws to paper ones in many local restaurants, including Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, NC. Many larger companies like Starbucks, Hyatt, Marriott International, and American Airlines have also moved away from plastic straws. I think that when more consumers stop using plastic straws, more restaurants, hotels, etc., will either offer straws made from alternative materials or will stop offering them entirely.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use Reusable Utensils
    How can you be an advocate for using reusables instead of disposables for the rest of your community? Where are they currently dependent on disposable food packaging or eating utensils, and how can you convince them of the need for change?

    Anika Rajesh's avatar
    Anika Rajesh 7/05/2021 10:40 AM
    I can advocate for using reusables instead of disposables in the rest of my community by talking to my neighbors and local officials. My community is currently dependent on disposable food packaging and eating utensils for large dinner get-togethers and affordability. I can convince members of my area of the need for change by advocating for compostable utensils that are better for the environment and by showing how, in the long run, reusable utensils have a much lower economic cost than disposable ones.