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  • Jacob Bedenbaugh's avatar
    Jacob Bedenbaugh 8/02/2021 5:52 PM
    My challenge went really well! I learned a lot and will continue to make an effort to minimize plastic on a daily basis
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Lather Up
    What are the economic and personal benefits of switching to bar soap/shampoo/conditioner or refillable bottle options?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 7:13 PM
    The obvious benefit is reducing plastic pollution! However, many shampoo and conditioner bars are also natural and do not contain chemicals that are known to be harmful to both people and the environment. They also last longer than traditional shampoos and conditioners and save water, too!
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Brusha Brusha Brusha
    What are the benefits of switching to bamboo toothbrushes? How would you implore others in your community to make this switch as well?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 7:09 PM
    Because of their antibacterial properties, bamboo toothbrushes are much more environmentally-friendly to grow and to use. Some are fully compostable, biodegradable, and prevents plastic pollution in waterways. One unexpected benefit is how comfortable it is for my sensitive teeth and gums--I shared these benefits with my family members, too!
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Pretty oh so Pretty
    How can you advocate for the importance of reducing packaging to the rest of your friends, family and larger community?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 7:03 PM
    I have begun to advocate for packaging reduction simply by wearing my own homemade products or showing others my favorite plastic-free beauty supplies!
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Watch a Documentary
    Which documentary did you choose to watch? What did you learn?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 7:02 PM
    I chose to watch Terra Blight, a documentary about the disposal/recycling of electronic devices. The documentary completely opened my eyes to how both the earth and others are affected by overconsumption of technology, whether it be TVs, laptops, or smartphones. A miniscule percentage of electronics are recycled. Rather, they are shipped to countries that lack the infrastructure to properly dispose of them, like Ghana. What's more, children in developing nations that are used as dumping sites for discarded American electronics pick through the waste to sell the scrap metal found in the electronics, and they often seriously injure themselves, die, or contract illnesses from the lead that leeches into the soil and water where the electronics are dumped. 
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Homemade Cleaners
    What did you learn by making your own cleaning products? What is the biggest difference in making vs buying?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 6:58 PM
    Aside from reducing plastic waste, the biggest differences that I noticed when making my own cleaning products was that: 1) the homemade stuff smells waaaaaaay better, and 2) I am not concerned about harming my pets or my own skin/lungs with homemade cleaning products, as they are equally effective but much less dangerous and harsh. My favorite trick that I learned was to add a tiny drop of essential oil to my homemade solutions to get a squeaky-clean smell.
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Buy Only What I Need
    As you have reduced your spending, what have you noticed about your 'health and safety' purchasing habits? How might this change your longer term purchasing decisions?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 6:56 PM
    Despite only purchasing what I need, I still purchase quite a bit for strictly health and safety! What's more, many of those items, like medications, can be found only in plastic packaging. I have found alternatives for other items for my health and safety, like natural sunscreen that comes in an aluminum tin and is reef-safe. Being more mindful about reducing my consumer habits was certainly challenging, but meaningful and something that I look forward to continuing to work on long after this challenge ends.
  • 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?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 6:54 PM
    Many of the single-use plastics in my kitchen come from the plastic bags that enclose dried beans, brown sugar, and containers for salad dressings and other condiments. Food wrapping, like plastic wrap, was also being used in my kitchen prior to the EcoChallenge. I have now started visiting a local plastic-free shop to buy dried beans in my own container and have switched to beeswax wrap to eliminate plastic wrap. I've been making my own condiments from scratch: This particular challenge has not only helped me reduce plastic waste, but has also sharpened my kitchen skills! 😉
  • 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?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 6:51 PM
    As mentioned in a previous post, the waste site and recycling centers are located in the poorest, lowest-income region of the city. The folks most affected by these sites are the city's long-standing residents, many of whom are older and identify as Black or People of Color. 
  • Reflection Question
    Community Join a Cleanup Effort
    How does working with others to clean up your community make you feel?

    Carla Prieto's avatar
    Carla Prieto 7/31/2021 6:50 PM
    Working with my community makes me feel: 😁😍💖🙌

    At the same time, cleaning up the local creeks is not only useful in helping clean plastic and other types of litter that eventually make their way into the water, but also helpful in offering a time and space to reflect on the importance of consuming less.