#WasteNot – A series with our guest blogger, Clara del Rey

#WasteNot – A series with our guest blogger, Clara del Rey

by Joannis Kaliampos -
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Joannis Kaliampos // 09 June 2015 // #WasteNot

Clara del Rey

Clara del Rey, Going Green's guest blogger (Photo credit: Clara del Rey)

How much waste have you produced today? No, really, have you ever taken the time to count every single piece of waste you produce over a single day? A week? No? Then you might be in 'good' company. Recent statistics from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown that US-Americans create 251 million tons of trash every year. In other words, every single U.S. citizen produces over four lbs. of trash per day. Germans, by the way, aren’t much better as figures from the German Umweltbundesamt, the national environmental protection agency show: Germans produce around three lbs. of waste per day. So, how can we change?

Change, after all, might not be as difficult to achieve as you might think. The travel well MAGAZINE, last month, launched a 30-day challenge to reduce trash, inviting readers and followers to post their own small and simple ideas to avoid trash in everyday life. The authors argue that

“Despite the horrifying amount of garbage we’re strewing about the planet–not to mention the energy it takes to produce it–the solution to this problem is fantastically simple: Stop producing waste.”

Lauren Stinger of Trash is for Tossers, for example, proved that a person’s waste can be reduced to fit into a single mason jar! Her success recipe includes three steps:

  1. Look at your trash and understand what it is. Because you can't solve the problem of having a lot of waste until you know what it is.
  2. Pick at the low-hanging fruit! Do little things, one-time changes in your everyday life that have a large-scale and lasting positive effect.
  3. DIY—Learn how to make the products yourself!

Check out her TED talk to find out how—and why—she accomplished this. For the next few weeks, we’ve invited Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE’s 30-day challenge, to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow. Clara’s motivation stems from her personal experience and conviction: “I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imaginationsimple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset.

So stay tuned for this upcoming series and join us in trying out Clara’s ideas on waste reduction!

Joannis Kaliampos holds a Staatsexamen degree in teaching History and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at the secondary school level from Justus Liebig University Gieße (Erstes Staatsexamen für das Lehramt am Gymnasium). Joannis Kaliampos is currently a doctoral student and research assistant at Leuphana University Lüneburg. His fields of interest include task-based language learning, learning with digital media, and American studies in the EFL classroomIn the scope of his study on learner perceptions of EFL tasks in Web 2.0 environments he has conducted empirical classroom research in the U.S. Embassy School Election Project 2012. Together with the U.S. Embassy School Election Project 2012 team he was awarded the 2013 Hans-Eberhard Piepho-Prize for innovative communicative EFL teaching. He is responsible for the development of tasks and materials in the Going Green 2014 project.