After seeing overflowing trash cans around campus, a UNC student organized a weeklong initiative, called Trash-Free-UNC, to encourage students to not use disposable items for a week, from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21.
Olivia Joyner, a sophomore, said she thought of this idea after watching the documentary No Impact Man in class which is about a couple who had a zero carbon footprint for a year.
“Also in the documentary, it mentioned that a group of two or three hundred students at NYU pledged to go footprint free for a whole week,” Joyner said. “From when they said that in the documentary, I thought ‘we could do that at UNC.’”
She said the overflowing trash cans outside of Davis Library and the Student Union every night have also inspired her.
“Some of it is just food packaging, some of it is bottles that can be recycled and other items are compostable packaging that just weren’t put into the compost bin,” Joyner said. “So I’m hoping to raise awareness about how many items you use throughout the day that can be replaced with reusable items, whether it is just bringing a coffee thermos to class with you or pledging not to use plastic water bottles.”
Joyner is teaming up with Epsilon Eta, the environmental honors fraternity on campus, along with several professors and organizations like EcoReps and Sustainability @ UNC.
Caroline Hall, a member of Epsilon Eta, said Trash-Free-UNC is trying to align with the Three Zeros Initiative.
“Greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste are the three goals that the University has been trying to move toward so this is kind of an effort from the students' perspective to meet these goals,” Hall said.
Joyner said an interest meeting was held Monday in which she and her team informed students on what items are recyclable and compostable. She said they also handed out reusable water bottles to participants.