Event – College of Charleston vs UNC

As I am writing this on November 17th, less than 24 hours since attending the men’s basketball game vs the UNC Tar heels, trash is still littering the area of TD Arena.  Sitting there, in our city, on our own campus, intoxicating the environment.  As I was sitting at the basketball game during half-time, I looked around me and noticed all the single use plastic being carelessly consumed and thrown away, well, on the ground.  Even I was consuming Diet Coke to keep me quenched while I cheered at the top of my lungs.  As I walked by the student entrance to the arena at 6:50 am while on the way to weight lifting, I saw bottles upon bottles, wrappers upon wrappers, and other various trash, upon trash that was mindlessly used and discarded of improperly outside on the ground.  Now, as I am writing this, I have been pondering the idea of how to eliminate the use of plastic at our sporting events on such a small scale, to hopefully have a positive impact on the environment.  Seeing how much trash was created from just one college basketball game only has my mind racing on the thought of the trash generated from sporting events such as SEC football games, and even on a larger scale, professional soccer.



One way we could start to eliminate the litter on the streets that might never get picked up is to provide multiple trash and recycling bins outside where the students stand in line for hours, waiting for entry.  Asking 1,000 students to stand out in the cold miserably for hours, and not excepting people to bring items like food packaging or drinks to keep them satisfied is being unthoughtful and unorganized.  If there were trashcans and recycling bins within reach where people could stay in line, I am hopeful that students would toss their garbage in a proper collector, rather than on the ground.


Another idea that I have is to decrease the consumption of plastic is to serve food items in biodegradable plates with biodegradable utensils.  Completely eliminating the food concessions is highly improbable and unrealistic, an easy swap could be to serve it in a biodegradable fashion so it is less harmful to our Earth once thrown into a landfill, and it has a chance to break down before entering our oceans.



A third possible change could be to completely eliminate the plastic pompoms.  I saw so many pompoms that were used for maybe the pre-show, and half of the first quarter, but then thrown onto the grown, and stomped on by the crowd.  The pompoms may be a cute idea, but extremely pointless, and is a small way we can reduce the amount of plastic used for the event.  It might seem like an insignificant change, but a lot of small changes render big results.


As a college that stands for environmental sustainability, we have the obligation to translate this practice into all of our channels.  Making such a large effort to be sustainable in some aspects of our college, but completely ignored in others is not efficient or very effective.

Floating in the Abyss of Plastic

Mandy Barker is a marine photographer who has won countless awards with her art that involves the use of ocean plastic. Barker’s goal with her art is to help raise awareness for the increased pollution of our oceans with plastics. She graduated from De Montfort University in England, and has been working with plastics for decades.

The following image is from Barker’s collection titled “SOUP.” Based on how scientists refer to the accumulation of microplastics in the ocean as a “soup.” Analyzing this artwork brings in a sense of sadness, because the realization of what we have done to our oceans truly sets in. It is clear that Barker is trying to show off the true effects of what we have done to our oceans. We should be feeling sad and shocked by the pure quantity of garbage we have thrown in it, and we should want to take action. 

Lastly in the below image the artwork is titled “Europe,” for it contains over 622 debris  balls collected from the waters around Europe. The instant connection I felt when viewing these artworks is that these balls almost represent planets. Specifically this artwork is shaped in a flowing matter that reminds one of the intricate designs of galaxies throughout the universe. I believe that the ultimate message that needs to be taken from here is that just like these balls we only have one chance at our true purpose, and if we fail then we will just become another ball in the infinite abyss.

Life Cycle of a Toothbrush


One billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year in the U.S. and most of them are made of plastic, so our plastic toothbrushes are contributing to our huge plastic problem.  It’s an item that almost everyone in the world uses several times a day, making it essential to our daily routine. Normally, you use a toothbrush for 3 months until you throw it away and replace it with a new one. But how is a toothbrush made?

“toothbrush” by dave is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You can divide the production of the toothbrush into three steps, the handle, the bristles, and the packaging. To make the handle, plastic granules begin to be melted. After liquefaction, the plastic is then injected into a mold for the toothbrush handle using an injection molding machine. To obtain the correct shape for the toothbrush handle, the molds are pressed while the plastic cools. After cooling, the handles can be removed from the mold and the next step can begin. Next, the toothbrush bristles are attached. They are usually made of nylon, as it is soft enough to brush your teeth with but hard enough to use more often. The bristles are then attached to the “head” of the handle and clamped in place. After that, the bristles must be cut, which is usually done with a machine that can cut the bristles exactly to the desired length and shape. After that the toothbrush has to be packed, in most cases, the packaging is a combination of plastic and cardboard.

Now the toothbrush is manufactured and packaged but the journey is far from over because now the toothbrush is transported to the stores and made available for sale to customers. Toothbrushes can be found in any drugstore, grocery store, or you can order them on the Internet. A normal manual toothbrush costs about $1 on average. The toothbrush stays in the store until it is sold. If a toothbrush was then bought it is then used in most cases several times a day. After about three months of use, the toothbrush wears out and loses its effectiveness. Then it is time for the consumer to buy a new one and the old toothbrush ends up in the trash. For the buyer, it now looks as if the life of the toothbrush is over, but, it has just begun. Because it will go about 1000 years until the toothbrush decomposes. In most cases, it will end up in a landfill or in our ocean, where it will remain unchanged for many years.

After looking at the product cycle of a toothbrush, one realizes that the toothbrush is a potential hazard to our environment and wildlife because it takes such a long time to decompose completely. Furthermore, it is difficult to recycle toothbrushes, currently, just an extremely small amount of toothbrushes are recycled in the US because they contain different types of plastic (handle is made of molded polypropylene and polyethylene, and bristles are made of nylon). Therefore, the question arises whether there are alternatives to plastic toothbrushes, or what can be done to make toothbrushes more sustainable.

One possibility is a toothbrush made of a bamboo handle, although these toothbrushes are not completely plastic-free, because the bristles are mostly made of nylon, at least the bamboo handle is quite unproblematic and biodegradable. Furthermore, bamboo is a sustainable raw material, as it grows back extremely quickly, so there is no risk that the stock is endangered. In addition, there are toothbrushes where you keep the handle and only change the toothbrush head regularly, which at least saves the plastic from the handle.  Another idea is not to dispose of the toothbrush immediately after it loses its effectiveness but to reuse it for other purposes. For example, you could use it in the kitchen to clean toasters, microwaves, or coffee machines, or in the bathroom to clean the grooves between the tiles and remove hair from your brush.