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.

The Plastic Lining of Waste

It is well known, plastic does not belong in our lakes, rivers, and especially our oceans.  A place of no return for plastic and other waste that enters the forbidden seas.  What if there was something we could do to utilize that plastic already in the ocean to clean up more plastic in the ocean.  Well, this is exactly what is happening because of Michael Timko from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.  Timko and his colleagues have proposed a plan that could decrease the amount of waste in our oceans  by also utilizing the waste to convert into fuel.  A news article from NewsScientist published on November 1st, 2021 gives the details on his great idea.

As much as 12.7 million tons of plastic enter into our oceans annually. This plastic can end up in our stomachs by consuming the seafood that constantly feed off of it, usually mistaking it for their actual food.   Ships to decrease this plastic intoxication must use a lot of fossil fuel in order to make their voyages.   Ships requiring a lot of power use and waste a lot of fossil fuel per year, almost canceling out any good efforts of cleaning up the plastic.  This is where Timko and his colleagues come in.

Timko and his colleagues believe that this plastic already dumped into the ocean can be actively converted to fuel the ships while on the ocean.  This would synonymously power the ships cleaning the plastic in the ocean while reducing the use of limited fossil fuel resources and the litter in the ocean. To convert plastic into fuel while on the ship, a process called hydrothermal liquefaction is used.  The plastic material is broken down into polymers at extremely high temperatures of 1022º Fahrenheit while using extremely high pressure.



Because of the high quantity of plastic in the ocean, these scientists believe that not only this plastic can be collected, processed into fuel as it is being collected, but also stored in excess on the ship.  Although, the process to create fuel from plastic would release carbon emissions due to the burning stage, the amount of emission would still have less of an impact on the environment than using a ship powered by fossil fuel, and returning the plastic to be recycled, further creating more carbon emission.  Timko says, “This is not a silver bullet, but we think it’s an interesting way to add to the technological solutions already out there.”.

Michael Timko focuses his efforts at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts to chemical engineering.  I do not believe he has biases, and is just using his knowledge, time, and resources in the way scientists should start focusing on, on our environment and our one Earth.  The authors intended audience is anyone willing to expand their mind and learn about the new technological options we have or can create to help out plastic problem.



I believe that with the rapid increase of technology, and discovering new technological advancements every day, our society should focus these efforts and energies (no pun intended) on saving our Earth from it’s ultimate devastation.  Instead of looking to advance our space exploration, or social media platforms we should start by doing the bare minimum for saving our Earth, the psychical and only place we live and can exist.




Peachy Sea Co and It’s Impact (or Lack Thereof) on our Earth

Although we must still focus on the amount of plastic we consume and use to help reduce pollution, when companies do not promote and practice sustainability, consuming sustainability can be hard.  Things necessary to my life are not always sustainable.  Sometimes, I do not have the option to choose between an eco-friendly product and a non-eco-friendly product.  Products such as medicine are not available in eco-friendly packaging, but are necessary to my life.  Areas that I can make a difference by preserving our Earth is choosing sustainable businesses whenever I can.  Peachy Sea Co is a brand I support that chooses sustainability, and promotes their message.

This company was started by one of my good friends and coworker, Hannah Susane.  The company’s tagline is something that stands out to me.  On the website it says, “Made with all (un)natural ingredients”.  When I first read this, it took me a minute to figure out what it meant.  Soon realizing that all the bikinis are made from collected water bottles found on polluted places such as beaches and parks, it clicked.  All though the bikinis are made to reduce the problem of plastic pollution, sadly, so much pollution has already been done that there needs to be ways to reuse what has already been produced and trashed to extend the plastics life cycle.  Instead of generating more plastic for the bikinis to be made, Hannah uses what has already been generated and polluted to make something that can last a lot longer, and have more purpose than just staying a bottle in a landfill. 


Beyond the sustainable measures being taken by cleaning up nature and reusing the plastic found, Hannah also makes every bikini to order.  As a small business, she is able to do this so there is no more energy wasted than necessary.  It also ensures that if the bikini style suddenly goes out of style, or the season changes, there are no bikinis that were made to go to waste in another landfill, right back where the products to make it came from.  Hannah also uses her business to promote other ways to be sustainable through social media.      

Because Peachy Sea Co is a brand new company, the global impact is still very small.  This should not be something to deter small businesses from being sustainable.  At the rate plastic is being consumed and discarded, every reduction helps.  One plastic bottle has much more impact than we can imagine.  Reducing that one plastic bottle makes an equal impact for the better.

I believe for people to change their purchasing habits from buying the cheapest, most convenient, and harmful product, the alternative should be made high quality and competitive with other brands.  Peachy Sea Co has trendy bikinis, at an extremely affordable price, made very high quality.  It is extremely competitive with unsustainable brands such as Shein and Urban Outfitters.  If you really care about our Earth, every little effort to put an end to the production and consumption of unsustainable materials can make waves (and keep the actual waves clean) on our one Earth.     


Plastic Reflection

“Plastic pollution free world is not a choice, but a commitment to life – a commitment to the next generation.”  Amit Ray was not the first person to iterate this, nor will he be the last one.  We live in a plastic world.  We are constantly touching it, using it, and throwing it away, until the cycle repeats again and again.


After reflecting upon my use in plastic, I realized that this issue is bigger than myself and the world right now.  My use and carelessness carries into the next generation of people not even alive yet, incapable of helping themselves.  I reflect on how the generation before me started the problem, and now it’s in my generations hand to do something to solve the problem, or pass it on once again to the next generation.  As a human, I feel empathy.  I feel that if I can do something so easy to help, such as substituting everyday items with more sustainable items, why would I not.


Plastics that I have realized would be selfish to not substitute for a sustainable product:

The products listed above are the easiest switches in my life that require no sacrifice.  Why would I not change simple things like plastic bottles to a reusable water bottle, where the reusable water bottle would probably keep my water tasting fresher anyways.

These are simple habits that I can break to live a more sustainable lifestyle to protect the Earth for my generation and the generations to come.

There are still non-sustainable items in my life that I am not willing to replace.  This includes tampons, makeup in plastic packaging, and tennis racket grips.

For one, as a girl, I get periods.  I know there are more sustainable methods such as the diva cup, but when dealing with something unfavorable, I would rather just use tampons at my own convenience. Tampons, pads, and panty liners create more than 200,000 metric tons of waste annually.  This is a ton of waste, pun intended.

Some advice I have for changing one’s lifestyle to a more sustainable one is to just try it.  It does not hurt to try out a shampoo bar because if it is not your thing, you can always go back to plastic bottled shampoo.  Try to actively bring reusable bags to the grocery, and maybe it will become a habit, such an easy habit.





Drowning in Plastic


Quite literally, we are drowning in plastic.  It makes up the majority of items we touch in our day-to-day life.  Plastic is in our food, our ocean, our streets, and about anywhere else you can think of.  According to the website, Future Agenda, it is said that 275 million tons of plastic waste is created each year, and between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of that plastic waste is intentionally dumped into our oceans.   This plastic problem is not going away anytime soon.  Saying this, I reflect on what I can do to slow the intoxication of our only livable planet down.  This brings me to our class assignment, making note of all the items of plastics touched, and reflecting on what isn’t necessary, or can be replaced in my life.



Out of my 45 items counted (although some items touched were definitely missed), some items I found to be wasteful and replaceable were:

  • Gum

Yes, only listing gum is on purpose.  After looking through my list, thinking about which items are not practical to my lifestyle, I could not find much.  Things like a tampon are pretty necessary to women.  Other items such as my leg wrap and medical tape for my torn ACL are also quite practical, and not very replaceable.  Items such as my face wash bottle and chapstick tube are replaceable in exchange for the products in glass bottles, but far to expensive for my means.



The area I think I can make a difference is informing people about the effects of things so small like drinking out of a plastic and disposable water bottle everyday, rather than a reusable one.  Things like buying reusable food containers instead of using one-use plastic baggies.  Being more aware of the plastic you are quite literally consuming is a great place to start in this battle against plastic.  A big thing I’ve also seen is spreading around the knowledge of how to recycle items that are recyclable.  As Beth Terry says, “guilt is not encouraged”.  I do not believe the way to go about solving this plastic problem is to shame people for their behaviors.  Instead, encourage people to live cleaner for the health of themselves, and for the health of our planet.