PLASTIC: RECYCLE OR NOT TO RECYCLE,THAT IS THE QUESTION

When we look at the world around us, we constantly see an evolutionary aspect of our planet Earth and we never understand how that it even is possible. Considering that this planet has been around for billions of years (possibly longer), it is still fascinating how much it is still capable of performing for those who live on it. Yet, science has shown us how much of an impact that our carelessness has cause and the lasting damage that it is doing to earth for the past few decades.Hence, we have constantly seen a vast amount of informational ads and public service announcements that have heavily emphasized that we have a social responsibility to our planet to take care of it in a variety of ways. They constantly remind us that we only have “one Earth”. In addition to the ads, we are exposed to the campaigns that have been plastered all over the worlds that includes “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” signs that have placed near any trash can to have keep in mind of those same statements that lets the people know our one earth is precious. All the natural sources that have made up the earth are all slowly but surely depleting. As much as society wants everyone in the world to believe that this Earth is slowly dying, there are also other people in the world who actually believe that this earth is very stable and that the idea that the earth is going to die is purely a myth.

Recycle

Worrying about the planet is something that is a result of a ploy to use less natural resources. Personally, I have no idea what is the truth about what is to become of our mother earth. I will say however that the idea of resources suddenly being used up is due to growing greed that is the “corporation” that is consumed into believing that taking up this resources is necessary to the public and has us believe that we need it with the various commercializing of these products that come from these natural resources.

Going back to our use of recycled products, it should come to the conclusion that it is a choice that it made when it comes to whether or not to recycle plastic bottles due to the beliefs of individuals. With that being said, living on a college campus has opened my eyes on how others perceive the world and what they do to believe is helpful to preserve their future. From the various eco-friendly clubs and housing halls to the radical individuals who could careless, I have had my share of viewing others and the immense amount of plastic that comes in and out of this campus. As me for me, I can say that I am no ecofriendly person who is conscience of what I throw away in the trash and recycle. However, I am not an overly careless individual who never recycles. I’m an in betweener who does and doesn’t keep track of my recycling habits. So it was with that, I decided to actually become an eco-conscience civilian and actually pay attention to how much others use disposable products others use and give my own self an understanding of how much I might actually be using on a basis.

THE EXPERIMENT:

            IMG_1668 In order to really ground myself to answer this question, I used a reusable water bottle. The interesting thing about my use this is the fact that I have about 5 just sitting in my room and not having much consideration to them despite the fact that they have been given to me as a means to stop the excessive use of plastic. Even before I started my experiment, this my first instance that I stopped for a minute and really thought about this idea. Why is it that I am consciously aware of the opportunities to reduce my plastic intake and I still feel the need to buy the disposable kind? Nonetheless, I finally utilized a few of them and I drank water for four days and I would be using my reusable water bottles to do just that. As for my coffee intake I would also be using a useable coffee mug that again I never used since I’ve gotten to college and found convenient to just go and used the cups from Starbucks. As for who I would be observing, I know a variety of peers who religiously drink nothing but bottled products and are full of mixed feelings about recycling. So I asked a few them, Jany, Tiffany, and Shaquana to go about their daily use within the same four days that I would be using my reusable bottles. I had them take pictures each day to get an idea of how many bottles they go through for me to keep track and compare it to how times I would refill my bottles of water or my mug for coffee. By the end of the four days, I would have them take a survey about how much they used over the course of the four days and have them watch a video that talks about the dangers of the constant use of plastic and where it goes when not recycled. As odd it may have seemed for them, I would hope to get them to also learn about their consumption and see if they would gain anything new about themselves.

THE TRIAL:

            When I decided to do this experiment, I really did think that it would be easy for me considering that it was a bottle that I would take with me all the time. But on the first day, I was completely wrong! At the start of the day, while I did have a nice refilled bottle at the side of backpack, I unconsciously went and bought a bottled water, as if I never even had the bottle in the first place. I will admit that I was mad at myself for this, but luckily I was able to return it unopened and continued through the day. Instances like this is what would follow me my first day. As much as I was dedicated to using my reusable products, I was used to getting disposable products from a variety of areas on campus, that it has become second nature to me and that is quite scary. At the same time however, it definitely got me thinking once again about our subconscious minds and choices that we inadvertently make without realizing it. I however constantly caught myself when I would attempt to buy a bottle and I would immediately go for my own bottle in my bag. It was probably an accomplishment for me as the day went on and from that moment was when my trial went on and I can safely say that I successfully went four days without using plastic bottles.

As for my friends who used went about their day and went through their daily plastic bottle usage, it AMAZED me how much they all used within the four day trial. They sent be pics at least by the hour and I was surprisingly overwhelmed by how many went through whether it be water, soda, or Starbucks coffee. At some point, I even got a little angry because eventually some of them even threw out bottles that still had a good amount of liquid in it in the trash and completely did regarded that it could have been recycled. It really gave me perspective on how part of our society is just like this and it saddened me to know that I am one of those people. I must say that it was interesting how much plastic I could save by just using reusable water bottles and how much I could benefit from it. I don’t think about it until I am faced with it and it’s interesting that this is usually the case when one tries to make changes to their lifestyle as a means to better the world.

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THE RESEULTS:

            After the trial was over, I had them fill out a short 4 question survey that tallied out their usage of bottles and as well as their opinion of recycling just to get an understanding of their overall thoughts on the environment. ECO Survey

Although it was three people that filled it out, it was the responses to the short questions that mattered to me in this case. Of the three, only one used 10 or more with a grand total of 17 plastic bottles that varied from Starbucks or actual water bottles compared to the others who used a range of 6-10.

ECO SURVEY RESULT ECO SURVEY RESULT

However, both did express that it could actually be more on account of throwing a few out without tallying it to me In addition to this, none of them recycled their plastics all the time. They either never did or they did ever minimally often. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest considering that I was away that they were not the ecofriendly individuals that I knew. However, their responses to why they chose to not recycle varied. One said that she is “not a big fan of recycling” and the other said that they do not recycling because “the case and effects of recycling is not a real thing”. Thinking that their perception might change with a video of the damage that could happen with not recycling, I made them watch the PSA below.

 

The survey asked them to watch it and asked if it made any difference to their mentality to recycling. All of them had a relatively similar responses by saying that “It still doesn’t do much for me because I believe that the earth has been around for billions of years and if recycling was really an issue, it would have died hundreds of years ago. Recycling is a myth”. Despite that this as an experiment, I was surprised at their opinions because I have never thought about people thinking that recycling is a myth and just an idea that has been put in the minds of the world.

Nonetheless, my overall experience by participating in this experiment has made me think so much more consciously to the fact that I may or may not have a social obligation to do what I can to protect the earth and have it last as long as it can. At the same time however, we must also accept that some people in this world are skeptical to the fact that recycling is a think that is going to be the end of the planet therefore have a different idea of what is to become of our planet. Corporations have done their parts and put in many efforts to shove down our throats that we HAVE to recycle. But at the end of the day, while there is one person who is not recycling, there is also dozens of other people who are actually doing their part and saving the planet with their choice to be ecologically conscience. It really does go to show that the media does have somewhat of an impact on what we chose to do in our lives. We may not want to admit it but it is the power of social media that controls society and dictates our actions in the present and the future. Scary to think about but still important to keep in the back our minds, if they have not already gotten to that too.

Coffee: To Drink or Not to Drink

Coffee. We think about it everyday of our lives and know for a fact that it is one of the most essential ingredients to a productive day. From healthy decaf to unhealthy amounts of espressos, there is no doubt that we love to put in our bodies. But one thing that I feel we do not think about much is the exact origin of our coffee. As someone who lives in America, it is safe to say that, my food can come from a variety of places, whether it be right at home or across the sea. I personally do not ever have a clue where my food comes from, nor do I ever think to question how my coffee to where it is today. As for brands that are grown within the United States, I can somewhat find out where it comes from based on the state. Therefore, when I drink it all I think about is how patriotic I must feel when I eat foods grown within the Unites States as it signifies my support for American made products. I don’t ever feel like I am betraying my nationalistic mentality just because of what I purchase. However, when I do come across foods that seem a little unlikely to have come from American soil, that’s when I think hard about where it comes from. It is safe to that certain foods that I have seen that do not come from the U. S. is deemed to be much “better” considering the immense amount of toxicity within our products and how much it could actually be killing the American public, but that’s another issue in itself. In my paper, I am going to investigate the various food products that very common within our society that come from indigenous areas. I will expose the capitalization of these coffee products and how we have taken something so local and turned it something that is so accessible to the high demanding consumers. It is perhaps the most common product that is used by the everyday American. Yet, it is also the most capitalized food product used by the American consumer considering that it is something that most definitely can be questioned on whether or not if United Stated made it and we as consumers never really take the time to grasped how it even came into our hands.

Coffee spoon

According to various sources such as Wikipedia and the National Coffee Association, coffee has no origin. But there have been legends that coffee originated from Ethiopia. It is said that it was discovered by the indigenous people within the Ethiopian plateau. After its discovery, the product expanded all through large cities within Africa and the Middle East.    By the early 1500’s, the Dutch received news of this new product that causes one who drinks to stay alert and energized, and decided to take it and share it across the Americas. Before they realized it, by the 17th century hundreds coffee shops within Europe and the Americas.  This the term “Koffie” being created by the Dutch people to have their own claim to this product.

coffee history

This discovery of a product by a larger nation reminds me of J.B. Tweep’s discovery of Mané Pena’s “magical feather” in the novel Though the Arc of the Rainforest. Tweep’s corporation had received news from those who flocked to Mané Pena’s indigenous home the Matacáo after various media outlets reached out to show the spectacle that was the healing powers within the feather of a bird found only within Mané Pena’s home town. And yet, Mr. Tweep saw nothing but dollar signs as he found and opportunity to market off of this fascinating product. He even told Mané Pena that “he owed it to the world to spread his knowledge about feathers” (120). Fast forward to today’s American society and it is almost as if coffee has always been of only our culture.

On the one hand, some coffee chains do have some focus on directing their brand towards a more “American” way of life when drinking it. The perfect example of this, is none other than Dunkin Donuts. When we watch the branding of what makes Dunkin Donuts so different than other Coffee chains is that it is supposed to be “America’s coffee”. We see there commercials and the only emotion that should be invoked is the feeling right at home.

https://youtu.be/lUzKleZlS74

Despite the use of basic and neutral coloring to emphasize the common American way of life on the packaging, the commercials that Dunkin Donuts produce is directly intended to draw the attention of the everyday people who wants to feel as though they are relatable. By drinking Dunkin Donuts, one would feel as though that they are relatable, just like the coffee because it is made for them. What makes even more prevalent to the American people is the amount of Dunkin Donuts that are within the U.S is quite significant. There are 8,431 current chains as of 2015 according to http://www.dunkindonuts.com/. What is not surprising is the lack of Dunkin Donuts chains internationally. According to site, it also says that there are only 3200 chains. Considering that the target consumer is Americans, having minimal chains in international areas would insist that the brand stands to preserve its intended audience.

Now when you look at the branding for Starbucks on the other hand, it is evident that the intended audience is far and wide. Just a small anecdote from my own thought process on Starbucks, as a student on a college campus with nothing but Starbucks coffee as a primary coffee source, I felt as though I drank it due to convenience. But just the other day, a friend of mine pointed out to me the packaging of one of their coffee beans and said “doesn’t looking at it make you feel as though you are actually in Colombia?” At that moment, I thought about it and realized it could be something more than just a convenience of what I’m drinking. When you look at the packaging, you can see how “exotic” they make the product seem.

Starbucks package

Unlike Dunkin Donuts, it seems as though the intended audience for Starbucks coffee can be anyone who feels as though they want to drink something from somewhere not all can go. Kind of like what Mané Pena’s press for his feather. Various people came from far places just to experience the healing powers of the feather. However after a while, the capitalization of this feather became international giving people everywhere the opportunity to feel as though the power of the Matacáo is in their hands even though they are nowhere near the Matacáo. Starbucks coffee is rather expensive at four dollars for just a “tall” (small) cup of coffee. How insane is it that Americans are so quick to spend so much money on coffee. But lie addressed before the likelihood is because the “exotic” quality that it eludes. It is even evident based on the amount of chains that are around. According to the Starbucks website, it is said that there is over 24,000 chains worldwide. This further proves my point on everyone, even on an international scale, wants a taste of “exotic” coffee from an indigenous location.

No matter what the case may be, it is safe to say that coffee is a product that no one can stay away from. But its where it is coming from that is  put into question. When you drink it, what are supposed to feel? An exotic feeling or a local feeling? The real question to ask one’s self is who capitalization are you giving into.

starb Vs DD

Yamashita, Karen Tei. Through the Arc of the Rainforest

Starbucks.com

DunkinDonuts.com