|Left: Sophomore Michaelanne Butler worked to ban foam plastic at Marymount U.|
Right: Sustainability Officer Kathleen Talbot and the reusable water bottle fountain
The Peninsula is a sprawling region long dedicated to the preservation of open space and habitat (following a successful campaign in the 1970s to stave off wildland-leveling construction of thousands of condos). That may be why the tidal wave of waste we generate, its impact on coastlines and ocean habitats, and ways in which more sustainable choices can benefit both the environment and the economy -- some of Garbology's main themes -- generated such enthusiasm here.
102-trash legacy, the plasticization of our oceans, and the fate of L.A.'s Garbage Mountain revolved around simple incentives to encourage less wasteful choices. At Marymount's campus, a thousand students were going through 1,800 foam plastic carryout containers every week, an immense plastic refuse pile. Now students can choose a compostable clamshell for a quarter, or put a deposit down on a reusable container that gets fully refunded at the end of the school year. And the campus is now foam free.
At Peninsula High School, one young woman proposed an even simpler incentive to persuade kids to recycle more: reward them with a free cookie. At first people laughed, but she was serious: In a world where we subsidize such wasteful products as junk mail with billions of dollars, is a cookie too much to ask? I call that original thinking -- the sort of thinking that accomplishes things by showing how even big problems respond to commonsense and simple solutions.
|Posing with the Gar-Ball trash art project|