by Kaitlyn Parker

A Day of Trash

The Idea
How much trash do we really produce? I sought to answer this question for myself and being an environmentally conscientious person was shocked to see just how much accumulated after one day – now imagine one week, one year…and that’s just one person!

The Process
For one day, I saved all my trash (sans what was biodegradable and/or unquestionably unsanitary). Though it was difficult, I made all attempts to carry out my day as normal and not refrain from activities or products in an effort to reduce my waste. Considering this, it was amazing how my focus of the day became about my consumption and trash. I was aware of how many napkins I was using, paper towels, bottles, cans, even tea bags – my focus evolved around using less trash in a vain attempt to reduce my ever increasing pile.

The Trash
• 1 old cardboard portfolio
• 2 soda cans
• 1 plastic water bottle
• 3 paper towels from cafe restroom
• 1 cafe napkin
• 1 ACE knee brace box
• 1 plastic Safeway bag
• 2 gum wrappers
• 1 tea package and bag
• saran wrap from zucchini bread
• 1 Subway napkin
• 1 Subway sandwich paper wrap
• 2 pieces of junk mail
• 2 paper towels from home
• 1 ziplock bag
• 1 photo envelope from Walgreens
• 1 Walgreens receipt
• 1 Tostitos chip bag
• Paper scraps/cuttings found in portfolio

The Art
To visually display the impact that one person’s trash accumulation has in one day, I turned ‘trash’ in to art, giving an entire new dimension and meaning to ‘recycled art’. I carefully constructed and glued each piece of trash to a large recycled cardboard portfolio and fashioned a protective frame made of recycled plexi-glass, wood, and screws.

The Message
Though I consider myself very environmentally aware and participate in recycling and reusing goods, I still produce a large amount of trash in a span of 24-hours. It was both startling and illuminating. I encourage everyone to monitor a day of their own trash – this little insight may just prompt people to use less and think more. Even if it’s just one less napkin that we use at lunch or dinner – added up, all those ‘ones’ can make a huge difference.

~ Kaitlyn Parker ©KPdesign



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Great project thanks for sharing!

Reply to  Jeanette

Thank you Jeanette :D


Tea bags are biodegradable… paper napkins too… I use them in my compost!

Reply to  Gemma

Great point Gemma! It’s so cool you use your own compost!!!

Reply to  Gemma

Yes Gemma! Very true and great point. Thank you. So great you make use of your own compost :D

Nancy Behan
Nancy Behan

Very cool. Makes me want to do this day project too!

Reply to  Nancy Behan

Thanks so much Nancy. Good luck with it! It’s fun and very eye-opening :D

Lois Letu-David Harry
Lois Letu-David Harry

What is it? Can’t tell on small screen.


Interesting so much fun .


Thank you! So lovely to hear :D

Airam Cabhur
Airam Cabhur

Really What is it ?? I don’t understand this project. :-(

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