A Day in the Life of a Keep America Beautiful Intern

How I Recycle Each Day

6:30 am: My alarm rings from across the room, and I rise excitedly to start a new day at my internship of two summers in my favorite city of all, Washington DC. In my apartment, I have purposely placed my trash bin and recycling bin on separate sides of my kitchen, and have even labeled them so there is no confusion among my roommates who, before this summer never truly gave any thought as to why they should recycle. However, now I watch as they all promptly recycle their yogurt cups along with other items. Many a morning, one of my roommates will stand over the recycling bin, hovering an object, awaiting my answer as to whether or not they chose the correct bin. My recycling does not stop in the early hours of the morning. I continue my commitment to recycling the entire work day and beyond.

I arrive at my desk each morning ready to start another productive day of meetings with my coworkers, responding to emails and working on projects such as preparing for America Recycles Day. As any other intern, I prepare to take on the work day as successfully as possible. However, I also make sure to equally succeed in how I reduce my trash output and increase the quality of my recycling. As an Environmental Studies major, I make sure I am leading as sustainable of a lifestyle as possible. Ever since high school, I have been fascinated with my use of various items and how often I can reduce, reuse and recycle them in order to decrease the size of my environmental footprint. As a result, I prioritize these three actions at Keep America Beautiful.

Daily, I look at the empty blue bin sitting next to my desk, affixed with a small saddle black trash bin on the left side of its brim. While the average intern is too focused on his or her tasks to give a second thought to the items they are recycling or discarding, I habitually find myself thinking about the recyclables I will be able to collect at the end of my 8 hours in the office. When my tasks are completed and I prepare to leave the office, I always make sure to take a look beside my desk to compare my recycling and trash output. Each day provides different items in different quantities. I like to see it as a reflection of how each work day may be different from the next. As some days the work load will be heavier than others, there will be days I have a full recycling bin and an empty trash bin.

As I leave the office, the bins on the street corners of DC offer me the chance to recycle even more.

As an intern, it is undoubtedly a satisfying feeling to work hard and complete your tasks; and have fun and learn, too!

As a Keep America Beautiful intern, it is even more satisfying to know I was able to reduce my trash output and recycle items that one day I may even be able to buy again as items made out of recycled content.


Above: My bins next to my desk that demonstrate my trash/recycling output over the past 3 months.

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