Coffee Shop Trash by Aubrey Grzywacz
November 1, 2023, 10:00 a.m.
Dunkin Donuts in State College

image of coffee shop trash can, almost overflowing with trashThis photo was taken to capture the amount of waste that gets pushed out each day at a local coffee shop. It showcases the amount of waste and plastic one coffee shop uses in a moment in time.

I chose to take this photo because it puts into perspective the amount of waste that is created by humans on earth. Thinking about how much plastic/trash this specific store uses each day is crazy. Then thinking about how much trash this specific store produces each YEAR is also crazy to conceptualize. It makes you realize that there is so much waste being pushed out into the world in so many different places.

When taking this photo, I was feeling super moved about how much trash is put into the environment each day. I was studying in the coffee shop in the morning, and I watched multiple trash cans full of garbage being taken out to the dumpster. This made me feel super upset and sad about the impacts plastic has on the earth. I wondered about how much of the trash would end up being recycled, in a landfill, or in the ocean or an animal’s environment. This kind of pollution/mass plastic use usually gets swept under the rug for convenience purposes. This project is a great way to come together as a group to reflect on different perspectives regarding pollution in the community.  A movement like this could help motivate more people to try to clean up after themselves and spread awareness about pollution and the climate crisis.

The pictures help move you into the space that the photographer was in. Although it is not the same as taking the original photo, it is good to conceptualize ideas visually. Seeing pollution is a lot more effective than hearing about pollution. This photo definitely got me thinking of how much trash we probably create in State College ALONE in one year.  It is saddening to think about how much trash we produce as a society, especially as college students. This is something everyone needs to work on reducing. It is only fair to the environment and the earth to reduce our consumption of trash/trash use, and we should call for reusable options for cheaper at these businesses.

My name is Aubrey Grzywacz, and I am currently studying special education. I am from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Over the summers, I enjoy going to the jersey shore and spending my time in the ocean and on the beach. I play soccer, paint, draw, run, and love being outside. After Penn State, I want to be a teacher and also spread awareness about climate change.