[Letters] My suggestions for an eco-friendly MTAn MT is a short trip a group takes to greet newcomers or to break the ice between members in a newly formed group. However, when I went to my first MT with club members in my freshman year of college, I was shocked by the great amount of trash we had made in just one day. Every semester hundreds and thousands of college students generate such large amounts of garbage in MTs. There are three major adjustments that can be made in these trips to make them more eco-friendly.
The first change is by buying an appropriate amount of food. Last summer vacation, I went on an MT trip with my friends. On our way back, after two days, there were 10 bottles of soju, more than half of a 10 kilogram (22 pounds) rice bag left and other leftovers that we didn’t eat after cooking. From the experience, I realized that we should estimate the amount of food needed by calculating how much food people usually eat.
The second change is to recycle. When people clean the place they had stayed in during an MT, they usually gather all kinds of trash in one big plastic bag without separating it. This wastes recyclable trash. Recycling is especially important because recyclable materials like plastic bottles and cans are used in MTs. Normally when people throw away trash into garbage cans, they realize it should be separated. However, in an MT trip, there is usually only one box so they just put it all together. Therefore, when you go on an MT trip, first make several containers for separating garbage or request trash containers from the accommodation, so people can separate trash right after they make them.
The last change is by not using disposables. People who have been to an MT will know how much disposables they use, since they are convenient and don’t need to be washed. However, we must recognize that our behavior results in increasing greenhouse gases, which is the major cause of global warming. It also results in serious soil pollution.
There are two situations where disposables can be reduced the most: one situation is when we are grocery shopping for MTs and another is when we are eating food. Each person uses at least one paper cup, plastic spoon, dish and a pair of wooden chopsticks for just one meal. These disposable products should be changed instead to shopping baskets, airtight food storage containers, glasses, spoons and chopsticks that are reusable. In my last MT trip, other members and I brought our own tableware for eating and drinking. The result? Almost no garbage.
In conclusion, when I realized these problems in regards to garbage, I asked many people around me if they have ever thought about it. Almost all of them said yes but they haven’t thought about how to reduce it. Just realizing the problem does not solve anything. We must take actions by buying food in appropriate amounts, recycling and using reusable things. All are very easy solutions, which won’t affect how much you can enjoy an MT trip but will ultimately have a huge impact on our earth.
Kim Hye-seung, a freshman at KAIST