Trash the trash bag assignment

Patrick Beusse 15 sits in the library with his trash bag.

Aaron Hendel

Patrick Beusse ’15 sits in the library with his trash bag.


It smells bad. It’s easily scammed. It encourages tattle-tailing. And it just looks stupid.

That’s why I’ve never participated in the infamous trash bag assignment.

Well actually, I’ve never participated because I never took AP Environmental Studies; I’m pretty bad at science. But this assignment significantly lowered my desire to take the course.

For one week, students must carry around garbage bags wherever they go; the bathroom, to walk their dog, or even to a nice restaurant for dinner with the family on the weekend. They wouldn’t put leftovers from dinner in the bag, however, as food is the one thing that doesn’t go in the bag.

However, if a fellow APES student sees a classmate without his or her bag and reports it with photographic evidence, the student who reported the incident will receive an extra point, while the guilty party loses five, out of only a 25 point project.

My first issue is the smell. It doesn’t matter that there’s no food in the bag, garbage smells bad. Really bad. Oscar the Grouch wasn’t on Sesame Street because people enjoyed getting a good whiff of him. This directly affects me and the majority of students not in the class. Try sitting next to one of those kids for a period. Yuck.

The project’s also easy to manipulate. Teachers are only watching in certain places around the school. If I was participating in the assignment, there is no chance I would put more than a minimal amount of trash in the bag. Just enough to make it look like I’m following through with the assignment, that’s all. I’d cheat, I admit it. Hard.

And why are we encouraging disloyalty? What ever happened to good old-fashioned trust? Being told to rat out your friends makes me sick. Kids have no values anymore, jeez.

I guess it’s really an option; if anyone wants to participate in the class and assignment, they have that right, and I exercised mine not to. But I encourage others to do the same.