Frequently Asked Questions

If this is the “No Impact Challenge,” why are we not considering water, electricity, gas usage as well?

A:

We decided to include only single-use disposable items as points in order to maintain simplicity for the competition. By gaining an in-depth awareness of one sector (disposable waste), we hope that participants will continue to reflect individually on the impact of their habits on other sectors.

Why do recyclable items count for points?

A:

While recycling is an excellent practice whenever possible, recycling rarely recovers all of the materials in disposable items and consumes energy and other resources. Habitually going without disposable items is a better practice than habitually recycling.

Should I count a point if I’m sharing a food item with a friend/family member/living companion?

A:

Yes, but count this point as a ½ point. You’re still using the single-use disposable item, right? Examples may include: a shared box of pizza, a shared bag of candy, a shared bottle of wine, etc. (each ½ point).

Why do I count tissues and paper towels if I’m not counting other personal hygiene items?

A:

We figured that tissues and paper towels are easily replaceable (with one or multiple handkerchiefs and air-drying), whereas other hygiene necessities (toilet paper, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene items, etc) are not. Essentially, if an item cannot reasonably be replaced with a more sustainable practice or item, it's not counted. 

Should I count a point if I’m given a (insert disposable item here), but don’t use it?

A:

Yes. You can always ask for “no napkins please” or bring your own reusable mug. We try to count points for items that are unnecessary or avoidable, and many times, they are if you ask. Don’t take it too personally though – we fully understand (and have experienced) situations in which it’s impossible not to gain a point or two. Part of The Challenge is to realize that there are certain institutional barriers that prevent us from reducing individual waste.