#MyWasteMyWay: Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow Alumna is Transforming Our Perceptions of Trash

by Alexander Mitu on October 29th, 2017   426 views

In 2012, humans generated 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage. Much of this waste ends up in landfills, which not only pollutes the earth on which we walk, but can also permanently disturb the natural world around us. One young Fulbright Scholar, Lilly Sedaghat, is on a mission reduce our garbage footprint by transforming the way we think about trash through storytelling.

Former Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow & Coach and current Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storyteller, Lilly Sedaghat wants to transform perceptions of trash from something disposable to something valuable.

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Instagrammer mimi_kessler enters the contest with a creative reuse of old fabrics.

To encourage people to redefine waste, she recently launched the #MyWasteMyWay environmental education digital media contest, which runs as a series of themes announced every 3 weeks. Participants will have a week after a particular theme’s announcement to submit their entries, and winners will be selected one week following the deadline.

“Trash is out-of-sight, out-of-mind,” she remarked. “But it doesn’t just disappear. It ends up in our oceans, in landfills, in our food – we can’t escape it, so we need to transform how we use it.” The #MyWasteMyWay encourages participants to use their creativity, explore the waste management systems in their respective communities, and implement solutions through the arts.

About the Contest


Samantha Teachworth from California builds her own “snowman”

The first theme was “Redefining Waste – Use your trash to create a bold recycled masterpiece!” which asked participants to put on their creative hats and turn their trash into artful masterpieces. Each submission included a digital photo showcasing the artwork and a brief 250-word description of the art piece (what trash materials used, how the art should change the perception of trash by the viewer). All photo submissions are uploaded to Instagram with the #MyWasteMyWay hashtag and tag @lillysedaghat.

The second contest theme is: “Post a photo of a creative way to drink your drink without using a plastic straw!” Submit your photos from November 5 – 11th for a chance to win fun eco-friendly prizes and a showcase of your work on the Nat Geo Voices blog!

You can view the full contest timeline here.

Follow her adventures on Instagram @lillysedaghat, Facebook @MyWasteMyWay and the Nat Geo Voices Blog!


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