Written by Journalism Staff Reporter Catherine Golovin
You may know the muffin man... but do you know the Juice Man? Zachary Giddeons, better known as “The Juice Man,” briskly makes his way through every table in Allatoona’s chaotic cafeteria with a plastic bag of surrendered juices and a mission. His goal? Eliminate juice waste- completely.
Standing in the cafeteria line waiting to grab a tray, a line of small red juices sits atop the gleaming metal shelf by the side salads and sweet potatoes. As you prepare to punch in your number and buy your pizza, you’re reminded to pick a side. The juices are quick and convenient to grab, so you put one on your tray and go sit down to eat. When the bell rings signaling the end of lunch, you hear the familiar clamor of seats scraping against the floor and hundreds of trays dropping in the large black rolling trash cans. Among the ocean of used forks and scraps of food, the unopened red juices litter the sea of garbage, like castaways at sea.
Zach saw this as an incredible waste and knew there was something he could do about it. From that day forward, the Juice Man was in business. “Every day during lunch, I go table to table, collecting the juices from people who don’t want them. I get around 20-70 juices daily... when lunch is over, I give away the juices to my classmates who want them. If I have any left over, I give them to my younger cousins,” says Giddeons. When asked about his motivation to begin this project, he told me, “I transferred to Allatoona this year, and I wanted to meet people and make new friends. I saw that a lot of juice was being wasted, so I used it as an opportunity to make a difference while starting conversations with people. Now everyone knows Juiceman!” And indeed, Zach has made quite a name for himself among the students of Allatoona, as seen in his YouTube Channel, “Your local Juiceman.” His channel consists of interviews with fellow students and updates on his average juice intake. If you learn anything from Zach’s inspirational story, you could note that one person can make a difference in the waste while simultaneously reaching out to entertain and make new friends.