Monday, March 31, 2008

At Least Some of The Coffee Was Fair Trade

This weekend I went to a conference about 3 ½ hours away. (It was a fantastic conference, if you’re wondering, about youth and conflict – specifically conflict resolution education. Enthralling, important work presented by people from 19 countries…and yours truly.)

On the way to my parents’ house the night before the conference, I stopped at a gas station for a Starbucks double shot of espresso. The next day I got an iced coffee drink in a plastic cup, because I had forgotten my travel mug at work. (So this was pretty ironic!) At the conference, I drank a Diet Pepsi from a can and at a boxed lunch. The next day, I succumbed to the coffee again and used two Styrofoam cups. (Two because they wouldn’t let me bring any food or drinks into the keynote speaker, so I never got any of the first coffee). There was another boxed lunch, Diet Pepsi, and a good cup of coffee (Whole Foods, dark chocolate mocha. Sigh.) for my drive home.

It made me feel AWFUL.

On a normal weekend, I create little waste – maybe some plastic bags from carrots or a paper bag from flour. And some food scraps because we stopped composting. (It smelled. SO. badly.) We use small plastic bags for our trash (reused grocery bags) and take it out once or twice a week.

Here was my waste this weekend:

* 3 aluminum drink cans
* 2 Styrofoam cups
* 2 boxed lunches with disposable napkins, forks, plastic containers, plastic bags, etc
* 1 plastic cup with lid and straw
* 1 coffee cup with plastic lid and cardboard sleeve
* A take out box and paper bag for my Tofu Pad Thai
* Oh, okay, and a little paper bag from Taco Bell (Cinnamon twists are my secret love!)

In two days, I created as much waste as Mike and I create together in about 10 days.

It makes me feel guilty, especially because I could have avoided using 3 cups if I had remembered my travel mug.

And I really didn’t need to drink the Pepsi. But it was free. And I was thirsty.

It might be really silly that I felt a major twinge of guilt for creating so much more waste this weekend. I know the nature of traveling is disposable items, but still.

Maybe I should view this as progress – that I’m becoming more aware of my consumption; that I can’t just mindlessly create trash without thinking about my actions.

Now, I just need to work on that pesky Target habit.

Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008

Oh! How convenient! Crunchy is challenging us yet again; this time, to not purchase anything new for the month of April. Not counting food, of course.

I’m going to challenge myself one step further – and say no disposable convenience food. That means if I forget my travel mug at work, I’m stuck with nasty office coffee.

And if I’m hungry, I either eat at home or somewhere that doesn’t use disposable products. If I eat out, I’ll either ask for foil for my leftovers or bring my own Tupperware.

It’s against my American nature of impatience and laziness. If I’m hungry, I want to eat NOW. If I’m craving something, I want it ready, NOW.

But I’m going to try and make a conscious effort in April to be less selfish and less of a consumer.

Baby steps.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog through Tipp and I'm already loving it!


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