Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Week: Waste Not, Want Not

Today, along with No Consumption from yesterday, is No Trash day. The idea is to see if wasting less improves life. So far I've thrown away a used tissue, a cotton ball, a granola bar wrapper and an empty tube of toothpaste. I'm getting the hang of it, though, with my recycled water jar (used to be a spaghetti jar) and recycled tote bag (used to be two t-shirts).

A big challenge today is few items are made with environmentally-conscious packaging--so if I want a granola bar, I have to make trash. Making homemade granola would sidestep this. Or--and if you are a business person, a light bulb just went on above your head--we find a way to make our packaging eco-friendly. The ice cream cone is a perfect example--all parts are used, there is no container to throw away. So do we wrap all our snack foods in waffle cones? Not quite. The best course of action is to stop buying these snack foods, the disposable, one-time use, on-the-go type. Not only do they waste a lot (in both the production and consumption phase), they are generally unhealthy (even the health foods--check out all the preservatives, additives, and non-food in those!). BUT, I do have to give a nod to Sun Chips. True to their word, they have created a chip bag that decomposes within 14 or so weeks. We're not going to stop businesses from creating their product, but we can influence them to create friendlier products.

More ideas until all packaging is decomposable:

-Bring reusable bags to the grocery store so you don't have to use plastic bags (in some stores bags cost extra money so it's in everyone's best interest to bring their own).
-Steer clear of products in plastic, cardboard, Styrofoam, fresh fruit and vegetables instead! Even better, buy them from a farmer's market instead of the grocery store.
-Cut up old t-shirts for rags and napkins instead of using paper towels.
-Bring a reusable mug/thermos to get your morning coffee.
-Use both sides of the paper (print double-sided and write on the back of scrap paper).
-Give people experiences (massages, concerts, sporting events) as gifts instead of things needing lots of wrapping paper.

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