At the beginning of 2015 I wrote a post about a little change I made to be a little more environmentally conscious. I switched from plastic to glass drinking straws. You can if you wish read about that here. I was pretty proud of myself for not putting this
into the landfill each year. I knew in my heart that was the least I could do. Since then My wife and I have endeavored to do even more after watching this video.
I started working in a restaurant the middle of last year and I couldn’t believe how much waste occurs and is going into our landfills. It’s not just plastic, but Styrofoam which currently cannot be recycled and many restaurants use for their to-go containers. One day I watched our deli team get a HUGE to-go order ready. Styrofoam to-go containers were stacked from the counter way up towards the ceiling, and I thought OMG! that will all end up in our landfill and it doesn’t biodegrade. WTF! Why are we doing this?! I started to think of all the restaurants that use plastics and Styrofoam containers and I tried to get a visual in my head of what that really looked like added up. It was horrific. What people and even I myself failed to realize previously is that even though we can recycle plastics; all we are really doing is down-cycling them. They don’t truly go away, they just get re-used. That’s better than just thrown into the landfill, but it’s not good enough, because more and more single use plastics keep being made, used, and thrown away and do not get recycled. It will take all of us to change this. We have to change our own thinking, and then we have to urge others to be more environmentally conscious. There are some restaurants that already use recycled to-go containers, which is something, but still not enough. Long ago I also wrote about attempting to bring my own to-go containers when purchasing food to go, like salads, and asking the restaurant if they could just put it in my container instead of the plastic one. I touted in that piece that The Habit burger grill actually allowed me to use my own container for my salads to-go, but sadly since then I have been told by management that they will no longer allow me to do that. I intend to write several letters to restaurants that we frequent and urge them to be more environmentally responsible. Which brings me to what you/we can do. We may not be able to get a restaurant to package our food to-go in our own containers but if you eat out at a restaurant you can bring your own go containers for your leftovers. Again, its something. We are doing our best to avoid altogether single use plastics. That means utensils, straws, to-go containers, left over containers, baggies, bottled water, the list goes on and on. I am ashamed to admit that we use to use a lot of baggies. They are so damn convenient. We do our best not to use them now. Of course, there isn’t a lot you can do about the way things are packaged except to recycle what you can. We long ago stopped purchasing bottled water. We filter and bubble our own water at home and refrigerate it when need be. It seems selfish to me to use bottled water at home when we already have everything we need to avoid that, but we also do not use it when we are out. We bought ourselves water bottles, which we love, to carry with us and get water when we are out and about. We drink mostly water and if we stop somewhere we have noticed that many of the restaurants offer a single use plastic or Styrofoam water cup that you then throw away, and you know they are not recycling all the waste that’s used and thrown away there. So now we just carry these for water and we never have to throw away single use cups.
But we have also now made ourselves a kit that we keep in the car for when we are not at home…. to help avoid using single use plastics.
It’s a little effort, okay maybe a lot of effort over convenience, but if everyone made a little effort I think it would help tremendously.
Also there’s this possible future solution… futuristic…but it sure would be awesome.