Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Going Green Means to Me

When it comes to conservation, no one is perfect. We're all busy, preoccupied, broke and lazy. But if you stop to think, for just a few minutes, about our impact on the environment you might be surprised at all the waste you produce and all the little ways you can avoid it. Statistics like "The average person produces 4.4lbs of waste a day or 29lbs of weight a week" (source) are all over and sound big but don't really hit home with many Americans.

Why is this?

Because I doubt that most people can really conceptualize 4.4lbs. A bag of flour and a newborn baby, for example, are usually bigger than 4.4 lbs. "Besides, those things are so SMALL. So what's the big deal anyway?" They think. Well then, how about 29lbs? A toddler, maybe? I can't really think of anything else off-hand at that weight. Even if you did the ol' 29lbs/wk * 52 weeks in a year = 1,508lbs. How much is that, really? The number looks big but do you know if it is a ton? I sure don't. And even if I did, would a ton really mean anything to me either? All I think of for "a ton" is one of those cartoon anvils falling on Wile E. Coyote. So, that's not helpful.

Hence my point that statistics are not all that useful. However, I dare you to catalog all the waste you make every day for a week - all the "disposable" kitchen ware you use, all the plastic wrappers, office supplies, packaging for kids toys, tag attachments etc. etc. That's not even including all the paper, glass, metal and food waste. Now THAT hit home for me.

What hit me even harder is how so much of that stuff can be avoided. How many times to do go to a fast-food type place and just get water? There's one disposable plastic cup right there. Why not just bring a water bottle? It's still water. Or how often do you just get absolutely fed up with plastic shopping bags exploding from whatever receptacle you try to cram them into and just throw them away? That can be avoided with cloth shopping bags - they hold 2x as much and can be used for SO many things.

These were the little things that I thought of and said "Hey, I can do that!" Of course, it takes a bit of remembering and discipline to overcome my laziness and go back to my car when I've forgotten my reusable bag, but the satisfaction I have when I return with a week's worth of groceries in 3 non-plastic bags is totally worth the extra 5 minutes. And even though sometimes I am too tired to care or forget and end up with a plastic bag or two, I've gotten into the habit. Nowadays it seems very hard to forget this.

However,, I've noticed the amount of waste that I still produce and am looking for other ways to cut down on that. So welcome to my blog where I'll log all the waste I make and try to find solutions. I'll also post the anti-plastic things I'm working on doing with tips on how to do them effectively as well as my future green goals.

Like I said, no one's perfect but if we strive to be a little MORE perfect, it'll make a world of difference


  1. Every little bit helps, I tell myself. I've managed to do a lot to cut down -- partially, I'll admit, by being too broke to buy anything, but hey, I'll take the upside. :P

    Looking forward to seeing more of your writing!

  2. Kate: part of my effort is that I STILL have your jar from bath salts that I haven't been able to return since I haven't been around much. But I'll get it to you soon! =)