So I'm a pretend environmentalist... meaning, I care about the world and how we're affecting it, but I am not educated on the topic enough to always speak intelligently about it. There is so much conflicting information when it comes to being 'environmental.' One person will tell you recycling is the end-all-be-all to living 'green' while another will tell you the energy used to recycle is greater than that if you didn't. We live on this beautiful, complex and intricate planet with over 7 billion other human beings, I don't know that there will ever be a formula that will accurately calculate how our actions today will truly affect our world tomorrow.
But it's impossible to ignore that we ARE in fact, affecting our tomorrow.
Most of us recognize our world as infinitely beautiful and want to help it stay that way. But knowing what we can do isn't always easy. I came across a quote recently that put some of my environmental desires & doubts into perspective.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. - Maya Angelou
Regardless of what anyone else in the world is doing, there are certain truths that remain, whether or not ignoring them has become the norm. Waste for example is, for a lack of better words 'bad.' Creating waste or being wasteful is just not a respectable or easily defendable quality. But we've been born into, facilitated and diligently perpetuated a culture that wastes... everything... from our cutlery to our clothes to our coffee cups. We shrug off wasteful behaviour because it's become the norm... because 'everyone's doing it.' But that is the problem. Everyone. is. doing. it. And due to a rapidly growing population, more people are doing it every day. At some point, we will reach a tipping point.
I'm as guilty as many. I drive a car, I take hot showers for more than 5 minutes, I don't ALWAYS make the greenest choice. But I do put in a solid effort to reduce waste, especially where the sacrifice to do so is incredibly insignificant.
Here are my top 3 easiest ways to reduce waste today:
1.) Keurig Style Coffee Pods
I feel like the birthing story of coffee pods goes something like: 'One day, someone smart and evil was sitting in a room, drinking their 7th cup of coffee that day trying to answer the question "how can we get rich AND just screw over the world, like right now?" And BAM! Cute, little, hard to recycle, single cup pods were born.'
Single cup!? Genius! Single, plastic cup 1-7x per day for millions of people all over the world... you monster.
(The supposed true story is that John Sylvan, the inventor of K-Cups supposedly now regrets inventing the pods due to the extensive and long lasting effect his invention will have on the world.)
If the simple environmental logic doesn't sway you, how's about this:
1.) They are more expensive.
Let's do some quick math.
Costco: A box of 96 K-Cups = $66.99 = $0.70 per cup
Costco: 6 pounds of Costa Rica Beans (192 Tbsp) = $54.99 = $0.29 per cup
The difference is not 'earth shattering' in cost, though $0.41 per coffee adds up over cups, days, weeks and years. If you drink coffee once per day from age 25 to age 80, the money you'd save drinking delicious ground coffee vs. pods would be roughly $8,200 per person. It doesn't sound like much, but double that if your housemate drinks coffee and then again if you're 'more than 1 cup a day' kinda people. By the end, you'll be sitting at roughly $33,000. And if the cost is something you can swallow, is the end product?
2.) They taste... not awesome.
Enough cream and sugar can make a dirty mud puddle taste delicious.
3.) There is an easy alternative.
At my work, using a Keurig machine is my only option for coffee. However, with the purchase of 'Cafe Cups' for $16.99 from Amazon (I got mine from Canadian Tire), I just fill it with my own socially and environmentally responsible, sustainably grown, high-quality ground coffee for less than half the price. (I buy my coffee from a certified 'B-Corporation' - a topic for another post, but worth a google) It tastes better and over the year or so that I've had it, I've reduced my own personal waste by approximately 520 pods.
2.) Plastic Grocery Bags
I've been trying to use reusable bags forever! I always pull up to the till at the grocery store and cringe realizing I've forgotten them for the 1 millionth time. Until I had my own genius idea this past month.
I now store the majority of these bags IN the trunk of my car. It's way nicer to not have them in your house and this way, you always have them with you at the store. Once I've emptied them of groceries, I put them at the front door to go outside and next time I leave, away they go, back to the car, ready to save the world one grocery bag at a time.
3.) Plastic Plates & Cutlery
So, I get it. We all love the convenience of using disposable plates & cutlery when we're camping or having a picnic in the park. I sometimes still do this, it's not awesome, but it's decently understandable.
What's a little less understandable is inviting people over to a house that literally has a beautiful chrome, ultra silent, high efficiency, German-speaking dishwasher just asking to be 'usened' and all of the guests are using plastic plates & cutlery. And on top of it, there's an unspoken rule that when you use plastic utensils, it's somehow unsanitary to use it for more than one course.. so in any given evening, each guest has used 3 forks, 3 knives and 3 plates for their appy, dinner and dessert. !$%@*!
Seriously, this makes little things explode in my brain!
And for what? Because we invited more people than our number of forks? Because loading the dishwasher was just too large of a task? I honestly don't get it. And what frustrates me the most, is I'm usually the only person in the room who thinks that it's odd.
It seems incredibly backward to me. It makes me sad and ashamed. Is this not such a symbol of ignorance... western privilege.. utter disrespect for the beautiful world that sustains us?
Ask someone to bring extra forks. Let people offer to do dishes (this is sometimes the best opportunity for a quality conversation).
Being wasteful is not a quality we should aspire to. We know better and we have the means to do better. These are small things that make a big difference and it's just up to each of us to decide which difference we want to make.
Hi, I'm Lindsay! I am the self proclaimed soul-mate to my hubby Ryan and wannabe philanthropist. I have a passion for writing, street bikes, & rescue dogs. This blog is a random compilation of my daily (formally diagnosed) ADHD thoughts and activities as I try to make the world a better place.