I recently listened to a podcast of The Story featuring Ashley Menger. She did an experiment where she carried all her non-recyclable, non-compostable trash with her for 2 weeks. You can read about it and about other people who are trying this also on her blog.
It got me thinking about how far you should go to be environmentally friendly. She started to carry around her own silverware and cloth napkins so she didn’t need to use plastic spoons that she would have to add to her trash pile. That lead to a discussion of how much of a scene are you willing to cause to be environmentally friendly. Are you uncomfortable asking for no silverware and napkin because people will look at you strangely?
They also discussed what I’d call “surprise trash.” Like getting a cloth napkin circled with a paper wrapper. I got an ice cream cone the other day that had paper attached to the base of the cone for no really good reason that I could fathom.
I’m on a personal crusade against plastic bags. Whenever I ask for no bag in a store the cashiers look at me like I’ve grown two extra heads. How could I possibly carry a pair of socks to the car with no bag? Even better is when I’m at the grocery store and I take my own bags. Then the baggers feel compelled to wrap my stuff in plastic before they put it in my bags. They are trying to be helpful and I feel bad about asking them to stop. How did it get harder to use less packaging than more?
Speaking of reuseable bags, there was an article on it in a recent Vogue. (Don’t mock. I get it from the library to read the articles.) I read this article because I was glad to see the issue being brought up in a decidely non-environmental magazine. But although the article was very well done, the examples of reuseable shopping bags was a bit extreme. $875 for a small bag, anyone? Or would you prefer over $1000 for Hermes? Maybe if my bags cost that much I’d want my salsa wrapped in plastic first.