Making choices about being less wasteful (I am talking specifically today about keeping things out of the trash and recycle bin) and caring for the planet are inconvenient and hard.
Our infrastructure is not setup to make it easy, it’s set up to dangle disposable convenient things at you at every turn as if it was expected and you have to accept it because it’s the norm and that’s just the way it is.
But you don’t have to choose that. You don’t need to be on auto-pilot, you can refuse those disposable convenient things and retrain yourself to know you have a choice.
Disposable Expected Convenience in action can look like this -
- Sitting down at a restaurant and before you have a chance to settle in, you’ve got glasses of water with plastic straws in them.
- You run into a store to grab one item and at the register the cashier has bagged your item in plastic while you process your credit card.
- Going to your dentist for a cleaning and them handing you a plastic bag with a plastic toothbrush in plastic/paper packaging, a mini-toothpaste tube in paper packaging and a mini-dental floss in plastic packaging.
- Ordering take out and you open up the bag at home and all disposable utensils, mini-sauces, and paper napkins are in the bag.
- Planning a summer BBQ at your house and buying the disposable cups, plates, napkins, utensils, cans/bottles/plastics of drinks, some prepared food, etc. so you can have great time in your backyard with friends and family.
Our own actions look like this -
- We all expect water to come to our tables at a restaurant right? It doesn’t matter what they use to bring it in. It wasn’t our choice, but we expected it to land on our table.
- We expect all items we buy in a store to be put in a bag and handed to us. We didn’t make that choice, but we expect it.
- We are all told to see the dentist two times a year and at the end of the visit we know we are gonna get that goodie bag. It wasn’t our choice to get that bag, but we expected it and may or may not use the things in the bag.
- We order take out most of the time because we don’t want to cook or do dishes and it’s an easy clean up of putting it all in the trash. The world of take out gets this and for our convenience has wrapped it all up in a nice plastic or paper bag and handed it to us. It’s not a choice we made on how we get the take out, but we expect that it will be all given to us.
- We expect that if an event is happening outside or with “more” people that we are gonna get disposable items. We may have made this choice, but it’s because it’s expected, it’s the norm, that’s what you do.
We can CHANGE our behavior with our everyday actions -
- When you get to the restaurant, look around at the tables, see what is provided and make your own choice for water. No plastic straw please. I’ve brought my own water bottle. I don’t need a refill on my water.
- At the store you can make your choice on how to take your purchases home. Bring your own bag, drop it in the bag/purse you are already carrying or just carry it out in your hand.
- When you get to your dentist appointment, just mention to them that you don’t need the goody bag at the end of your cleaning. Using your voice is a choice.
- When you order take out that is coming to your home, make the choice to use the items in your home. Your own dishes, cutlery, napkins and ketchup from your own fridge. You are gonna have to tell them not put any of those items in your take out bag. Again, using your voice is a choice.
- For a BBQ at your home, use the items in your home. I don’t know why we have the idea that with a kitchen a few steps away that is stocked with all the reusable plates, cups and utensils we have buy disposable ones. Are we afraid that we are more clumsy outside and they’d all break? Is it that we don’t have enough for the amount of people coming? Is it because we just don’t want to do dishes? Either way you can change the norm and not use disposable. Use what’s in your home or make an one time investment and get reusable plates, cups and utensils. Don’t want to do the dishes? Suck it up and just do them! OR fill a tub up with soap water and let them soak overnight and do them later.
When you realize you have a choice, there is one more thing you need >>>>>>>> you have to care.
You are not gonna do inconvenient, hard, speak up things unless you really care and are motivated by that. I have a person in my life who is the embodiment of not “caring” (although she is the most unselfish person I know) and expected disposable convenience. She is always getting push back from me on so many things. It’s hard for her to understand my choices because she doesn’t know the state of waste she’s been a part of.
I am asking her to care and you to care.
THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS. (I can link a bunch of things here for you to read or listen to but, yawl aren’t gonna click em all so….)
Here is just one piece that I recently just listened to and I hope will it will encourage your participation.
By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
The same person also just told me that what I am doing doesn’t matter and that I am just one person, how does it change anything if I am the only one who cares. I kind of sank into the floor because sometimes I do feel that way and when I do, I give myself a dose of inspired education. I do believe every time you make a choice that is against what expected and someone else sees or hears that, you’ve just planted a seed in them - this is your sphere of influence.
We do need policy, infrastructure and systematic changes, but I know we are headed in that direction. There is no way we are gonna continue to let our waste destroy this planet that has been nothing but generous to us.
Q: What’s one thing you’ll do that is against the norm?
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