I don't live a zero-waste lifestyle. It's halfway through the month, and I have definitely made some garbage. I have been bringing my little bag of garbage in my backpack to work every day. There was a joke on one of the first days of the pledge that the little bag of garbage is the bag of SHAME, and let me tell you, it feels like it. Here are my most embarrassing pieces of garbage that I've collected so far:
5) Chip bag. I haven't eaten any chocolate bars, granola bars, gum, or individual candies in two weeks. However, last weekend, my friend Daryn came over. As we had planned for serious chilling out, I made cake, and he brought a big bag of chips and reese pieces. God they were good. But I had to add them to the bag of shame.
4) Empty chocolate chip bag. These lasted a while, since I bought them to make chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's day. I have to say that they were excellent, and my very not local strawberries were so incredibly delicious dipped in these melted chocolate chips.
3) I could seriously eat vegetarian sushi every day for lunch. The foil of the individual soy sauce containers at Sushi Shop are not recyclable. I have a few of those.
2) Daryn also brought me a lotto ticket. Not only did I not read the instructions and did the game totally wrong, but I didn't win. And I've been carrying it around ever since.
1) Styrofoam take-out container. Man, that thing is shameful. Let me explain. This past week, my friend Stefi and I went out for lunch. I had already explained my no-garbage situation, so we had to pick somewhere that only had real plates and silverware. Of course, I forgot a tupperware that day, but I told myself I would just have to eat everything on my plate to prevent food waste. I didn't take into account how little time I had until my class would resume, so I ended up with a big plate of fries, salad, and a hamburger with 15 minutes to devour it. I had just taught my class about how food in landfills rots due to lack of oxygen, and produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas. So which is worse to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years- a Styrofoam container made from oil, or rotting food that contributes to climate change? I scarfed away, but with only two minutes and half my meal left until I was supposed to get back to teaching, I had to ask Stefi to get a to-go container for me. I hoped that it would come in a clear plastic recyclable container, or an aluminum one with a carboard lid. When I saw her again, I realized with horror what I was stuck with carrying around for the rest of the month: STYROFOAM! I don't mean a little Styrofoam container. I mean a big, spongy, bright white huge container that makes me really wish I had remembered to bring my tupperware to lunch.
These past two weeks have definitely been a challenge. But it's kind of funny sometimes, when I notice I've been hoarding snotty tissues or orange rinds at work so I can compost them at home. Or trying to explain to the ladies who work at the bubble tea place that I want a bubble tea with NO straw, because I brought my own and they can't be recycled. You have your own straw? Yes, I brought my own plastic straw. Or the other day, when I went to a lunch meeting. I figured there would be reusable dishes, since it was a pretty environmentally-themed project. Nope. I stared at the food, figuring out which I could eat without a disposable fork without completely embarrassing myself. I snuck out of the meeting with a paper plate so I could compost it at home.
I was working in Quebec City over the weekend, and I brought my own tupperware to the sushi shop before leaving for the bus. Realizing that I forgot my own chopsticks at home, I decided that I probably don't even need chopsticks as long as my hands are clean. People looked at me kind of funny when I ate sushi on the bus out of a tupperware with my hands.
I'm an eco-conscious girl from Montreal, Quebec. I'm currently an adjunct science professor at Champlain College of Vermont (Montreal Campus). I'm interested in any opportunities to expand my experience with grassroots activism, climate change legislation, or environmental education.