Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sayonara Starbuck's (and Plastic Bags)

Yesterday was Earth Day 2008. (You know what is really amusing? My first attempt at writing that sentence came out like this: Yesterday was Earth Day 2002. Temporary Brain Glitch). In any event, as I was saying, yesterday was Earth Day. Did you participate? Take any eco-friendly action, become more eco-conscious (like learning about sterile "terminator" seeds engineered not to reproduce themselves)?

I'm excited and proud of myself because I implemented two changes this week to reduce my Ecological Footprint. Both of them are just little things, but they're positive steps in the right direction. Thinking about climate change, air pollution, disappearing bees, bats, tuna, and wild salmon, and the type of massive change and international cooperation that is going to be necessary to save the planet (and us) is too overwhelming. But, thinking about the little things each of us can do, step by step, to contribute to a more positive world, is totally within the realm of the possible. Here are the 2 little things I started this week:

1) Carrying a small reusable bag in my purse: I have an adorable little vinyl bag that I can fold up into a tiny square and keep in my purse. I've started carrying my breakfast to work in the bag, and also using it at lunch when I go out and buy a sandwich. Instead of using the paper or plastic bags all the lunch places automatically pack your food up in, I use my own bag (and even sometimes carry my co-workers food back to the office). It also comes in handy if I pick up something little - food or other things - after work. On Monday, I had a totally plastic-bag-free day. I want to build up to plastic-bag-free weeks, and eventually go totally plastic-bag free. That's one of my goals for this year.

2) Saying sayonara to my daily cup of Starbuck's: My friend Sage had the brilliant idea (she does it every day) to bring a french press to work and to store loose-leaf tea and coffee at her office. Each morning, she makes her own coffee or tea at work and uses a real mug. I've had quite a long love affair with Starbuck's but it's time to say goodbye. The coffee is not that good, it's an unnecessary expense, and most importantly, I generate unnecessary garbage by patronizing them. At a cost of $2 per cup, I spend at least $480 per year on Starbuck's, and toss at least 240 paper cups into the trash every year. That's horrible! I want to clean up my own act and start living in a more sustainable way. Today, I'm happy to report, I used no disposable items to make my coffee, and it tasted quite good!

What eco-friendly little things do you do? What could you do?


wordnerd said...

Hey cute stuff...I'm just getting around to catching up on what's going on with you...sounds like you've had a hella, hope you are feeling better now...this post seems like it!

Starbucks IS expensive isn't it? Especially if, heaven forbid, you get anything OTHER than regular coffee. I used to stop at Second Cup at least every day (most days twice) and I found that it really added I reserve it for a treat or when I am feeling kinda needy...I've found that it saves money and I tend to appreciate the ritual just a bit more.

I hope all is well in your end of the world.

Spring has finally arrived here and not a day too soon!

tara said...

You could always carry a reusable mug into Starbucks for your coffee. You don't have to use the paper, after all.

There are tons of little things.
We don't use the plastic produce bags at the grocery.
We carry our own reusable bags to the grocery.
When we bring home a plastic bag we keep it and recycle it.
We reuse water as much as we can, i.e., I use the leftover water from the dog's bowls or egg boiling or such to water the indoor plants.
We make the effort to sort our recyclables and actually recycle them, which is apparently something that a lot of people still don't do.
It's really just a matter of thinking things through. Do I really need this? Can I reuse it? Is it recyclable in any way?
If you get three nos, then try to think of an alternative.

jehara said...

those are great ideas. i just got a big canvas tote for my birthday, which i plan to use for my groceries. i stopped buying bottled water for my home three years ago and got a brita filter pitcher but i still need to get a reusable bottle to take to work. i want to get to the point where i never buy bottled water.