I struggled a little bit this weekend in terms of refusing or reducing waste. There are some days when I am so prepared and have what I need to get around single use containers or plastic.
It started on Friday at the dentist. This was my first visit to a new dentist since my last checkup. The receptionist was so friendly that I was caught off guard when she handed me my plastic bag of toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and other dental hygiene goodies. I couldn't refuse and say no. So as I was holding this bag of stuff that I clearly did not need, I felt guilty that I accepted it so easily. I could have gone back and returned it, but I didn't.
After my appointment, I went off to have lunch with my husband. He picked Thai and I ordered one of the lunch specials. My eyes were greedy and I ended up ordering an appetizer at the last minute. This in turn caused me to only eat half of my entree and the rest was boxed up and put in plastic bag.
The next day, I went to visit my sister and we took a stroll through the park. This time I was prepared and had my re-usable cup in case I needed a drink, however, upon arriving at our restaurant of choice for dinner, we ordered lemonades and it came automatically with straws. Now, I used to be the person that requested straws for everything, but seeing this and not having a choice really annoyed me. What got to me the most was the fact that I didn't even think about not asking for a straw.
So this weekend, I felt like I really struggled with the refusing part of the low waste / zero waste life. I realize these may seem like minor things to worry about, but for me every little thing counts and makes a big difference.
This weekend I learned the following:
- Spend some time thinking about your actions and its results. For example, getting more food than I knew I was hungry for will result in a to go box that will likely be in plastic so choose wisely.
- Observe, observe, observe. See how things are being delivered and asked to refuse certain items ahead of time.
- Don't make assumptions. Ask questions about how items come in, size of the meal, default packaging, where clothes are being made, etc. This only serves to reduce waste in more ways than one. It also makes you a more informed consumer and there's nothing more powerful than that.