Yesterday I went to a district training. Knowing there would be coffee offered with disposable mugs, I set my travel mug out… then left with it still on the kitchen counter. The coffee at the meeting smelled good, but I couldn’t bring myself to use one of the styrofoam cups provided.
Then a colleague started handing out individually-wrapped trail mix from Trader Joe’s. Let me give a little history here: I love that trail mix. I used to bring it every year as a snack for my students to eat during their break on AP exam day (this year I’ll buy bulk trail mix at Winco and provide a scooper so students aren’t just reaching their hands in). I was tempted. Instead, I pulled out my container of almonds and resisted.
I should note that because of Celiac disease, I’m accustomed to bringing my own food and snacks everywhere. There’s no guarantee I’ll be able to find food I can eat, so bringing my own is probably easier for me because there are immediate health consequences I can’t ignore in addition to the environmental consequences that can be too easy to ignore.
About an hour into the meeting, our activities director brought bottled water, plastic-wrapped muffins, fruit in plastic (gah!), bananas (no plastic!), and a plastic bag of individually wrapped candy.
I resisted (and I’d already packed my own banana, so I left those to the others).
Lunch was mostly filled with gluten, but the salad section was safe, so I filled a couple of my then-empty snack containers with lettuce and other vegetables rather than use the disposable plastic plates and I used my own utensils. A few people asked me why, but no one thought me strange (or any stranger than they already think me). Considering many had their own reusable mugs and water bottles, it’s possible I may have even inspired someone to bring their own dishes next time. I can dream, right?
I also resisted the provided pens and highlighters, opting for my own refillable ones.
When I got home, I ordered some twist-top tins from specialtybottle.com for my homemade lip balms, lotions, sunscreens, and deoderants. I sent them an e-mail asking that no plastic be included in my packaging, and they replied within five minutes letting me know they were happy to oblige.
In the evening, I renewed my Sierra Club membership and assembled our new composter with my husband.
Overall, it was an earth-positive day.