I’m never off on weekends, so I haven’t had a Saturday kind of feeling in a long time. But a couple of weeks back, I took advantage of the day and headed up to visit my church group, who was taking a weekend lake trip. I was determined to make it a completely zero waste day, but I did end up making a little bit of waste. Here’s what I threw out:
- Chick-fil-a breakfast
- paper plate
- paper napkins
Really though, that’s it! I’m pretty proud of myself. It could have been much, much worse. I’ll break down my explanation for each item used:
- In prepping for zero waste trips, it’s always important to be prepared in every aspect. Well, I woke up way too late and didn’t give myself enough time to eat a zero waste breakfast from home, so I had to get myself some food. Chick-fil-a is one of the only places I can eat and not get sick with my food allergies, so I got some breakfast there. Unfortunately, nothing was zero waste. I mean nothing….plastic containers, plastic wrapping, plastic straw, plastic lid, styrofoam cup, paper napkins, the whole shebang. Making my own coffee from home would have also eliminated the cup!
- I ate two meals at the cabin. When I had lunch, I didn’t see that the cabin was stocked with reusables, so I grabbed a paper plate just like everybody else on the trip. But I did use a ceramic plate for dinner!
- I’m learning that I actually prefer washcloths over napkins. It might look very strange to my coworkers when they see me with a washcloth in my lap while I’m eating, but it’s definitely what I prefer. That being said, I didn’t end up using a washcloth to forego the napkins…even though I brought my own washcloth so I wouldn’t have to use them. Ugh.
- I have a terrible, terrible soda addiction. I’m trying really hard to find zero waste alternatives to love, but the options are slim to none when it comes to soda. I do indulge on canned soda (and occasionally the dreaded plastic bottled soda), but I make a point to hold onto the can so I can take it home and recycle it.
Moral of the story is this: going zero waste isn’t easy. You have to rethink how you do your entire day. You have to ask yourself questions like, “How will I eat today? Will I get fast food? What is the least wasteful way to get my food? What else will I be doing that might create waste?” It’s these kinds of questions that will help you be prepared, wherever life’s journey takes you.
So, here’s to all the adventures I’ll be taking down the road…and being prepared wherever I go!