Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saying No

I've always been a person who rejects plastic and paper bags at grocery stores, delis, etc. but I often get stuck with extra items that I know they will throw away if I hand them back (plastic forks, spoons, napkins). I usually bring my lunch to work so this isn't a problem but the past week I have been overwhelmed with various things so my grocery shopping was slipping leading me to buy lunch this past week. So, I started keeping track of the various items that I say no to and the different things that I get stuck with even though I try to reject them.

I am keeping a running tab but after one week it has been:

Rejected Packaging: Starting April 14th 2008


Paper Bag: 8

Plastic Bags: 2

Napkins:2 (bunches)

Plastic Fork:3

Plastic Knife:1


Paper Bag: 1

Napkins: 3 (bunches)

Plastic Fork: 1

Now, I'm sure the last thing everyone wants is a running tab of this but I think it's a good experiment to visualize just how much packaging everyone who isn't saying no is receiving. I'm sure it adds up very quickly. This isn't even including bags that I would have needed for groceries if I didn't have a cloth bag... perhaps I should estimate those into the mix.

The point being is this... A bag doesn't make carrying everything easier. Sometimes it's just one item and people still bag it. Are we uncomfortable with people knowing exactly what we are carrying? Is it really necessary to get your cup of coffee bagged from the deli under your office? 5 cups of coffee a week x 52 weeks in a year = 260 bags in one year. That's a lot of bags just for the sake of a coffee... (not to mention to cup and lid that hold the brew). It's not just about making steps to reduce, it's about thinking about what you are doing instead of going through the motions that everyone has become accustomed to.

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