Monday, October 01, 2007

Well, It Certainly Looks Like Garbage...

So today's my last day of participating in Tess's Trash Challenge. Woo Hoo!! I must say, I've been obsessed about how much trash I've accumulated this past week. I learned that while it was easy for me to produce less garbage when I was doing my usual routine (get up, go to work, come home, play with pups), it was exceedingly difficult for me to produce less waste when I was in a social situation (going to a friend's house, dining at a restaurant, going out for a hot chocolate or tea afterwards).

Overall, I think I did okay (though my data are at work, and of course, my camera was at home today, so I can't provide you with all the details at the moment--I've chalked this up to being a Monday!). One area for improvement, though, is for me to *remember* to bring a container for my leftovers when I go out to eat. And I was thinking that I should request a mug (or bring my own travel mug) when I go to a cafe, too. I thought of this when my friend Len and I went out for hot chocolate on Saturday night. But then two thoughts immediately followed: 1) I would've had to have ordered a medium or large-sized hot chocolate in order to use the cafe's mug (and I ordered a small) and 2) I didn't want to violate this social norm while I was out socializing with my friend. So as you can see, I successfully rationalized my way out of engaging in this eco-friendly behavior. As penance for this gross inaction, I've decided to hang onto my styrofoam cup and container for next Spring's IUSB Styrofoam Recycling Drive.

And really, this is only an approximation of how much trash I actually generated this week. I'm sure more trash was produced on my behalf when I went out to eat, for example. Case in point, last night my friend Dan and I went out to dinner. After eating our meal and having dessert at a nearby cafe, we inadvertantly walked behind the restaurant en route to the parking lot. The timing was perfect; employees were taking out the trash. "You see, this is what I was talking about earlier," Dan said. He was referring to all the indirect trash that's generated throughout the process of consumption. Indeed, we were walking through the underbelly of this Italian restaurant. Bags upon bags of trash were thrown into the dumpsters.

So, I must say, my eyes have been opened a bit more, thanks to this exercise. I'm glad I did this, and I would recommend you trying it for yourself. If you think you can't handle doing this for a week, then try doing it for 2-3 days. I promise you'll think about your trash (and your behavior) with a different perspective!


Dan Myers said...

I can't imagine doing this for a whole week--it was bad enough watching you do it! That statement is a testament to how lazy we've gotten (or at least how lazy I've gotten) with our garbage. I will, however, stick to my promised and try a shorter variant of this next week for Peace Blog. Congrats for making it through the week!

Meghan said...

Great job, Michelle!

Michelle Verges said...

Hey guys, Thanks for the good cheer! :0)

And Dan, good luck with the trash challenge. I look forward to reading about your experience on the Peace Blog. Oh, and here's a quick tip before you start the challenge: Just say 'no' to wings!


Dan Myers said...