Environment vs Convenience

     I feel I do a pretty good job taking care of the earth.  I’m sure there are ways to do even better but at Voyageur we recycle paper, glass, tin, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, printer cartridges, magazines, and bring any other usable items to the thrift shop in town.  I can’t stand throwing things into the garbage so anytime we’re doing a clean up we haul mounds of items to town to the recycling center.  I refill my travel bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., from my bigger bottles even though it is messy and time consuming.  On our recent trip to the State Fair I was reminded that there are a number of other ways I could easily do more for the environment.

     The State Fair had a great building that contained an exhibit called The Eco Experience.   It was presented by the State Fair and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and it was awesome.  There were displays on all sorts of things including water, green buildings, solar and wind power, transportation, organic foods, and recycling.  With the beginning of school right around the corner at the time we were visiting the Fair one area of the exhibit really hit home.

     The exhibit was called Trash Mountain and it focused on reducing the waste a person produces.  A single person in Minnesota throws away more than 40 pounds of garbage in one week.  Much of that garbage is in the packaging of products that we purchase.  We are living in a throw away world where many items are packaged for convenience as single use or disposable.  While these items may make our lives easier they are creating havoc on the earth and our landfills.  

     I realized I was contributing to the problem of waste by purchasing items for convenience.  Instead of purchasing items in bulk for the kid’s school lunches,  I was buying for convenience.  The little individual packages of cookies, crackers, raisins, nuts, pudding, and more sure are convenient but I could just as easily purchase them in bulk and re-pack them into re-usable containers.  Not ziplocks, not single use plastic ware, but containers I would need to wash when returned.  The plastic spoons I put in their lunches could be replaced with real spoons and the paper napkins could be replaced with linen napkins.   

     By purchasing items in bulk and re-packaging them I would not only be saving money but also be helping to do my part in reducing waste.  Maybe if I do my part then others will also make a few simple changes that could help our environment.  Do you have any ideas for reducing waste or recycling to share with my blog readers?  If so, then please leave a comment, I’m always interested in finding out more information and ways to help save the earth.  You can find out more information at http://www.reduce.org