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Posted Mar 13, 2010 in LifeStyle | 0 Comments

Do Away with Portable Waste!

If you are trying to be conscious of the waste that you produce, a great way to reduce your output is by nixing to-go containers.

Coffee cups:

For those of you who buy coffee on the go regularly, carrying a portable container with you is really easy. Imagine all the coffee cups with hand protectors, sugar packets, and lids you have used in the last week, or even in the last month. Now imagine them all in your closet. That is what you leave behind when you get a coffee cup to go, only you cannot see the waste it makes. It is in the dump out of sight and out of mind. Bringing your own mug is easy to get accustomed to once you get in the habit.

Water Bottles:

Water bottles are just terrible. In Canada there is no excuse to buy bottled water. Buying a filter is a lot cheaper than the added cost of buying bottled water and it reduces your waste. The argument that water bottles can be recycled seems sound, except for the fact that the actual percentage of bottles that get recycled is a under 20%. Recycling plants are so overwhelmed by the amount of water bottles that need to be recycled that they often do not get through them all. Plus, if you leave the lids on, they are likely to be put in the garbage instead. Sadly, such is the nature of the recycling industry. For coastal cities, one of the killers of sea life, especially birds, are the rings that are broken from the caps. Often, animal will mistake these rings for food and eat them. Start practicing bringing your own thermos of water (they can even be fashionable while you are making a worthy statement!) because March 11th is Bottled Water Free Day!

Take-Out:

Although some restaurants are trying to be more eco-friendly by stocking to-go containers made of recycled materials (you can recognize them by their paper-bag brown colour) and the even-friendlier ones made from cornstarch (these are bio-degradable), you can do even better by bringing your own containers. Asian restaurants are the worst culprits as most of them use Styrofoam containers (these things make me cringe) that do not break down and are made out of petroleum. Do you really want your food sitting in one of those things? If you live in the city, the solution is quite simple.  Take a walk and order your food in person, bringing your own Tupperware with you. I understand that after a busy day the last thing you might want to do is walk, but it is healthy for you and can be a great way to unwind. Or even hit up your favorite place on the way home from work.

Now, we are creatures of habit and if something is not yet a habit,  it can fall by the wayside. And all these items can easily be stored in your purse, knapsack, or car! So here are a few tips on how to remember to bring your own containers (tried and tested by me!):

● Put it/them somewhere you will remember!

If this post moves you at all, get up get your portable mug or thermos and put it by the door, your keys, your lunch, your coffee maker-wherever you think you will not miss it when you fly out the door in the morning.

● Think Ahead!

Do you usually drink coffee on the go? Do you think you might get the notion to? Will you get hungry later on and be too tired to cook? Have you been craving sushi lately and feel like a Dynamite Roll? Use common sense and know your habits.

● Eat/Drink In!

When you are with a friend or even by yourself and you go into that coffee shop, is it necessary that you take it with you? Why not sit down and enjoy your conversation on the patio, or in the warmth, or even during a people-watching session? I see people all the time drinking their tea out of  paper cups while sitting inside Blenz and I wonder why they did not just ask for it to be put in a regular cup.

● Punish Yourself!

When I started to wean myself off of plastic bags, I constantly forgot to bring my reusable one and I would get so angry with myself. So, I started to a) put it where I would remember it, as I mentioned before and b) when I forgot it, I would force myself to carry every last item home with me or keep purchasing a new one until I remembered the bloody thing every time. When I forgot to bring my mug to school with me, I would not allow myself to buy myself a steeped teato teach myself a lesson. Eventually it sunk in and fairly quickly too.

I hope these tips have helped!

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