Monthly Archives: May 2012

Catering woes

Okay so the catering situation was pretty much as I imagined. My special gluten-free meals at breakfast and lunch came in big plastic containers.  So now to my plastic intake on this trip add:

  • two plastic food containers

Though I am failing to have zero plastic intake, I would like to list for you the plastic items that I normally would have used, but didn’t:

  • I did not take a piece of hard candy from the hotel lobby
  • I did not use the styrofoam cup that fits into the coffee maker in my room.  (What happened to glass?) I couldn’t use my travel mug because it was too tall to fit in the shrimpy coffee maker.  Rather I used the Grey Poupon jar that I had brought my salad dressing in.  Also note that I did not make coffee, but rather ginger tea, because making coffee would’ve caused me to open a plastic wrapper that houses the coffee grounds.
  • I did not take a toothpick from the restaurant at dinner even though I had food stuck in my teeth, because the toothpick was wrapped in plastic. (I think the fact that toothpicks now come individually wrapped in plastic should bother us.)
  • The only water in the meeting room was in plastic bottles.  I didn’t take any, but rather used my water bottle and refilled it in the hall.
  • When I got food from the buffet I used my empty catering containers instead of taking a new plastic plate.
  • I used the silverware I brought instead of the plastic silverware provided.
  • I used the pitcher of creamer in my coffee instead of the individually wrapped creamers.

I still like my “everybody carry a spoon”  idea.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot today (but not so much that I did the calculation).  I need a catchy name and then I’m going to figure out how to make it go viral.  Spoonerism.  Don’t give me a spoon!  Spoon me!  Don’t spoon me!  Let’s spoon America!

Don’t give me a spoon!!

So I managed to get Frozen Yogurt in the airport and NOT get a spoon.  I watched her serve the person before me and I saw how she just stuck that spoon right in there and I knew I didn’t have time to make a mistake while she was making mine.  I said “Don’t give me a spoon!” right as she put my last topping on.  In my next entry I might try to calculate the amount of plastic the world would save from being created if we all just carried around our own spoon.  Don’t you think that’s a good idea?  It’s not very much to ask.

On a side-note, I must’ve been out of California for too long because I don’t get the point of frozen yogurt anymore.  It sucks.

But let’s back up, I have taken 3 pieces of plastic into my possession so far, and I’ve only been gone for 14 hours.

1) plastic wrapper for a feminine hygiene product that I suddenly needed while on the plane.

2) one straw that came with my water at the Thai place I had dinner.  I kept it!  (I had to make sure not to let them wrap up my left-overs)

3) one key-card for my hotel room.  I discussed this with the nice man and he assured me that if I return my key-card at the end of my stay, that they will re-use it.  He did say that they eventually wear out.  So I don’t think my impunity is complete here.

I’m a little worried about how the catering is going to look at the meeting tomorrow, especially because I requested gluten-free stuff so they’ll probably put it in its own packaging.  Stay-tuned…

Mission: Travel with zero-plastic-consumption

I decided I needed to try traveling without consuming plastic.  Here I am on the plane to LAX having not ‘consumed’ any plastic yet.  What do I mean by “consumed”?  I basically mean that I don’t buy or accept anything that has plastic in it.  So far so good.  I packed lots of snacks (although I ate them all already) and managed to get my drink on the plane without the plastic cup.  In this frame of mind I can tell you that the Philadelphia airport looked like shop after shop selling plastic-wrapped stuff.  There was plastic everywhere I looked – plastic water bottles, fruit-cups in plastic, candy in plastic, styrofoam take-out containers, plastic silverware.  I discovered that if you BUY NOTHING it’s pretty easy to not buy plastic.  When you actually get hungry it gets a little trickier.  I have with me a set of silverware and a mug, so if I found take-out that came in paper or cardboard, I might be able to get take-out.  My thought, however, is that I’m just going to actually sit down and eat in restaurants instead of get stuff to take away.  This is going to seriously interrupt my usual style of grab and go.  Perhaps that’s a good thing.

The other extra things I packed that I don’t usually are (1)soap, in case the hotel soap comes in plastic and (2) shampoo for the same reason.  For clarity, my shampoo bottle is plastic, but it was purchased last year and I am regarding it as a permanent item in my life.

For those of you just tuning in, or perhaps for those of you who have forgotten what’s going on here because it’s been so long since my last post, the idea behind all of this is to spend a year regarding plastic items as items that are with us for the long haul on the earth – as things that will last 1,000 or 10,000 years, because they probably will – rather than as cheap things that can be disposed of easily.

Landing in LAX is going to be an interesting test, because I’m going to be starving and tired and will need food.  Stay tuned….