Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top Ten Eco-Sins

Yeah, I crow about our petite carbon footprint.  But I also worry about the times that we fall short.

Let me count the ways:

10.  We still use plastic baggies for lunch.  Okay, we're using them very sparingly - one a day for my son's sandwich, and sometimes for the odd novelty that doesn't fit into a container.  I'd happily trade the baggie for a plastic sandwich trapper, but a) Freddie eats his turkey'n'American on a whole grain mini bagel, and they fit awkwardly into the containers; b) Freddie's beloved Stripey the Tiger lunchbox has an unusual shape that won't accommodate another plastic container.  When we upsize the carry-all, we'll find a suitable reusable substitute, too.

9.  We have only greened a fraction of our Health and Beauty products.  In fairness, I stockpile this stuff so far in advance that I routinely have a six months' supply on hand.  But I haven't stopped accumulating, either.  I'll admit it:  I like to bargain hunt.  I like Pantene.  They put coupons in the paper, and then my local Target puts it on sale and I am attracted, like a moth to the less-than-environmentally safe flame.  It doesn't help that green alternatives are pricey, and it could take many bottles of experimentation before I land on one that works.

8.  I am addicted to Coca-Cola.  Yes, I know.  It has no nutritionally redeeming value, and even the diet version does bad things to your system.  I've been cutting down, and buying 2-liters instead of full strength.  But it's an un-green weakness of mine.

7.  We don't compost.  More on this in a future post, as I'm still considering taking this on.

6.  I use those disposable scrubby head toilet cleaners.  Yeah, they're wasteful.  But I never know where to store my toilet brush.  So along with my Simple Green and Method Shower Scrub and Seventh Generation multi-purpose cleaner, I've got these little Clorox jobbies.

5.  I buy 100-calorie packs.  Possibly the decade's greatest contribution to over-packaging, second only to the Lunchable, I'm still a sucker because a) I have little willpower when it comes to an open bag of cookies; b) it allows us to keep a wider variety of snacks on hand and know that they'll be fresh when we open them, which is infrequently.

4.  I'm having our closets customized.  A true eco-chic warrior would repurpose some fabulous containers and completely kit out their closets without much expense or negative environmental impact.  Me?  I'm not that handy.  So out go the wire shelves and in come the custom-cut units.  I tell myself it's something more durable than furniture and thus a good long-term investment.

3.  J'adore television.  And no, not just the History Channel and A&E.  Trash television.

2.  I bribe my child with Matchbox cars.  The packaging crazes me.  I worry that they've been made by prisoners in horrible working conditions in Chinese factories with no environmental standards.  And lead paint.  But it's still just $1 - the cheapest incentive ever for potty training and other desirable behaviors.

1.  We eat red meat.  Don't get me wrong - we don't eat much, and we don't eat it often.  But I'm just not ready to give up my weekly cheeseburger indulgence.  It's not anything against veggie burgers, as much as it is the occasional longing for a good ol' fashioned burger and fries.

So there you have it ... my ten most grievous sins against Mother Earth.  Here's hoping the good stuff that we do outweighs our shortcomings.

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