I recently read a post from my favorite, and possibly only one I follow, sustainability blogger: Sustainability In Style. She made a post regarding the repentance and averageness of the same old ways people are told to be more eco-friendly; such as using reusable bags, turning off the lights, and recycling. These things are easy to advertise, simple to do, and most even have financial incentives now in some states of the U.S. These are the things most people are bombarded with and this is what only comes to mind when some people think of modern environmentalists. So she wanted to outline some other uncommon ways people can be more sustainable in their daily lives.
I personally related to one of them immediately as I had an experience very similar to the one she was describing. It was about refusing extra packaging or unnecessary items that an ‘Eco-Ninja’ might not want. For instance, at GMU we have a big number of fast-food places that automatically think you want to take your food to-go even though there is seating available at the space. One time at Panda Express, I asked to have the order for dine-in, not to-go, yet they put my food in a Styrofoam container, in a plastic bag, with plastic utensils to boot. I was very frustrated as all this plastic was to waste and I didn’t even have a choice! Styrofoam is one of the worst kinds of plastics and it can no longer be recycled because of the food content. I didn’t need a bag since I was going to dine-in. And I intended to eat there, so I brought my own reusable silverware. All of this could have been avoided if I had a say in my own meal.
This made me think about the multiple systems that are put in place for us as humans, where things are automatically done for us. It is sad to think that this had become so automatic for them to use this unnecessary plastic for every customer, regardless of their potential to make more eco-conscious decisions. And this also upset me for the lack of choices our society and its set systems have for us. We have become easier to manage and control through these set systems to continue the ‘status quo’ that unfortunately means degrading our environment as well. For those who are already more eco-conscious, it is appreciative when we have more of a choice as to what we actually receive with our products bought. The provider may think of it as a nicer gesture to provide these things, but then when I refuse the extra, I don’t want to be looked at as odd for my decision as well. Do I actually need this receipt? No. Do I really even need a straw with this drink? Nope. More choices in how people can experience services may just make people think more about what they really need, rather than automatically getting the environmentally degrading option.
Sustainability In Style blog post: http://sustainabilityinstyle.com/top-tips-to-be-an-eco-ninja/