Sometimes, I think about our consumption and what we can do to make less of a "footprint," to use a popular buzzword.
For years, I've used reusable fabric bags to do my shopping. (One of my pet peeves is when cashiers automatically put my purchased items in a bag when I only have one or two things instead of asking me first if I need a bag.) Most of the bags I used I received as schwag at conferences I've attended. When reusable shopping bags popped up in mass quantities in every store, it seemed good ... and bad - like an interest in reducing waste prompted an increase in consumerism, and I wondered if it was counterintuitive.
Sometimes I forget to use my bags, or I don't have enough of them. For the most part, we reuse or recycle any plastic bags we bring home. We recycle lots of things, actually, even though our apartment complex has no recycling receptacle. But we could do better.
We take lunches in Tupperware containers - perhaps plastic is not the ideal option, but better than throwing away plastic baggies every day.
I have several travel coffee mugs, which I use when I make coffee at home, but I never think to take them with me to the coffee shop. I always wonder why Starbucks sells its iced drinks in recyclable plastic cups, but offers no separate bins for recyclables. (Also, didn't Starbucks years ago used to serve your drinks and pastry on plates and in ceramic mugs if you weren't taking them to go - or am I thinking of another place?)
I've cut way back on drinking bottled water. (We use a Brita water filter at home). When I do grab a bottle of water, I usually reuse the bottle a couple times - and then recycle it. But as a whole, Americans use way too much bottled water and I know I contribute to the problem.
The point of all this rambling is, I often think about ways I can do better, but I haven't taken as many steps to accomplish that as I could or should.
I stumbled upon a blog this week where a woman is attempting to go "A Week Without Plastic." It seems extreme - but it's an interesting look at how much plastic we use each day. (Also, love the idea for their "Week Without" series and may copy it one day here.) She's so far written about the first day, and the questions she raises are interesting and hopefully will inspire me to try a little harder. Check out the background here and the day one post here.
Have you made changes to reduce your waste? What are some simple things to cut out or change, and what is just too difficult to change?