I recently started reading No Impact Man. Within the first 50 pages I was starting to worry and stress and second-guess myself as to whether I am doing enough or not. I buy fast food and throw away the wrappers. I throw away things that simply need a rinse to recycle instead, because I don’t want to take the time. I use aluminum foil instead of my reusable silicone baking mat instead of going out and buying a baking sheet that’s big enough for the mat. Yesterday I actually wrestled with myself over the desire to get a hot lunch that was meatless, which meant Chipotle. I didn’t want to have the excess waste, but I didn’t have anything else.
Then I read more of the book Thursday night. He went through almost the same dilemma, but then realized that he shouldn’t be panicking. Because while we do throw away a lot of things, it’s not the end of the world if it’s once in a while. There’s only so much one person can do. Yes, if you’re willing to go as far as he did, you can throw nothing out. But for most of us, who don’t want to or can’t go that far, there are still things that aren’t going to be reusable or recyclable. Our society and commerce have become one full of disposable items. Yes, there are many ways to avoid using them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t go to Chipotle every once in a while to get some awesome, whole food.
It also gave me perspective and helped me realize how much I do that is beneficial to the planet. I recycle as much as I can. I use reusable items when it’s possible. And when I can’t, I try to use environmentally friendly products when available. For example, while I do use aluminum foil, it’s 100% recycled foil. I don’t know how much is post-consumer, but it’s recycled. I also use 100% recycled tissues and toilet paper, unlike how No Impact Man used to “blow [his] nose on dead trees”. I am no ‘poo and loving it. I also use Dr. Bronner’s soaps in the shower, in the kitchen, for general cleaning, and for hand soap in the bathroom. I buy Seventh Generation products for the dishwasher and the laundry. I have reusable dryer cloths that I’ve just recently gotten through using once and have started using again, which is so awesome!
Basically, while the book is full of ways that I could go farther, it also makes me feel good about where I am right now in the grand scheme of being green. Also I have no plans to further try to get my husband to go greener than he is right now. It’s better to be doing what we’re doing now rather than drag him kicking and screaming, against his will into further greenness. I salute Colin, the author, in how he got his wife to go along with the project, but that’s not for everyone. Love you, dear! 🙂