March 2017 Weigh-in: Pack it in, pack it out

This is the first time I attempted to go a whole month with only my mason jar. Up until now I've filled it in about a week, or would have had it overflowing in a month. But this March, I succeeded!  I produced 91 g of trash this month, which is just 0.2 lbs! That's just 0.05 lbs per week, which would be pretty good for me anyway. 

My jar this month was full of trash from my backpacking trip, fruit stickers, a powdered sugar bag, tea wrappers, and several other non-descript pieces of plastic.

My biggest pieces of plastic were a plate and fork. Why did I end up with these, you ask? Well, someone from one of my jobs hosted a dinner party.  She prepared a BEAUTIFUL meal. I brought my own cup, but wasn't prepared for plastic plates and utensils.  I didn't want to ask for one of her plates and forks, since she had gone to so much trouble to prepare a wonderful meal and host us all.  So, I simply washed this plate and fork between dinner and dessert, and kept it.

I chose to take the plastic over being perhaps mildly rude, but why? When I talk to people about what I'm doing and why I have a few codes that I like to follow:

  1. Do not be rude
  2. Do not be condescending
  3. Generate excitement, not guilt

These are guidelines I came up with when I became a vegetarian in order to avoid being considered a stereotypical "pretentious vegan/vegetarian."

If I had asked my coworker to use one of her plates and forks because of this project that I was doing to reduce plastic waste, it may have made her second guess using plastic ware, but it also probably would have made her feel bad, perhaps embarrassed or ashamed.  That is not how I want people to feel when we discuss zero waste lifestyles. I don't want to shame people into going zero waste or lowering their plastic footprint, I want them to feel empowered, educated, and excited about it! 

So, long story short, I now have a plastic fork and plate added to my trash bag. However, one of my co-workers who does know what I'm doing asked me about it and started a whole conversation with a large group of people about it, I'll count it as a win!