Congratulations y’all! We’ve made it. The final results are posted below. Even if you accrued a few extra points during the week, remember that the challenge is about remembering what the most wasteful parts of our lives are and doing our best to correct them–stating on an individual level.
Without further ado…
So my household ordered pizza tonight. First order-out/delivery all week. Do I take a point for the pizza delivery box?
Like the other No Impact contestants, I consider myself to be very aware, as well as very conscientious, about how my actions impact the planet on a daily basis. It is true, however, like Alicia pointed out, that a single delivery (or, in my case, take-out) meal, can have a huge impact. I spent much of Thursday feeling very self-righteous. I found myself like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 who stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.’ In my case, it was more like, “Thank God I’m not like this woman in front of me in line at Jewel asking the cashier to double-bag her groceries.” And I yelled at the cashier at Whole Foods who tried to put my soap in a bag. I even gave one of my reusable bags to a guy on a bicycle whose groceries were about to spill out of his splitting paper bag. But then I dropped my son off downtown at the Metra station and realized it was right around the corner from Pastoral which has the most delicious sandwiches. So I went in and realized that every single item was going to cost me. But, in addition to the sandwich, I still couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase a bottle of delicious sparkling juice (I was very thirsty and had forgotten my water bottle.) As they say, “Pride goes before a Fall.” Alas, Earth, I have sinned against you today to the tune of three points.
As a second-time contestant in the No Impact Challenge this year, I had no worries. I’d done it before, so this time should have been a piece of cake. By Wednesday, I was doing fairly well, I thought. Taking a reusable bag to the grocery store has long been ingrained in my behavior, and as a coffee addict, I make mine at home in a mug or travel thermos. Because I live off-campus, it’s easy to buy groceries in bulk or large containers to avoid unnecessary packaging. My downfall came on Wednesday night, when my boyfriend and I decided to order in Joy Yee’s. The allure of late-night Chinese delivery was simply too great, and I had to give in to the deliciousness of crab rangoon and pad see ew in little plastic containers. As I reported my points the next day, I was struck by the number of disposables in just that one meal. (Of course, I will be reusing several of the containers too!)
The lesson I’ve learned is that being conscious of your footprint isn’t a one-time thing. You can’t think about it, forget it, and expect to keep reaping the benefits. Instead, it’s a never-ending process toward sustainability. And just like plastic bags in a landfill, we keep on having an impact on society’s sustainability. Unlike plastic bags, however, we are capable of changing our impact–both for the better and the worse. It’s up to us to start thinking like people rather than plastic bags.
Sorry for the delay! Here are Wednesday’s impact results. Some of you are still hangin’ in there at ZERO. Bravo!
by Madeleine Steger
When I signed up for this challenge, I was like, “Zero points – done.” I already have lunch and dinner at my apartment almost every day, so there goes any disposable dishware. I carry chico bags in my backpack and purse, so the only times I get a plastic bag is if I get take-out, and the person comes to my door with my food in a bag. My only vice is using too many paper towels, but I figured I could stop myself from doing that.
So, my two points: the first one is from ignorance. For some reason, I didn’t realize recyclables counted (stupid, I know) so I ate a yogurt the first day of the competition. After I realized my error, I haven’t made the same mistake again.
I figured, fine, one point – I was going for zero, but one isn’t too bad.
Then yesterday, I used a paper towel to dry my hands in the restroom, and mid-drying I stopped and was like, “NOOOOO…”
I knew better, but habit got the best of me. I hope I finish this challenge with only two points, but I’ve come to realize that it isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Recycling doesn’t excuse single-use items, and habits can be harder to break.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to avoid points… One might say obsessing about it. Part of it is wanting to be sure I of all people am ‘walking the walk’ & and part is a desire to be sure to beat my boss in this competition😉. I started the week by pulling out a stack of cloth napkins so I’d be sure to remember not to reach for paper at home (we compost napkins at home). And I brought a dish towel & napkin in to work with me. In general, I use Tupperware, bring my own lunch, make coffee at home & transport it in my mug & the rest of the day drink water, out of my reusable bottle. I have stopped myself from reaching for a can of LaCroix, letting myself get take-out for lunch or going to the vending machine for an extra snack. These aren’t things I do often but this week is making me considerably more aware of the impact of those activities. Whether you are racking up points or keeping your score low, I’m sure all are becoming more aware of the waste we generate on a daily basis. Awareness is the first step in behavior change so hopefully we’ll all walk away from this experience more apt to consider our actions & prone to avoiding unnecessary waste!