Revolutionizing My Daily Routine

April 4, 2011 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

A Constant Reminder

by Isaac Alpert

I let out an aggravated, four-letter expletive immediately after spilling milk all over the front of my jacket during breakfast on Saturday. However, my hyperbolic cursing wasn’t due to the dairy wetness, but rather my acknowledgement that I couldn’t use the dining hall paper napkins to dry my fleece without sacrificing the addition of a few points to my score as part of the “No Impact Challenge.” But this game is not about convenience or forfeiting points sparingly; it is about reformatting daily routines to decrease my own carbon footprint on the Northwestern campus. This thought occurred to me as I gently dabbed my fleece with a friend’s used napkin that he was on the verge of discarding. The obvious lack of cleanliness concerning my wardrobe aside, this game has slowly been affecting my thoughts on all of my supposedly habitual wasteful actions.

Having been bitten by the green-bug, I am now saving all rubber bands that go around my mail, carrying Tupperware with me wherever I go, and utilizing receipts as bookmarks and ersatz Post-it notes. I have also been avoiding litter-prone items, such as groceries with superfluous amounts of packaging (i.e. Oreos) and the tantalizing peppermints in every dining hall. And along with my own seemingly bizarre – but simultaneously environmentally conscious – new tendencies, I am attempting to ensure that those around me are cognizant of their disposable goods, too. From plastic spoons to paper towels, I have realized that nearly all one-use goods can be replaced by long-term items that won’t end up in a trashcan, a fact that I am sure to relay to all of my friends. Unfortunately, carrying around your own silverware and dishtowel has not become a ubiquitous convention among Americans.

The Way of the Future

However, even I – and more specifically my tummy – cannot withstand all things that come packaged in paper and plastic. So around 2:30 am in the morning, I found myself crouched over a chicken sandwich at Burger King. But I believe that my gluttonous BK run perfectly illustrates the point of the “No Impact Challenge”: I am not trying to avoid all establishments that don’t serve their customers with solely reusable items. Rather, I am trying to transform as many different aspects as possible of my own routine without sacrificing the ability to flawlessly function in a consumerist society. And so far, it hasn’t been too difficult; my trashcan is still empty after this weekend and there are no signs of milk on my fleece.

Entry filed under: No Impact Challenge. Tags: , , , , , .

Ice Cream and Pedicures: Indulgence can be wasteful Wet Hands, Wine Tasting, and Unsustainable Sustainability

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Tracking the Challenge

April 2011

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