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The Story of My Points

Deliciousness...in an evil disposable plastic container

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.

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April 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Being Sustainable with a Runny Nose

by Alicia White

What do pizza and having a runny nose have in common? Find out in my video post:

April 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Say hello to my little friend, the Tupperware.

by Alicia White

Since starting the No Impact Challenge, I have cringed at plastic water bottles, shunned paper napkins, and cowered from paper coffee cups. My backpack is a little fatter now, as it always has my thermos, my Sigg water bottle, a Tupperware, and a cloth napkin. For the most part, these changes in my lifestyle have been fairly easy, since I already used a thermos, water bottle, and Tupperware. Other things, however, have required a little more thought, such as last week, when it was my turn to cook dinner. Conscious of my new involvement in the No Impact Challenge, I planned out exactly what I would get at Whole Food to make sure that I would be able to get it all without using plastic produce bags. As I went down my list, all was well, until I got to the chicken. How was I supposed to buy chicken without any plastic packaging?? I’d only ever seen it sold on either Styrofoam plates or wrapped in paper and plastic. It was only the third day of the Challenge, and it seemed like I was destined for defeat. But I refused to give in to the nefarious Styrofoam tray. I pulled out my secret weapon from the cabinet: a large, red Tupperware. If not using disposable packaging meant that I was going to be the weirdo bringing her own container to the grocery store, then so be it. I was not about to let a measly piece of Styrofoam ruin my disposable-free day.

Excited, but a little apprehensive, I approached the meat counter with my trusty red Tupperware in hand. I asked the man behind the counter if I could get 1.75 pounds of chicken in my own container…dun dun dun…and he said, “Of course!”

Success! I had conquered the evil Styrofoam tray! Sure, I might have gotten a few weird looks in the process, but it felt awesome. By refusing to accept the conventional corporate packaging, I had stood up for my rights as a conscious consumer. Even though I had only saved one piece of Styrofoam, I felt empowered because I was able to make a deliberate choice. My short trip to the grocery store had taught me an important lesson: being the weird hippie is actually pretty fun.

April 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm 2 comments


No Impact Challenge for May 2012!

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