Posts tagged ‘sustainable’

Moving Beyond the Plastic Paradigm

Plaza cafe...so artsy.

by Chase Eck

My friend Stephen and I were in the library a couple nights ago. He was learning everything there is to know about the Holocaust, and I was writing a paper analyzing different historical perspectives on the Israeli war of Independence in 1948. Clearly we needed a break. We moseyed on down to Plaza café and swapped light conversation about looming demographic problems in China and electoral models across democracies over steaming cups of Seattle’s Best. Sometime during the conversation I realized just how many points I had accrued during my study break and vented my dismay to Stephen with some well-chosen words.  Stephen’s response was: “Well you just have to count the plastic right?”

Of course as anyone who is familiar with the No Impact challenge knows I couldn’t just count the plastic.  I had to count the cardboard coffee cup as well. That’s the point, it’s easy to fixate on one easily identifiable culprit such as plastic or oil but the truth is the issue is so much broader.  We need to move beyond the latest villain of the day and seek to identify why wasteful behavior is so bad and work to better our habits with regards to that issue as well as others.  Plastic bags aren’t inherently bad, it’s just that the number we consume is so wasteful. This concern applies to all single use items, not just those made of plastic.

April 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm 2 comments

Ice Cream and Pedicures: Indulgence can be wasteful

by Naomi Harris

While it has only been two days, I’ve accumulated more points than I thought I would this early in the game. It will take a little time to get used to it and  to remember to always have the No Impact Challenge in mind. The first day I accumulated zero points…until my friends decided they wanted Andy’s frozen custard after dinner. Allured by my favorite combination of chocolate frozen custard whipped with reeses and topped with hot fudge, I didn’t hesitate to agree. Then, walking into the shop, it hit me: I had to think beyond eating the ice cream and consider the points I would get from the disposable container. Already in the shop, my sweet tooth and love of ice cream took over. I decided I would get a point so I could have my custard. I wasn’t sure how to handle it, should  I eat the custard with twinges of guilt for the waste I was generating, or limit myself from indulging while all my friends did? Unfortunately, dessert won over my self control.

My second challenge came when I decided to get a pedicure. A somewhat indulgent activity that I don’t do all that often, after a week of my feet in the sand over spring break I decided it was about time. I enjoyed the foot bath and foot massage, but then came the downside: plastic wrap. This may seem slightly (or very) strange to some boys out there, but part of the pedicure process is applying parafin wax and then wrapping the foot with saran wrap. Yeah, I’m starting to realize the weirdness of it right about now as well. The No Impact Challenge is sure to bring about all kinds of realizations. Anyway, as my feet were being wrapped in plastic, I had to ask the question, does using disposable food wrapping count when its used, of all places, on my feet? Sadly, of course the answer is yes. Who would think a little foot pampering would lead me to getting points? Now I know to think twice before getting any beauty treatments, and, if I go back anytime soon, to make a special request for the nail salon to skip the plastic wrap. If anything good comes of it (besides soft skin), maybe the mental image of plastic wrapped feet will make everyone think twice before they use it at all. (I spared you a real picture.)

On the brighter side of things, while running errands with a friend I stopped her from taking 4 shopping bags. Even though I have accumulated a few points myself, being conscious of my own actions has definitely had a positive affect on those around me. Some of my friends might call me a crazy hippie at first, but explaining the game only spreads awareness and gives me even more  justification for calling my friends out on their wasteful habits.

So far it’s been fairly easy to meet the challenge when at home, but  disposable containers creep up in all sorts of situations when I’m out and about. The key will be thinking out every situation before I participate, and equipping myself with the essential reusable utensils and containers whenever I leave the house. Unfortunately, having a tupperware on me wouldn’t have solved my pedicure debacle.

April 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment


No Impact Challenge for May 2012!

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