Yesterday, I alluded to the several pounds of carbon emissions I contributed to the atmosphere (I’m guessing) by driving all over hell’s half acre and back, and how we’re really going to have to capitulate to suburban living in the next few months by buying a second car.
I don’t want a second car. Aside from the fact that I’m reluctant to take on the cost of buying and maintaining and insuring a second car, I’ve always been a pleased with our reduced eco-footprint as a single-car family. I’m
happy to content with tolerant of commuting to work by bus.
Now, not only are we looking at a second car, but we need seating for five, and room in the back seat for three car seats. I’m holding out hope for the Mazda 5, but am thinking we’ll have to capitulate to a (whimper) mini-van. Talk about joining the dark side! At least, I suppose, it’s not an SUV. Or a Hummer.
So anyway, I’m writing all of this while I’m thinking about the BlogHer Act Canada September Challenge, which asks us to consider the various ways we can reduce the disposable packaging in our lives.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “What the hell? She’s supposed to be writing about how we can reduce our eco-footprint, and she’s talking about how she’s planning to DOUBLE hers.” The point is, I need to compensate. If we’re going the way of the two-car family (the minivan-and-car family, David Suzuki forgive us) then we’re damn well going to have to find some other way to contribute.
So I took this Eco-Footprint quiz to give myself a baseline, and to maybe see where I could make some improvements.
The Eco-Footprint calculator measures the amount of natural resources an individual consumes in a given year. The “average” Canadian consumes the equivalent of 8.8 global hectares per person per year. According to the quiz, I’m consuming 7.8 hectares per year… but on average the world has just 1.8 hectares of natural resources per person. I’m doing a little bet better than the average Canadian, but barely.
The kicker? “If everyone lived like you, we would need 4.3 planets.”
Ouch. And that’s BEFORE the second car.
The quiz also showed me that while I am doing (relatively) well in transportation and shelter, I really need to improve in the categories of “food” and “goods and services.”
And lookit that, here we are back on topic. What better way to start than to look for ways to reduce excess waste from consumer packaging.
Here’s what I am going to work on. They’re small changes, but I’m only going to commit to what I’m sure I can manage, and go from there.
First, I’m going to get a thermal mug and carry it with me. Inconvenient, yes, especially for the person who always forgets to wash it out at the end of the day. But I’ll save 25 to 40 paper cups a month – that’s a good start.
Second, I’m going to be more diligent about using my reusable shopping bags. I actually LOVE those new ones from Loblaws… you can fit more in them, they stand up in the back of the car better so the apples don’t roll all over the place, and you can fit way more stuff in them. I’m not bad at remembering them for the big weekly grocery trip, but I have to remember to bring one with me for smaller excursions, too. Hoping to eliminate 50 plastic bags a month.
Third, less Ziploc baggies. Oh, how I love Ziploc baggies for everything from sending snacks to school to wrapping up the leftover grated cheese for storage. I have to break this unhealthy relationship with Ziploc baggies. Can I make due on a single box for an entire year? I’ll try!
Fourth, less juice boxes and water bottles. So convenient, but so wasteful. I’ve been lazy about juice boxes for Tristan’s snack lately; time to shake it off and start reusing the rubbermaid straw bottles again.
Fifth and finally – way less takeout lunches. This will be good not only from an eco-perspective, with less styrofoam and other disposable packaging, but from a financial and even dietary perspective. This may require a strategic investment in some decent tupperware-type serving containers. Any recommendations?
It’s not much, I know, but it is a start. If you want more ideas, check out the original BlogHers Act Canada challenge post. Through this Sunday, you can even write your own post and play along on the challenge!