I consider myself eco-conscious. I recycle. I do most of the laundry in cold water, except for the blanket my youngest drags with him everywhere he goes; that thing goes in hot. I buy organic. But I have a “dirty little secret.” I use plastic, “disposable” sandwich bags. I have three little kids at home and am constantly packing up lunches and serving baggies of snacks. But recently, the teachers at my sons’ school gently suggested I try a better lunch-packing system to reduce the trash my family was creating.
I was annoyed at first. I felt judged and reprimanded. My boys come to school with a healthy lunch that includes all the major food groups. So, what’s a couple sandwich bags? Well that’s just it. A couple of sandwich bags add up. Today, kids’ school lunches are responsible for an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year. And no one knows how long it takes plastic to decompose in the landfills. I’ve seen guesses from 500 to 1,000 years—way too long for me to not feel guilty once I let myself think about it. A while back The Grazing Mind shared with you the sustainable packaging and transportation changes International Delight has made. And I’m pretty sure there’s going to be more cool news on that front again soon. So if a brand can make large-scale changes, why can’t I? A quick online search confirmed my suspicions. It is not hard to kick the sandwich bag habit. It’s easy to find BPA-free containers and reusable sandwich wraps. I even found these super cute screen-printed reusable bags.
As a consumer, making the sustainable choice isn’t always as simple as it sounds. But as more and more companies, designers and engineers continue to find new ways to make our everyday lives on the planet more sustainable, like these guys, it will get easier to make good decisions.
That being said, I’m curious. What small step have you taken lately?