Many of my friends and relatives are becoming increasingly concerned with how their activities impact our environment. Most of us sort our trash by its recyclable materials and transport it to the appropriate recycling centers. Many of us already use “green,” non-toxic, homemade cleaners, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for most of our cleaning activities. All of us have already replaced our old, energy hogging light bulbs, set the temperatures up in the summer and down in the winter on our thermostats, installed extra insulation, and installed timers on our hot water heaters to save electricity. Many of us carpool together for trips and have reduced the number of trips that we make to reduce emissions. Several of us already grow a sizeable portion of our own produce and shop local farmer’s markets or stores that buy locally grown produce. It would be hard to find lifestyle changes that we could each make to live greener lives. I was in the drive-thru at a local fast food eatery this afternoon thinking to myself, is there anything left to cut or change to reduce my environmental footprint?
I paid for our meal and took the two plastic drink containers, the bag which contained two wrappers for burgers, two containers for fries, the plastic container with a sundae, plastic spoon wrapped in plastic, and napkins and assorted plastic-encased condiments. My children and I eat out a few times a week. Depending on our respective schedules, we sometimes eat out several meals in a day. Even though some of the containers are recyclable and degradable papers and plastics, that’s still a lot of waste going into landfills and all of these containers require natural and synthetic materials to make, and the production of these containers releases contaminates into the environment.
I am just one person, and we are just one family, but our green resolution for the upcoming year is to not eat out, anymore, for a whole year. This challenge, with our busy schedules and lifestyles will be difficult, but with planning it is very doable. Achieving this goal will not only help us reduce our carbon footprint to the environment, it will help our waistlines to be thinner if we make healthier food choices, and our wallets will be “greener” as well as the environment from the money that we save by not eating out. If each of us took a closer look at our lives and found ways to reduce not only our personal energy consumption, but our personal overall consumption of finished products, in any form, it would help our environment as well as our budget.