Sunday, July 13, 2008
When citing facts about the environmental practices used in my jewelry business, this sentence has been often quoted "I run my studio out of my home, where I practice daily conscientious decision making on the amount of waste I produce and how many resources I require to live." Having lived by myself in studio apartments smaller than 200 square feet for the past eight or so years, this was something I was able to attain, practically turning it into an art form. I don't buy paper towels, napkins, or tissues. I almost always carry a bag with me, to avoid taking plastic for purchases. I always consider the packaging when buying something, and avoid as much as I can items that come in non-recyclable wrapping. If I do take a plastic bag, I keep a really small amount of them in the house for kitchen garbage. I recycle every scrap of paper, and diligently get myself (and former tenants) off of mailing lists. I could go on.
Okay, so all of these practices have been very easy up until last October, when I had no one to answer to but myself. Last fall my boyfriend and I moved in together, and while b's not by any means a wasteful person, his habits are far less extreme than mine. While he has been very aware of what is important to me and has made efforts to be conscientious, he hasn't (and probably won't) gone completely to the green side. And the way I see it, this is something I'll just have to live with. To quote another part of my artistic bio, "I discovered recently that environmentalism is not about doing everything perfectly; it's about doing what you can." Being a very idealistic person my whole life, I've learned what does and doesn't work when trying to get people to understand your beliefs. Meaning it's usually better to set a quiet example than to pound it over peoples' heads.
So while I have to do my best to understand b's priorities, I'm also noticing where my own green habits have been slacking since forming our partnership. Suddenly what was so easy to control, such as what goes on in the kitchen, became more challenging. In the past I would go to great lengths to find dried garbanzo beans to make my own hummus. Now we were buying the packaged variety, and going through it more quickly than I was used to. The city only recycles narrow-necked bottles, so the plastic containers were starting to pile up. But the good part is that as soon as I bring these things up to b, he gets in on the game and helps me look for stores that carry dried beans. Hummus is one of the easiest things to make from scratch, and something I kick myself for not making more often. By making it at home it's healthier, less expensive, and creates less waste.
In general, the more foods we can make ourselves, the less waste we'll produce. B has brought a great gadget into the house that helps in this respect- a seltzer bottle. He ordered online a stainless steel model that uses compressed co2 cartridges. We fill it with filtered water, inject it twice with the recyclable steel cartridges, and in a couple of hours have fresh, cold seltzer. It's delicious plain, with fresh-squeezed lemon, lime, or orange juice, and/or sweetened with a little honey. There are countless ways of flavoring it, and you can make your own chocolate egg creams! yum! Some of the benefits include no waste from plastic, the seltzer itself isn't stored in plastic, and you don't have to lug heavy bottles home from the store. As far as the health benefits, if you love soda, you will no longer be a slave to high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. And if this is important to you, you won't be supporting big businesses such as Coca-Cola or Pepsico. So go ahead! enjoy!
p.s. I'm not sure from where he ordered our bottle, but this is the same model.