I keep our mission statement (aka my new recycled t-shirt!) in the forefront of my mind most days. So, recently, as the snow has melted and the brown grass has begun to make an effort to go green, I've noticed a bit of trash along our road. I run (slowly) down this road frequently, so spotting cans is pretty easy. Unfortunately, I don't run with a garbage bag, and typically, by the time I get back home I've forgotten about the trash. However, it stuck in my mind this last weekend. I pulled on boots, gloves, and grabbed our recycling bin. Sure it was cumbersome to walk down the road with a giant blue bin (pictured above), but I didn't care. In fact, I hoped our litter-bug would see me out there, picking up their trash.
How do I know it's one person? Well, I don't really, but I like to pretend I'm Sherlock Holmes, ha. Okay, not really, but here's my theory. This person drives northbound on our road in the morning. They down a Gatorade, the same Gatorade Zero every day. They throw this bottle on the west side of the road. They need to hydrate because the night before, coming home from work, they've stopped at the liquor store and picked up a pack of bright blue bud light tall boys... They chuck these on the east side of our road, near the dip, where I assume they think no one will see them litter.
While I was out dragging around our recycling bin and filling it with these "goodies," I had two main thoughts. One was, obviously this is mostly one person's doing and while I was disappointed in their lack of care for the earth, themselves, other drivers, and their neighbors, I was also annoyed with their beverage choice. AT LEAST DRINK GOOD BEER!!! We live in Wisconsin, we are beer (and cheese)! You can, at the very least, drink something local.
The idea behind my shirt/our mission statement of Planting CEEDs is not about making changes you can't sustain. It's about making thoughtful sustainable changes, small steps that add up over time. We didn't just up and leave the city and go green overnight. Not even kind of.... it took years and years to get where we are today and we have a long way to go. Currently we're trying to reduced our plastic waste by switching to things with less or no packaging. Recycling is great, but it's uncertain how much actually gets recycled, so the best-case scenario is to not buy it. The bonus is, we're often also saving money. We've switched from liquid laundry soap to laundry sheets (Ecosnext). We've switched from liquid dish soap to creating our own solid dish soap. We use our own goat milk soap instead of body wash. And I've ventured into goat milk shampoo, more on that later. Anyway, those are some very common plastic bottles that we've eliminated, that no longer make their way to a landfill. That's probably around 100 bottles a year just from our house. Imagine if everyone made that change.
We also try to use cloth grocery bags (most of the time). I'll admit, I still use ziplocks, and we just covered our greenhouse in new plastic sheeting (that will hopefully last a long, long time). But, you can't think about this in black and white. In my experience, going cold turkey isn't sustainable. Making small changes over time makes those changes easier, like learning a new habit. Plus, it's not all or nothing. A little goes a long way, especially if we all make these small changes. This isn't a new concept, just one I want to make more prevalent in my own life. If I look at the bigger whole, sometimes that's too much, too overwhelming. However, breaking it down into smaller steps, smaller goals. It feels do-able and over time it gets done.
Getting back to my point, to my litter-bug, consider making a small change. Switch to good local beer! Maybe pair it at home with some nice Wisconsin cheese and a tall-boy of H2O. Then you can skip the morning Gatorade. Sure good beer might be more expensive, but drink a little less, savor a bit more, skip the Gatorade and it might be a wash. Plus, you'll get that warm fuzzy from doing something better for the environment, and supporting local business. That's two out of the four CEEDs (Community, Environment, Economy, Diversity). Heck it's three if you consider diversifying your beer choice as one, I do, cheers! Bottom line, no matter what, don't drink and drive.
And that ends today's PSA.
Want your own sweet T-shirt. I highly recommend the unisex recycled heathered navy version (pictured above). It's super soft! Here's the link: Plant Some CEEDs