I need a magic pill… bottle [day 25 & 26]

pill-bottle-reuse-recycleI decided to bring my son’s pill bottle back to the pharmacy for a refill.  I had the new prescription, but I certainly didn’t need a new container.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.

When I arrived, I stood in line, not only with the empty pill bottle, but also the little paper bag they put it in.  That’s biodegradable, so I didn’t have to do that.  When I got to the counter, I briefly explained what I was doing and awaited a reply.  The lady working the counter wasn’t sure.  She turned and asked the pharmacist.  He said, “Sure.  We can take the label off and refill it.”  Yes, success!!!  Continue reading

Disposable stuff is art supplies [day 24]

art dumpsterYou know, I can complicate anything.  I didn’t have a blog post yesterday because I had written so much, I didn’t have the time to edit and organize it, much less find images for it.  Today is simple.  How much disposable stuff is imposed on us?  Receipts?  Flyers?  Napkins?  Bags?  Packaging?  Junk mail?  Magazines?  There’s a lot, although many retailers are now asking, “Would you like a receipt?” or “Would you like a bag?”  YES!  They get it.  Continue reading

Back in the day… [day 18 & 19]

On my recent road trip, I found so many interesting things to photograph.  Most of the interesting things were vintage or antique.  What’s the difference?  My boss asked that question on Facebook a few months ago.  Vintage is 7+ years old and antique is 50+ years old.  Just for the record, I’m still vintage.

Life has changed radically over the past few decades.  Here’s a few photos I found interesting.

vw bug slugbugSlug bug!  I just had to stop and take a photo of this VW Bug, sitting in front of an auto salvage yard.  It’s probably out front because people still love these little beauties.  Some turn them into art projects, some restore them and some use them for parts.

This car, brand new, back in 1969 cost about $1,800.  The same car now (44 years later, for those of you who hate math), brand new, costs $19,995 for the basic model.  A restored 1969 model in decent shape is in the $4,000 range.   Continue reading

Fast food without waste? [day 17]

I wonder when the fast food craze will end and the eco food will take over.  What?  It could happen.  Doing this challenge during a road trip was, well, a trip.  2,777 miles in 8 days.

map-start-route-66

I let my kids buy their own snacks and I didn’t make them participate in the challenge.  They did some of the time, and of their own free will, but I didn’t require it.  We mostly stopped at restaurants, not fast food places.  It’s pretty easy to keep with the challenge at sit-down places.  Our last trek home was a long one, and eating in the car was a good plan.   Continue reading

Halfway there and frustrated [day 16]

We’re about to hit the road again.  A challenge to use nothing disposable while travelling is really difficult.  There just aren’t any options for eating on the road.  Eating in the car would require prepackaged food, or having prepared things in advance.  Since this was an unplanned trip, for the most part, it was not on my radar to make travel snacks.

5ba0c05a8d0411e2914322000a1f984e_7My family and I visited my favorite restaurant in Wisconsin, LeDuc’s Custard Shop.  I brought in my supplies, so as not to use anything disposable.  They would not allow me to use any of it.  “Health department regulations.  Sorry, we just can’t do it.”  How does a national chain like Starbucks get away with it then?  They have accommodated every request in every state so far.

I think restaurants could to more to generate less waste.  I think as consumers, we could help the process by asking for alternatives.  If we all, on some small level, chose to not take all of the paper and plastic items when there’s a choice, that would make them rethink what is unnecessary.    Continue reading

Still travelling, on a sugar high [day 11]

We reached destination #2 at midnight last night.  My sister’s house in Wisconsin, where the snow is piled high.  In a few minutes, we’re leaving for destination #3: my dad’s cabin in Somewhere, Wisconsin.  I really have no idea where it is, so I’ll just call it Somewhere.

rain drivingIn our 9 hours of driving, it rained for 8.5 of it.  We couldn’t make many stops, unless we wanted to get wet and drive until the wee hours of the morning.  Here are a few of the non-disposable situations I came across.

breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast was at First Watch, a local diner in the Kansas City area.  Nothing too eventful there, as they had regular plates and glasses.  The silverware was wrapped in paper napkins, so I didn’t use a napkin.  The food was awesome!    Continue reading

dear fast food places, I miss you

For the first time in several months, I missed fast food.  I was craving a Wendy’s chicken sandwich and fries.  I was craving the food itself much more than the convenience of it, however that would be nice sometimes.  My anti-fast food thing is more about the paper waste.  I think we need to become less wasteful in our ways and this is my contribution to that.  It did make me think though…

  • What if I brought my own packaging?  Yes, this would be weird, but I wonder if the fast food places would use the things I brought?  They have strict rules to follow, not only corporate rules, but health department rules.  This might just be my next mini-challenge.
  • What if fast food places provided non-disposable options?  They would need more labor costs for washing dishes, but would save on paper supplies.
  • Is recycling enough?  No.  Most of these places don’t recycle, although they say their stuff can be recycled.  ??!!?  Look at us!!  We’re being green because this is biodegradable!  Great.  Huge landfills with lots of stuff that will still take many years to disintegrate.

Just a few thoughts.  Fast food is not evil.  Without my challenge, I might partake once or twice a month.  Every time I have, I feel terrible that I’m supporting something I don’t believe in.

Dear fast food places,

Please put those top CEO’s to work on coming up with some non-wasteful ways for you to do your business.  Our entire world will benefit from it, and you will too.

Sincerely,  A person that missed your food

is it really any different because you buy it somewhere else?

I said, “No fast food through the end of the year.”  Why?  Mostly because of the wastefulness of it.  The amount of disposable plastics, paper and styrofoam bothers me.  We do fast food places out of convenience.  I just wanted to see how badly I needed fast food in my life.  My kids have missed it a little bit, but not much.  I also miss it on occasion, but not too much either.

I had to work today, and right after work, I had to bring a main dish to a potluck lunch.  I went to Cane’s Chicken.  It’s clearly a fast food place, complete with a drive-thru and lots of paper waste.  I bought in bulk, only buying the tailgate 25 piece pack.  Now I could have stopped at Kroger and picked up some chicken that was already prepared.  It would also be in disposable containers, although I could have placed it in a reusable bag.  So my big questions is…

Is it any different buying prepackaged (prepared) food at the grocery store versus a fast food place?

I have to answer, “No.”   I will still continue my no fast food places, but I need to add on these simple shopping changes.

  • Compare.  If the paper waste is the thing that’s bothering me, whether I shop at the grocery store or anywhere else, I need to consider the waste involved.  Just because I buy it at the grocery store doesn’t mean that I’m not being wasteful.
  • Call it what it is.  The grocery store has fast food.  It’s in the form of deli sandwiches, sushi, fountain drinks and many other forms.  If I buy a ham sandwich already made at Tom Thumb, that’s the same as buying a burger from a fast food place.  Same container, same pre-made food, same waste amount.
  • Plan.  I should have done a better job planning ahead for my potluck meal.  I could have made something the night before and picked it up on the way over there.  My bad.

There’s a new container-less grocery store opening this fall in Austin, TX called in.gredients… if they meet their fundraising goals.  I love this idea!!  Listen to the radio talk about it.  This is such a cool concept!  See how it works.

This is greatness.  Maybe I should help them get rolling in Austin, then I’ll open one here.  Check out the in.gredients website.

young man! you will eat every bit of that candy!!

Yes, I said candy.  If I ever needed to question how much I dislike wastefulness, this would be the telltale answer.  A few months ago, my youngest asked if he could get some Jelly Bellies at the grocery store.  I agreed after glancing at the rack filled with small packages of assorted beans.  I proceeded to finish my shopping when Joe says, “Mom, they came out really fast.”  What came out fast?  The lady with the runaway shopping cart?  No, the Jelly Belly dispenser.  The bag of beans cost Joe $15.81.

Fast forward to vacation a few weeks ago.  We were on vacation, and in a candy shop.  I told my kids they could each get one thing.  Here we go again…  My oldest wanted rock candy.  Those ‘fill your own bags’ might as well have drugs in them for as much as they cost!  I prefer my candy with price tags, none of this ‘by the pound’ stuff.  $10.00 later, we leave with rock candy.  

Once we returned from our trip, I found the leftovers and gave it to him.  My son says, “I didn’t like it that much.  It’s not as good as I thought it would be.”  Wha??!!!?  Dude, you will eat all of that candy!  I spent over $10 for it and you will eat it.  Seriously?  On my budget, $10 is a lot of money.  It’s so difficult to teach kids the value of a dollar when society says you can have, and should have, everything you want, no matter what the cost.  The candy might not be good for him, but hopefully the lesson will be.

rethinking good in frisco style magazine

Thanks so much to Frisco Style Magazine for rethinking good in their August 2011 arts issue.  No retail shopping for one year has proven to be a great way to rethink no only shopping, but the way we live life.  Here’s a few of the blog posts related to the article if you would like more details.  Thanks again for rethinking good!

What is the no retail shopping challenge? [info]

Back to school [day 58]

School supply update [day 83] 

To Infiniti and beyond! [day 175]

Airing my dirty laundry… and clean laundry [day 235]

My new minimalist challenge [day 266]

Cost analysis, kid style [day 309]

Do you share your household budget with your kids? [day 337]

Continue reading