Remember when I pledged to end my use of to-go coffee cups? Well it's been a few months now, and I wanted to give you an update on my progress. I have continued to enjoy hot, caffeine-laden beverages nearly every weekday, but I have used only one paper coffee cup -- and that was by mistake (the barista forgot that I said "in a for here mug," but I admit I still feel a little bit guilty about it). I have gone without my coffee fix a few times, and mug washing continues to be a hassle. But all told, it's been easy to adjust to my new behavior, and it makes me feel good. (Truth be told, it's easier to stick to a behavior-modification plan like this if you just decide that you absolutely cannot do whatever it is you've resolved to stop doing -- no gray area here.)
I've also noticed that with my raised awareness I'm cutting down on other forms of packaging waste: energy-bar wrappers, hard candies, disposable microwave trays, etc. So I thought it was fascinating when Nielsen Global Food Packaging Survey came out with numbers of people who would give up convenience packaging to uphold environmental ethics.
According to Nielsen...
one in two global consumers would give up all forms of packaging provided for convenience purposes if it would benefit the environment, including: packaging designed for easy stacking/storing at home (49%); packaging that can be used for cooking, or doubling as a re-sealable container (48%); and packaging designed for easy transport (47%).
I have to admit that I think this is a little bit optimistic. It takes a major commitment to modify just one bit of your lifestyle, let alone get rid of everything in your daily life that comes packaged. The would mean no more yogurt, plastic silverware, boxed food, tea bags, those yummy grape tomatoes that come in the plastic container, the list goes on and on and on.
The report goes on to say...
At the other end of the scale, the Nielsen survey found consumers were least willing to give up packaging designed to keep products clean and untouched by others (27%); packaging designed to keep products in good condition (30%); packaging information in the form of food labeling, cooking and usage instructions (33%); and packaging that preserved products to make them last longer/stay fresher (34%). One in ten global consumers was not prepared to give up any aspect of packaging for the benefit of the environment.
The bottom line, in my modest opinion: Start small and managable. Do what you can do, and progressively let it impact other parts of your life.