Ok – zero waste today was a little harder.
First of all I got on the train WITHOUT my coffee. Usually I walk, but today Steve dropped me off and I left my coffee in the car. Luckily, Au Bon Pain has reusable cups ($2.99 for the cup and ‘refills’ are $1.29 – bargain considering a small coffee is about $2.00).
With day 3 zero waste crisis #1 averted, I went to my first meeting. That’s where the second oops happened. I was on my way out of the ladies when I realized I just threw away a paper towel after drying my hands! Then after the meeting I did it AGAIN.
Since I had back to back meetings I wanted to grab lunch before my afternoon got too busy. As I headed to a nearby deli to pick-up some soup, I stopped. They had only disposable food containers and utensils.
I got to thinking – where can I grab a quick bite with zero waste? A sit down place was out of the question – no time and I wanted to keep it under $10. So, I headed to Pret a Manger. Any salad or soup was a no-no. Even the sandwiches in the little boxes were out because of the plastic ‘window’. Then I saw the ‘toasties’, which were wrapped nicely in a brown paper packaging. After I was done I folded up the wrapper and tucked it in my purse to bring home for composting.
After lunch, I crossed the street to Bryant Park (lovely day in NYC today). It was packed with people, and park staff were dutifully emptying all the trash cans. I wanted to recycle the water bottle I got at Pret, but all of the bottle/can recycling bins were black lined, which is a pretty good indicator that the bottle wouldn’t be recycled. That also went in my purse to bring home.
Later, I met a colleague at Starbucks before yet another meeting. I still had my Au Bon Pain cup with me and wanted to get more coffee. I challenged the four Starbucks employees to put two espresso shots and some ice into my cup WITHOUT using a paper or plastic cup first. You would have thought I asked them to build a spaceship to the moon, but they got it figured out and I was able to avert another zero waste crisis.
I had another bathroom-paper-towel-oops moment at a break during an evening class, but FINALLY learned my lesson on my way home. The super fantastic xlerator hand dryers at Penn Station were not operational so I went the air dry method. (Someone pointed out to me on twitter that jeans or jacket work well for drying hands. I completely agree. My clothes today weren’t too absorbent.)
So the lessons for today are: coffee isn’t really a necessity, but can wreak havoc on your zero waste intentions. Sometimes it takes three oops moments and wet hands before you can turn off auto-pilot.