What single use or disposable item could YOU give up?

Filed in Blog by on July 2, 2014 13 Comments
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picnic-basket-lakeland1Here’s a topic close to my heart and it happens to involve a woman close to my heart too!

Small Footprints is someone I admire greatly. She inspires me daily, runs a fantastic blog and motivates people across the globe to take action in mkaing the world a greener, KINDER place to be!

She does this with compassion, gentle leadership and a celebratory style that can’t help but make you smile.

Oh and did I mention she pens a great email to lift my heart, just when I need it the most?

If there’s ever anyone who demonstrates perfectly why carrots work better than sticks it’s her.

Every Wednesday she issues her readers a ‘Change the World Wednesday’ challenge.

One week you’ll be eating a vegan meal, the next you’ll be getting your name off junk mail lists and the next you’ll be saving every drop of water you can.

This week is all about banning single use items for a week!

It’s picnic season and these impromtu fun afairs can be a lot of fun but produce a lot of waste.

None of us wants to wash up when we get home which is why disposable plates and forks are so popular.

And who wants to slave in the kitchen when the local supermarket will wrap delicious ready-to-eat food in plastic for you?

Like the thought of washing napkins when you get home? Me neither, which is why many of us carry wet wipes or damp kitchen towel in a plstic bag

But as we move into summer, we’re being asked to reconsider all these disposable items when we camp, invite our friends for a barbecue or throw a party.

We’re asked:

This week, avoid the use of any single-use or disposable items. This includes paper towels, paper plates & cups, plastic utensils, plastic water bottles, aluminum cooking trays, etc. Instead, make the effort to use real plates, towels, etc. The idea is to eliminate waste.

OR …

If you’ve already eliminated ALL single-use and disposable items, please reduce other waste. For example, plan meals this week so that no food is wasted. Before tossing an item out, try reusing it or offer it on Freecycle. The goal is to achieve zero waste this week.

So let’s join the #CTWW gang and pool our ideas for alfresco dining without the waste.

Is there an area you could improve on? Do you have some great suggestions for a zero waste picnic?

Inspired? Check out the Reduce Footprint Facebook page and follow on Twitter with the hashtag #CTWW

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. Philippa says:

    I’ve been planning how to best make, take and serve al fresco food with as little packaging as possible for the opera in the park – and certainly without anything that doesn’t compost or can’t be reused. This is exactly when I will for once use paper towel (don’t use it in the house) and will use silver foil which we use rather than cling-film. I can use the paper towel in the food waste bin and the silver foil will get reused if possible or if not recycled with Grandad’s foil meals on wheels trays and foil milk bottle tops in the kerbside collection.

    I have some plastic picnic plates which we’ll use and we’ll take some unmatching metal knives and forks. I’m looking for reusable plastic wine-glasses with removable stems because I’ve broken the stem of one that didn’t. I don’t really see why we use stemmed wine glasses in this country (the French wouldn’t). I don’t want to take glass or ceramic plates as they are too heavy to carry and too easy to break.

    I think people should be encouraged to take their waste home with them instead of spoiling the beautiful places they visit by just dumping their waste when they leave. So by making a few wiser choices hopefully we can make an improvement.

    (It won’t do much for the giving up of plastic – but let’s just keep plastic in its place and use it where it is most useful and reusable.)

  2. Philippa says:

    Having decided to do a starter of tomato and mozzarella salad on a stick. I find that the lovely (I know that’s;disposable but they will compost) wooden cocktail sticks (that I had to search to find) come in a really really nasty plastic box. *That company is now on my letter list.*

  3. I fully agree with this post. I, myself never use disposable plates or utensils, but rather use a lovely set of Blue Willow fishes that I inherited from my parents. Not only does it make a good impression on guests (the rare occasions I have company over for dinner) but it does not contribute to the contents of my garbage can. Washing the dishes I is only a minor task that I can live with.

  4. Heather says:

    We use Wrap-n-Mat for our lunch boxes and picnics. They wrap our sandwiches etc brilliantly and then turn into a mat to eat off when you’re al-fresco dining. I bought ours from Onya Bags years ago and they’re still going strong. Can be wiped over or popped in the washing machine to be cleaned. We have a no waste lunch box policy and so everything is in reusable containers. 😉

  5. iraorenstein says:

    Tell me where I can get them.

  6. a preppie’s past picnic adventure: i firmly believe in preparation–for years i had stored a large cooler full of camping gear = enamel plates, bowls, cups, ladle, long fork, serving and eating utensils. colorful towels made of leftover textile projects and i gallon glass bottle for prepared tea, juice or flavored coffees.
    on the date of festivities, i roll the dishes in a large tablecloth , put it in an old basket. then proceed to load the cooler with tea, ice coffee, and yes a few plastic containers and glass jars full of potted meats and salad vegetables to choose from for personal snacks and salads ..
    if the feast is held at home then it is easy to carry and set in situ..bon appetit!

  7. Julie Etheridge says:

    How about giving up the standard cleaning products with their one time use packaging and instead use bircarbonate of soda. Mix it with water and it forms a mildly alkaline solution that helps dissolve dirt and grease. Use dry, and the tiny rough particles act as a good abrasive that lifts stains from carpets and removes marks from surfaces without scratching them. As a powder, it also neutralises strong odours. For general surfaces, bicarbonate of soda is best used on a damp sponge, but for tough stains, add a little water to a tablespoonful of the powder, smear it on and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.

  8. Anthony Ira Orenstein says:

    Baking soda as a cleaner sounds like a really great idea!

  9. Thanks for the reminder. I really need to post a note for my postal worker that I don’t want any junk mail. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I’m not sure that this will make a difference environmentally since the flyers are printed if I want them or not

  10. iraorenstein says:

    Junk mail is also quite a problem for me. It reminds me of getting trash stuffed in the mailbox. If you have any solution for reducing the volume of it, please let me know.

    • Kyle Tenant says:

      You can discontinue old services and accounts you no longer use. If I’m not mistaken, you can contact the sender to permanently stop sending you any mail.

      As far as the challenge, I’m ready to take it on. Recalling back my last few days, I use quite some many (but no too excessively) paper towels and wet wipes. I’m a bit of a hand hygiene freak and have to sanitise my hands the second something I don’t like touches them, thus the towels and wipes.

      However, I’m proud I use close to zero disposable plastic objects in my day. I buy the regular mineral water, or soda, but I tend to reuse my bottles for some time. After a while I find interesting applications at home where a plastic bottle could easily do the job.

      With some creativity, you can turn them into all sorts of thing – from plastic flower pots to hanging organisers, or even decoration.

      I think, it’s important to find a way to reuse, if we can’t reduce. In today’s world, it’s hard no to tap into single use objects and disposables, so If you find it extremely impossible, I think it’s better to simply find another way to help and be responsible for your waste…

      Just thinking out loud.. Hope many people join the challenge and make some changes, cheers.

  11. I agree, Small Footprints is just wonderful!
    Adding plates to the dishwasher is less hassle than going out and buying paper plates. And eating and drinking is far more pleasant on “real” crockery.
    Great work on Zero Waste – I appreciate the reminders to constantly improve – thanks!

  12. iraorenstein says:

    I think it’s easier just to wash dirty dishes than have a huge bag of garbage to lug out to the curb for the garbage men to collect. Much less work if toy ask me.

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