Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Week# 35-ish: Leaving on a Jet Plane

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The Time Machine. A not too shabby sci-fi movie based on the book by H.G. Wells. My husband is always commenting that he would like a time machine, so he could go back in time and meet me sooner. How sweet 🙂 (After ten years together we can still be nauseating). There are times, like this week, where I wish I had a time machine to make more time. I’ve got about 27 unfinished projects around the house (and volunteer projects I want to take up), and being the type-A personality that I am it is driving me crazy. And it doesn’t help that I’m sick (day 12 of a cold/flu). (It’s been so bad I broke down and bought disposable pull-ups just so I could get a good night’s sleep, rather than being woken by a wet toddler at 3am. My guess is she’s having a growth spurt so night training has gone out the window, but that’s a post for another day).

Work is getting busy too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my new job. The work is interesting and stimulating, and the people are awesome. I feel so at home there, like it was all meant to be. For all of the challenges and unhappiness my other job caused in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the experiences I gained there. But the work keeps rolling in, and I’m taking a French class to maintain the level I need for my job, which further cuts into my time.

I also just spent a week in Ottawa on a work trip. I was really excited about it and looking forward to some down-time to explore the city, be by myself and recharge. The weather, however did not cooperate, and the work meetings were intense. Got home at midnight with the beginnings of a cold, and charged right through the Thanksgiving weekend – running here and there to pick-up local produce (including some pumpkins from Stirlings), husband had a half-marathon, dinner with my parents, and staining the casings for our new energy-efficient windows. It all caught up with me Tuesday and I just don’t  feel like myself.

I also always feel a little guilty for flying. If there was another piece of sci-fi technology I wish actually existed it would be a transporter. It’s not just being away from my family. Air travel can contribute almost 10% of the total human impact on climate change. My Halifax-Ottawa return trip created 533 lbs of CO2 (using the TerraPass calculator). At least I flew direct, economy, during the day, and brought only carry-on, all of which can help reduce the impact according to David Suzuki. I could also plant trees to offset some of the emissions. If I use the same figure as in an earlier post of 27lbs per tree, that’s about 20 trees.

Speaking of trees, as you may have noted if you follow me on Twitter, Evergreen (one of the organizations I volunteer with) recently held a tree plant in Dartmouth.I had planned to attend, but wasn’t able to as my daughter was sick (so that’s where I got it from!), but prior to the event I helped the organizers do some research on sustainable cups. They wanted to provide water for the volunteers for health and safety reasons, but guessed that not all participants would bring their own bottle. Instead of buying bottled water, they wanted to purchase a portable water cooler/thermos and some cups. But what cups would be the most sustainable?

I looked at four options: 1) paper “Dixie” style cups; 2) disposable plastic cups; 3) reuseable/recyclable plastic cups; 4) and a fouth type that I’ll get to in a minute. I didn’t look into Styrofoam at all – I simply can’t stand the stuff, and knowing it wasn’t recyclable or biodegradable at all I didn’t even consider it a viable option. Another option might have included purchasing ceramic or glass cups from Value Village, but these would be heavier to transport and harder to dispose of if broken.

I started my research by just poking around the internet and some local stores to see what was available. Target sells a product called Dixie Hot cups. A package of 26 (each cup holds 12 oz) were $6.99. The cups were labelled SFI certified , but the material they were made from seemed to be a Styrofoam-like material. While they were sustainably sourced, if you look at the whole life cycle the disposal options weren’t very sustainable.

Target also carried the store-brand Spritz reuseable/recyclable plastic cups – $4.80 per pk qty 10 ; 4 pkg (40 cups) = $19.20. These were a hard plastic and could be reused for future events by washing in dishwasher to sterilize or soak for 2 minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water.

Canadian Tire stocks Goodtimes plastic drink cups – pkg 50 $ 4.49. These look like the thin plastic so likely not reusable – unless we wanted to plant something in them!

After looking at what was out there, I also did some research as to whether “paper or plastic” would be best. It seems the jury is still out, depending on your perspective – check out these articles for more info:

Finally, I called the city to see what the composting and recycling options would be, I was very disappointed to learn that the paper Dixie cups cannot go into the compost. Even the plastic cups that have a number on the bottom can’t go in the recycling – they would all have to go in the garbage! 😦

The tree planting team decided to go with the reusable plastic cups in the end. Maybe not the most sustainable of all time, but of the practical and affordable options available not too bad a choice. That’s what I’ve learned from writing this Blog: being green is no different than all things in life- we all have to make choices, and we’re all doing our best.

Meanwhile, back on the home front – still no baby news. I really thought this would be the month. I don’t know how we can go 14 months without a goalie in net and not even have it hit the goalpost. Maybe we missed the plane. . . But in this season of bounty and thanksgiving, I remind myself to be thankful for what I do have – a beautiful, healthy daughter, and a loving husband – who lets me sleep in Sunday mornings and takes our daughter to soccer so I can work on this blog 🙂

This week is Waste Reduction Week – stay tuned for more waste reduction tips in my Twitter feed and in future posts, including – Pizza on the Green?, and Homemade Halloween!

Interested in volunteering with Evergreen? Sign-up for their e-newsletter here.


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