“Completely Disposable Lunch” or Getting a Global Perspective

Kepler’s class went to the zoo on Thursday and the instructions were to pack a completely disposable lunch. When we went to the park the other day, we were instructed to pack a completely trash-free lunch. Both instructions make sense for the respective destinations, but I really hate plastic water bottles. I’ll probably be able to find peace by sending him a bottle of juice, even though the bottle will most likely not be recycled. (Oh, boy, first world problems, much?)

Sometimes when my more immediate worries quell, I think about the ocean and how much trash we are putting in that incredibly valuable resource. It’s like I want to go on a tirade or a crusade or a parade to get everyone to 1. stop using disposable plastic water bottles, 2. recycle everything they possibly can, and 3. get completely serious about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

This is a great resource for solutions to reducing how much waste we are producing.

http://storyofstuff.org

Some of my favorite ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle include the following:

1. Buying no disposable plastic water bottles.

2. Using a commuter mug for Starbucks drinks, although honestly I occasionally get something in one of their cups and then reuse it.

3. Recycling as much as possible. It is very difficult to buy food items that do not utilize packaging, so I recycle whatever I can.

4. Composting.

5. Reusing water from the dehumidifier in our table top fountains and our humidifiers.

6. Donating what I can rather than throwing it away.

7. Being conscious of how my usage impacts the rest of the world, as well as the earth itself.

8. Always looking for new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. There are times when I have a lot of energy for that, and other times when I am not able to focus on it as much.

9. Using my own reusable grocery bags and reusing the few plastic ones that I end up getting.

10. Reducing my usage of plastic bags. I still have a long way to go in this area because I find the whole washing and reusing thing to be cumbersome.

Erased all that because, yes, they are ways I like to reduce, reuse and recycle, but I wrote them a few days ago and then this morning had an experience that informed this post considerably. I volunteered with my son at Matthew 25 Ministries.

Matthew 25 Ministries

M25M is a worldwide shipping corporation and ministry that repurposes corporate items that would otherwise be discarded, provides relief for victims of natural disasters and helps empower people living in poverty around the world. I bet M25M isn’t perfect, just like no organization is, but what I saw got me excited about being involved in a very practical way of addressing the very real issue of children living without electricity, running water, and other basic necessities.

We began with the “global village tour.” I’ve never been amongst actual ruins from a hurricane or a tornado or flood. Pictures are not quite the same as looking as the ruins themselves. Something about the 3-dimensional aspect of the displays touched me deeply. I was in tears by the end as I thought about how great the need is, and how glad I am to live in the same city as this organization that is doing so much.

The son I was with is doing his court-ordered community service there, and invited me to go along. (One might say a silver lining in the cloud of dealing with the addiction and recovery process.) At the end of a life-changing week, I was totally surprised to discover this gem and to feel the pull it has on me to volunteer there and make a difference. I have the time and the resources and the desire. We only spent two hours there, but as we left, I realized THIS is my favorite way to reduce, reuse, recycle. Be a part of something that is making a difference in the lives of people in need. Even if it means providing plastic water bottles of water to people so they don’t have to, like, drink out of a filthy dirty puddle.

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