Friday, 3 August 2018

Consuming to Refuse

I have written before about trying to become less wasteful, and of the seven priorities - in order for paying attention to consumption: (1) Refuse, (2) Repair, (3) Reduce, (4) Reuse, (5) Repurpose, (6) Rot/compost, ... and very last, (7) Recycle (read here and here and here). As part of the 'refuse' element - and ensuring I am making easy changes - I decided to take action on a little something I have been thinking about for quite a while.

The agonising thing is that the refuse action first required consumption! Why? I have been thinking about carrying my own cutlery, following an Asian trend, but I needed the kit to do so. People in China and Japan are starting to carry a little box with a set of chopsticks with them so they don't add to the chopstick mountain (apparently China alone annually eats its way through between 57-80 billion sets). So I had a scout and found a small plastic box online which contained chopsticks, a spoon and a fork (Amazon, here), and bought it. 

Once it arrived, I added a slightly smaller spoon to double as a teaspoon, a sharp knife, and a fairly sturdy plastic knife (the only one I could find at home that was short enough to go in the box. It is surprisingly difficult to find knives shorter than 20cm). The box now lives in my handbag, along with my water bottle. I particularly like the steel chopsticks, as they are more like the Japanese ones, with finer ends than the Chinese variety.

Of course, I am going to have to remember to put this in my checked luggage when I fly (have made a note!). This will also be very handy when travelling overseas - particularly the sharp knife. 

What was quite interesting was that getting my own cutlery box up and running coincided with a work colleague donating a recycled set of steel spoon, knife and fork to everyone in our building, complete with names. It was nice to be able to regift mine to the School's tiny kitchen drawer.

While sorting the cutlery thing, I finally decided to get a collapsible coffee cup to keep in my bag. Having met with people twice this year over coffees in takeaway cups, I wanted to take action to prevent future waste. Sigh: more consumption agonising in order to 'refuse'! I already have a reusable china cup at work, but I don't want breakables in my bag. I used to take a reusable plastic cup with me when I travelled - except it got thrown out in a conference meeting room clean up: the second time that has happened to me! So this time I decided that I would get a well-sealed collapsible cup, that I can just pop back in my bag and wash out later. Stojo seem to make a very nice cup (here), and I am hoping that when this arrives, it will live up to its promise.

Making change, a step at a time. Have utensils, will travel :-D


Sam

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