A couple of weeks ago, the Climate:Fwd newsletter from the New York Times posted reader Jasmyn Trent’s tips for using less plastic at work. The tips were sensible and, for a lot of people, I presume that these could be pretty easy to implement.
The tips included bringing a set of reusable utensils to keep at your work space, bringing a spoon/stirrer and a mug for your cups of coffee, keeping a tote bag around for shopping trips made during the workday, and getting a reusable water bottle to avoid using water bottles.
Not only did I find her suggestions useful, I noticed that I already have adopted the majority of her recommendations.
Like her, I work at an office that allows me to easily adopt these tips. Although I do the majority of my work at home, I do work at an office a couple of days a week. This office has a refrigerator and microwave oven, making it easy for me to bring in my lunch. It also has a kitchen sink where I can easily wash out my utensils and dishes.
Since I had already been exercising these recommendations, I wanted to share the tools I used for not only using less plastic but also for generating less trash.
Ms. Trent’s suggestions to bring from home a set of utensils is a good one. I have been using this spork as an two-in-one utensil for my lunches since 2014. It’s great because it works for most any kind of food that requires a fork or spoon. That’s why they call it a spork, right?
The ur-cup for the fussy coffee hipster crowd. I have had one of these since 2014, and I don’t know how I haven’t yet broken it. The price is a bit steep—a 12-ounce cup costs about $20, but it’s outlasted all the less expensive thermal mugs I’ve bought over the years. However, unlike most thermal mugs that vacuum seal, you can’t throw this cup into a bag and it not spill. Curiously, on more than one occasion, when I’ve brought the cup to a coffee shop for some drip coffee, it was on the house.
This too can seem expensive at first but compared to all the other water bottles I’ve bought and used over the years, this one has outlasted all of them. Of course, the different materials for bottles have different advantages and disadvantages. A glass bottle is both heavy and likely to break, compared to plastic and metal. These bottles come with a silicon sleeve that has protected the bottle from breaking when I’ve dropped it. By far the biggest advantage is that it won’t change the taste of your water and you can wash it forever. As long as you don’t break the bottle, it’s one that you won’t have to throw out. I can’t say the same about all those plastic and metal water bottles of the past.
Tom Bihn sells dedicated grocery bags, but since I regularly travel with a backpack, I just stash my purchases in my backpack.
I noticed that a lot of these items are pretty expensive. A $200 backpack, a $20 water bottle and coffee cup, and a $10 spork seem indulgent. But remember that the aim here is to reuse things, and I find it harder to throw away things that were costly, especially if I find them useful on a regular basis.
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