There I was… Trying out a trendy new wholefoods destination nearby. Gorgeous presentation, Great bulk bins to buy little bits of this and that without plastic packaging – so far so good!
So I thought I’d sample their vegan beetroot brownie and get a piccolo decaf – my daggy coffee order, hopefully redeemed by the ‘piccolo’ chicness? Maybe? It all looked divine and I so wanted a delicious little reflection spot to work on a number of ideas that had been swimming around in my head of late.
I sat down, took out my note book and settled into getting a little work done. I drank in the bustle of the beautiful suburb I worked in some years ago. It felt great to be there, anticipating a feel good treat and coffee just minutes away. When it came though I felt miffed and really sad.
Another business who’s gone the ‘half hog’. The further I come along my journey both as a learner and an educator in the ‘low tox life’, I see that there is no point in singling out the health of humans as the ‘battle to overcome’. We are part of something much, much bigger and we need to treat the WHOLE problem – that means the planet.
The brownie came in a single use box with a single use fork AND knife (brownies are super soft, no knife even required) and the coffee came in a single use cup with a plastic lid. I was eating ‘in’. I had definitely not said takeaway, in fact when it arrived I said “But I ordered these to have here”. The barista matter of factly said that it was how everything was served, regardless. The box as you can see, is huge compared to the brownie and has a plastic window.
They were all very pretty ‘eco vibed’ single use products, but they were single use just the same. Recycling – if indeed if ever made it to recycling and given the food on it, probably not – would go out into trucks and recycling plants and into new products. It is very costly and demanding on logistics, energy and environment compared to a quick rinse cycle on a commercial dishwasher, recycling reusables within minutes, and without so much as leaving the cafe. On one of the busiest streets in inner Sydney, it’s not just going to be a handful of these things being thrown away per day – it will be hundreds, possibly thousands on the weekends. It’s not right.
Telling ourselves we’re doing a good thing by shopping somewhere like here is a half truth.
I am all for enjoying treats every now and then as a part of a relaxed and delicious wholefood approach. Let’s however make sure we’re going the whole hog and not forgetting to treat our planet with respect, but calling businesses out and helping them see that ‘health’ means not just making us healthy, but protecting our planet’s health too.
And finally, let this not be a “bitch fest”. The world is full of complainers, and this post wasn’t written to join them. It doesn’t have to be this way and you and I can say ‘hey… loved your place. Didn’t love the single use stuff. Any thoughts on changing that?’.
Changemakers must be solution driven and proactive, otherwise we might as well just be called a bunch of wingers. There’s an opportunity every time we discover such a thing, to ensure that we send out a polite little ripple of change – one that says we would love to see them invest in a dishwasher and reusable crockery, serving plates and glassware. Send an email. Have a chat to the manager in a nice way. Pop a polite note on their facebook page.
Affirm that you’ve loved your recent experience and the cake was yummy or the juice was delicious. You would love to see them further their commitment to health by acknowledging environmental health as well and reducing the amount of takeaway cups and single use boxes and bowls to ONLY being used for takeaway customers.
Have you had a positive experience that has seen somewhere near you change the way they served things? Have you a challenge you need help with?
Are you excited to ditch single use stuff, especially plastic as a part of your big picture health plan? Why not accept the ‘plastic free July‘ challenge created by my friend Rebecca?
Low Tox. Happy Us. Happy Earth. Both or else it’s pointless.