Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My weaknesses, I'll start with just one

Yesterday there was a little discussion on what is enough. I liked it. I've been thinking of what I could write more on the subject and come up blank. I certainly don't think that I've exhausted the subject, and I'm pretty sure I'll return to it, but that's not what has been eating at my brain today.

One of the coments on the blog yesterday was a compliment that I really appreciated followed by some comment expressing that she hopes I'm not just a really good liar. Boy, I hope the same thing. I want to be clear, my efforts are pure and sincere and I don't feel that I lie on my blog, but I fear that I have painted an overly glorious portrait of myself. Oddly enough, I prefer to blog on topics that I'm doing well at. Who doesn't? So today I want to tackle my biggest obstacle. Plastic.

This has seriously been gnawing at me all day. I use plastic for everything! Don't get me wrong, I do my best to minimize the plastic that I throw away, but I still microwave my lunch everyday in a plastic container. I have a plastic Nalgene bottle that I drink from every day. I use plastic bags from the grocery store as garbage bags (although we do reuse bags most of the time so we're not being over-run by plastic bags). I am addicted to plastic.

On the positive side, I don't consume drinks that come in plastic bottles. I make a point of refusing bottled water, even if I would like a drink.

So here's my problem; plastic is far more convenient than any other option. I carry my lunch to school every day in my messenger bag. I use plastic for two big reasons. 1) Plastic doesn't break very easily (except the one that fell out of the bag on the road, it broke). 2) Plastic is far lighter than glass (which I assume to be the only other viable option).

Do I have glass containers that I could use to carry my lunch? Yes. Could I get them to school without breaking them? Besides the lunch that slid along the road and one crash last year, I cannot think of a single time when my glass container would have broken. Would I have to do dishes more often? Yes. Do we have enough glassware to hold all of the leftovers that I need in order to survive at school? No. Well, we have enough, but then they would be at school and my wife wouldn't have anywhere to put the leftovers that are produced when I'm not there. So an investment in glassware would be a positive step for me. I'll discuss it with my wife.

Wait, we need to discuss the weight issue first. I generally carry 2 or 3 lunches to school each day (I commute 25 miles a day and teach 10 activity classes a week, it takes a lot of food to prevent me from losing weight). Three glass containers would be heavy in my bag and they may make my back hurt. The glass is also bulkier than plastic, so it wouldn't fit as well. OK, I'll stop whining, I think I can do it and will work toward that change.

Now comes the water bottles. I haven't seen any really good science on it, but I would have to believe that drinking water out of a carcinogenic petroleum product (plastic) is not the healthiest choice. Glass would be better. I'm sure I could get a glass or jar up to school to use instead of my plastic bottle. Where I run into a problem is hiking and stuff. I'm afraid that glass would break in my backpack. I use my plastic Nalgene bottles to play baseball with rocks, I sincerely believe that they are indestructible (close anyway). I suppose I could carry a glass jar up to school and save the plastic for hikes and other excursions that require something a little less breakable. Consider it done.

Now that I've written this, I want to define weakness. This is based almost entirely on what I've just written, so take it for what it is. A weakness is a bad habit that you know that you have, that you could change with little effort, but don't. So what are your weaknesses?


Nate said...

My weakness: not working enough (and not at all sometimes) on my thesis.

Be careful that your glass water-bottles are not lead glass. That might not be very safe.

spoken said...

I'm going to leave to call for my weaknesses because they are legion. However I can make a suggestion about yours :~)

At least for the water, and possibly for other things consider stainless steel? Recently there's been discussion about the plastic used in Nalgene bottles leaching Bisphenol-A, which may or may not be a problem, I think the science is still out, but the latest stainless bottles and stuff are remarkably light and strong. Clean easily, etc. No, they're not as dent proof, but they hold up well, and even if you cannot remove all the plastic, maybe you can remove more.

I try to be pragmatic in my approach toward improvements. It's not an all or nothing game, even if zero is where I'd like to be. Each step is helpful, and teaches more about what's possible. I believe that's fully in line with your approach, but worth repeating.

Vertigo said...

Recently, an outdoor retailer up here similar to REI stopped selling Nalgene because of some chemical (perhaps 'spoken' has the right one) that seemingly leaches out of the lexan. Apparently it is similar enough to estrogen to cause some concern.

There are some good steel or aluminum bottles coming out recently.

Nalgenes are destructible. A student of mine grabbed mine off a desk, threw it to the floor while exclaiming "These things are unbreakable!" It broke rather catastrophically. I presume that its advanced age and the fact that it bounced down its share of cliffs had something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

how about shoveling the snow for your wife?