fasting from plastic: how it broke just as it began

it turned out that my fast from single use plastic broke nearly just as it began (time to pick myself up and start over…)

to prepare for my fast, i did all the right things: made a inventory of the single use plastic in my daily life, remembered to pull together what i needed to avoid single use plastic, and encouraged myself actively to refuse single use plastic by saying “please no straw” or “please use my cup.” carrying my string bags, equipped with bento box and reusable coffee cup thermos, i was ready to face the challenge

but it wasn’t that simple. who would have thought that single use plastic appears when you least expect it?

for example, not long into my fast from single use plastic, i decided that rather than packing lunch, i would go to a locavore, environmentally responsible fast food place (yes, they do exist!) near my office. ordering an incredibly healthy kale and grain bowl with a poached egg, i was either in gluten free hipster heaven or some equivalent healthy eating zone veering much too close to locovorist (should i just say classist?) self-righteous orthoexia

i’m saying self-righteous, because i see the disorder as a spiritual one as well as just an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating

but never fear, before i could delight in how good i was to the planet and still engaging in wonderful self-care, i saw that the dressing for the grain bowl delivered on the edge of the bowl in …

a single use plastic container

it was then that i realized, right, most restaurants these days deliver salad dressings and salsa in little plastic cups. the plastic cups cut down on last minute preparation and are conveniently single serve, so who can blame them?

what does this mean for my fasting from single use plastic?

well, the thing that i’ve learned in the week of trying this out is that fasting from single use plastic makes one more mindful of all kinds of choices one makes. because most impulse or last minute choices of food, in particular, come in single use plastic, one has to plan. this means that it is less likely that you will spend money on a snack during the day, as you will have had to bring it along in your own containers. but it also has meant that i’ve become more aware of how consumption fits into my everyday life. i’m not saying that little breaks for coffee and such are a bad thing, just that i’ve become more aware and, often, more grateful for an afternoon espresso or a piece of fruit i’ve taken from home

so i failed during my first week, but it’s taught me something

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