Just when things start to settle down and I pledge to restart blogging every Monday, life gets in the way. Here’s what happened:
Adam and I attended a wedding last Saturday. A friend from work was getting married. I was invited as a guest, and Adam was the wedding photographer. Day to day, he’s a photojournalist, but summers tend to get pretty busy as he travels throughout the Northwest photographing weddings on weekends. Frequently, family and friends hire Adam to photograph their weddings (it’s always nice to have a photographer in the family), so I tend to attend weddings by myself, which gives me lots of time to contemplate all manner of things. I spent my time thinking about all the trash generated at weddings, and was planning a post about times when it’s okay to put environmentalism on the back burner.
Then Sunday, we got a call from Adam’s mom. His dad was in the hospital, so we made an emergency trip up to Washington, and we just got home last night. Thankfully, everything turned out okay, but we generated a bit more trash during trips to the hospital. Not only did environmentalism get put on the back burner, so did blogging.
Then, I climbed Mount St. Helens. This was already planned – I went with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. In some ways, it worked out nicely that we were already in Washington, because I just hopped a ride with Mom and Dad while Adam stayed with his parents. We stayed at a motel in Cougar, Washington the night before our climb, planning on a quick continental breakfast the next morning. Turns out, our motel’s version of continental breakfast was nothing but prepackaged muffins, donuts, mini boxes of cereal, and yogurt. Well, I wasn’t about to climb a mountain without eating breakfast, so yet more trash was generated. Good thing, too, because I’m so sore I can barely move.
Here’s the trash tally from these three events (I didn’t bring most of this home with me, due to the circumstances):
Wedding: Paper plates, monogrammed napkins, lots of appetizer toothpicks, individual container of bubbles, lots of ribbon used to decorate my chair, my favors (box of homemade chocolates – yum!), plastic cup for strawberry lemonade. I was able to recycle my glass bottle from a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, because the bride and groom set out a recycling bin for empties.
Hospital: All trash associated with eating out at Taco Bell at 11 p.m. including paper wrappers, straw, and hot sauce packets. We did recycle the soda cup and lid. Also, all trash associated with hospital cafeteria, late night coffee, and celebratory lunch when Adam’s dad was released from the hospital.
Mt. St. Helens Climb: Muffin wrapper, donut wrapper, yogurt tub and lid. (I should add, though, that this particular climb was one of the very few wilderness experiences I’ve had where I noticed virtually no garbage. Kudos to St. Helens climbers for observing Leave No Trace rules).
So what do you think? Are there times when environmentalism just isn’t a priority? Certainly, when we were driving to the hospital, it wasn’t on our minds, nor should it have been. But what about at the wedding? Do I forgo a toast to save a plastic champagne flute?
Interesting to note, too, that a full 100% of this garbage is food-related. This really speaks to the need for food manufacturers/restaurants to move away from single-serve disposable packaging.