Personal Journey: June Update

I have to admit. I have been a terrible sustainability ambassador recently. I’ve had a few small wins, but many more losses.

I am ashamed to say that today I had takeaway udon noodle soup. Out of a styrofoam container. STYROFOAM.

I kept the plastic bag that it came in to reuse… and I used my own chopsticks… And to be fair, the place was take-away only, there was no where to sit in the restaurant. Normally I would bring my own bowl, but today it was at home in my dishwasher.

It is just unbelievably hard sometimes to be zero waste, when you are unprepared for example, or in certain social situations. I was recently in a five hour client meeting, in which we were served plastic bottled water out of tiny plastic, disposable cups. At first I abstained, as had my reusable water bottle with me. But then I finished my water. And there was no break in the meeting to refill my bottle… (Not to mention that the tap water in Barcelona tastes atrocious – the bottle had previously been filled from a water cooler) And I was thirsty…

So I succumbed, and I took a disposable plastic cup, and drank their plastic bottled water from it. But how to avoid such a situation? It may have already even been considered rude that I initially declined the client’s water and drank from my personal (admittedly rather banged up and bright orange) water bottle.

Perhaps my consultant lifestyle is just incompatible with slow, zero waste living. I was also constrained into grabbing a quick salad in a takeaway plastic bowl to eat in the taxi on the way to the airport – there just wasn’t time for a sit down meal, and it’s not really realistic either that I should carry my own bowl and utensils everywhere I go on a business trip. Where would I even wash them? In my hotel room bathroom? With hand soap? That just doesn’t seem feasible.

(I tried bringing my reusable coffee cup on a previous business trip, but it ended up leaking a little bit, was also difficult to clean, and generally caused more headaches than it helped).

No solutions here yet, other than considering a potential career change 😀

Have you also struggled to be sustainable while travelling? Let me know if so!