Quieting my inner cynic

If every cloud has a silver lining, every environmentalist has an inner cynic. We’re the ones who say, “Earth Day? I do this kind of thing 24-7-365.” True to form, I had a field day today when I came home from school.

The weather outside was delightful, so I was able to walk to and from work. I brought my own lunch, refilled my own water bottle and coffee mug, and handled the workday in my usual green way. Then I came home.

A package was on the porch: a product review sample left by FedEx. While overnight shipping has a significant carbon footprint, I understand the need for marketers to get their products out to their bloggers quickly. I can swallow this one.

The mailbox had a book in it: a title I’d ordered from a swap site. This book will go to the little free library in front of my school building. Wrapped in recyclable brown paper, this secondhand book quietly and firmly channeled my inner Kermit the Frog green.

The newspaper had an article about reducing trash. A nearby city is considering a pay-by-the-bag policy instead of the current property tax billing. I laughed out loud. When we moved here 16 years ago, we filled our large garbage bin to the brim every week. Now we have a garbage bin that’s half the size (and a fee of $0), and if we miss a weekly pick-up it doesn’t matter. We generate very little garbage. Recycling, composting, and a sincere effort to reuse instead of disposing all contribute to our lack of trash. Charge by the bag? I’m so there.

Well, I opened the box to find a half-axed attempt at enviro-packaging. First, they’d sent me both items instead of the one I wanted. Hint: I didn’t sign up to review a kids’ product because my “kids” are grown-ups now. Second: the box was way, way overpackaged. I might have let this go if the only packaging had been the (reusable and recyclable) shredded paper, but atop the paper was a plastic sheath and underneath were two – 2! – layers of puffy plastic pillows.

Deep breath, Daisy, deep breath. Not every company has the same eco-standards as the Okay Chorale. Finish supper, settle in with laptop, and relax.

My inbox had a note from a consulting group recruiting bloggers to try a program called the One Bag Party. Their goal is (are you ready for this?) to keep trash bags out of the landfill by making their bags stronger with less plastic. I stopped myself from snorting cappuccino out my nose at this one. This is supposed to be eco-sensitive? Make the bags bigger and stronger so people can throw away more garbage? People, check out the graduation party for Amigo and La Petite – much more true to the One Bag Party concept. We didn’t even use the lyrical Red Solo Cup.

Oh, sigh. I guess the world isn’t ready for the Compostermom standard. Quiet, inner cynic, quiet.

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