Do you recycle “little things”?
May 11, 2009 12:15pm CST
When I say that, I don’t mean small things, I mean in regards to the phrase, “Every little thing counts.” It’s difficult to do, but what I’m doing at work is this: Instead of using the disposable cups, I use a coffee mug. I’ve done the math, I average 3-4 cups of coffee a day at work, so Monday to Friday, so 15-20 cardboard cups I go through in a week. Since we’re the ones that provide the kitchen supplies here at the hospital, I know that each box of cups we give the department holds 1000, and they tend to order 2 boxes each time when supplies get low. NOW, going with the highest variable, a box of a 1000 for just myself, would last me a year, short 2 weeks. BUT, remember when I said I work in a hospital? Well, add onto my average, and then times that by like 10-20 doctors in the ONE department, and some drink more coffee than me! That’s saying something! Lol. I’ve decided to use the coffee mug at work because one: easier to reheat my coffee in the microwave when it gets a little chilled (away from my desk delivering items through out the day), two: I’m actually drinking LESS coffee now, because I would have to go get the mug first, THEN walk to the staff lounge, so it’s healthier for me too! Three: I like totally greatly reduced the amount of garbage I produce with my coffee drinking habit ALONE. So what’s your “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” dealio?
• United States
12 May 09
Well, I just requested you as a friend but you might not like my opinion about recycling lol. I actually prefer to use my own glass or bottle for water because I like the big giant tea tumblers, the ones that hold like 24-32 oz. That means I can fill it with ice and water and a straw and not have to keep getting up over and over to refill it. As far as coffee? If I'm working in an office or something? Give me the disposable cardboard or styrofoam. I used to work in an office. A 10 floor office downtown in the rainiest state on the planet. Why is that significant? Well some jerk that works for the company decided to put up this proposal about not using disposable ANYTHING. Overnight, everything disappeared. This meant no paper cups, no plastic silverware, nothing, the company didn't provide any of the things they had been providing for YEARS. I guess it wouldn't be so bad since all I had to do is bring my own big water glass and a big mug for coffee, right? WRONG. Despite working in a primarily female environment, you should have seen how slovenly and messy and sloppy these people were! I started leaving the office with my friend Luke and we'd go HAVE LUNCH ELSEWHERE because it was like playing God with your health to bring anything for lunch that you had to put in the lunchroom fridge. Also, you were gambling with whether it would even BE there at lunchtime when you went to retrieve it. As far as coffee, nobody cleaned the coffeemaker. Some people didn't even know how to brew it right even though it was a foolproof industrial pot and inside the drawers underneath were either regular or decaf pouches and you would just cut off one end, pour the coffee into the dispenser on top, and push the little red button. You didn't even have to measure any coffee or add any water! Some idiot once put two pouches of coffee in there to brew and tried to add water. We had water and coffee grounds all over the floor in there within 2 minutes. Anyway, because nobody ever felt like cleaning up or taking care of their own things and because there was so much theft and other crap going on, I really would much rather have preferred just to keep using disposable everything because then I didn't have to worry that someone was touching/using my cups every time they disappeared. It was inconvenient for me to replace cups that *I* brought because some jerk forgot theirs and decided that since I wasn't in my cubicle, perhaps I didn't need my cup just then.... OR if I left it in the dishrack after washing it... you know, same thing. I never was able to find out who the thief was but you can guarantee I never brought any of the nice mugs I've gotten as gifts, didn't want those broken or stolen! I do recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles myself at home, but I also get money from the recycling centers for doing so. I put that money in my daughter's piggy banks. I look at recycling this way - if the good things outweigh the inconvenience or there IS no inconvenience, do it. If the inconvenience outweighs the good things, it's really a personal decision. I choose NOT to do something that is too inconvenient or causes too much trouble. For instance, I will always own and drive a car. I don't care who else doesn't want to, I always will. If there's another easier, cheaper, more convenient form of transportation in the future, of course I'd switch. But it would have to be BETTER than having a car lol. I DO use the energy efficient (green) light bulbs but they are EXACTLY the same as regular ones. They even cost around the same now but they last longer. Why wouldn't I use them? Now if they were bulky and I had to buy extra parts to make them fit standard lamps and light fixtures, they cost 3 times as much, then no, I would not use them.
13 May 09
You bring a very good strong point to the table and I thank you for that. And don't you HATE people who take your lunch? It's just stupid! And you can't give them the benefit of a doubt, like, maybe they were mistaken, because once they've opened the lunch box or bag and notice it's NOT their food, they should put it back and leave it be. We had SUCH a major problem of this going on at the call center I used to work at. Just stupid ignorant people, who figures, free food, who's gonna know? Uh, you're letting those people starve and cranky when they notice their food missing. That's when I started to just put an ice pack in my lunch bag to keep it cool and leave it at my desk where no one can see it. My coffee cup I keep at my desk only cost me a dollar, from the dollar store, I keep my good mugs at home too, I collect them as well, I tend to buy a new mug whenever a new event happens in my life, speaking of which, I need a mug with a picture of my new baby boy nephew hehe. ANYWHO, You bring a valid point to my attention, if the forces that be "dah big wigs" refuse to encourage you by incentive, and providing you with the objects to do so correctly, then yes, it becomes a hassle and you don't want to do it. Maybe mention it to someone in regards to the why it's an issue? At another call center though, we had to stop purchasing plastic utensils because it just cost too much money, and pretty much encouraged people to stop bringing their own silverware in their lunchbag their selves, just encouraged them to waste, and I was also shocked to see how much we racked up THAT bill, only because I was on the better relations committee, which is similar to the social committee, just sounded better lol. And some people, REALLY need help when they don't know how to work a coffee maker, especially when picture instructions that are simple are provided for them directly above said coffee machine, like we do so here at work. But THAT conversation will go on and on. Kudos to you for putting the recycling money to a good use! We do something similar, but we don't have kids, just a bunch of singles in a town house, but we use the money to donate to our roommates leukemia marathon that she runs every year. And as for the car situation? I travel by public transit, SOMEWHAT by choice, but not really. I decided that the car payments, as well as insurance payments, were just too much for me at the time, and I just didn't NEED a car. But for better transport? Still waiting for those dang hover cars! Thanks for responding and happy myLotting!
• United States
12 May 09
when I worked in an office, I always drank out of my mug and I tried to always carry my cup to the cafeteria to get ice rather than have to buy one of theirs. but mostly I tried to bring my ice from home so I didn't even use their ice and when I did that, I ALWAYS brought it in my own insulated mug yes, some days I threw some away, but there again, I threw it away on the grass so the grass got some water (and considering that we seldom were not needing water) it wasn't going to go down the drain, but into the ground. I don't work there any more, so I don't do that any more, but I still try to keep from wasting things and I recycle as much as I can, even bringing home recycleables from my client's.
• United States
11 May 09
I dont drink coffee, but I drink a lot of water while I am at work! I, too, use a mug. I feel so much better about it than always having to throw away a cup each time I want a drink! I even do this at home. I try not to ever use paper plates (although we do occasionally). I try to always use reusable cups. I even have a water bottle that I can take with me so I dont have to use the disposable ones! It is cheaper and better for the environment. I do believe every little step we take adds up. It may seem like each person is only doing something small. Sometimes you wonder if turning off that 1 light really makes a difference, but it DOES! One thing that I think is important about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is that it should be done in that order. The first thing you should do is to reduce your waste. This is exactly what you are doing by using a mug rather than the disposable cups. You will always have somethings that cant be done without. The next step is to reuse them! If you got something in the mail in a box, use that box next time you need to mail something. A box was still necessary, but it could be easily used more than once! The last resort is to recycle. Using the box example again, if you recieved 5 packages but arent going to mail anything yourself and you dont need them for storage, recycle them. They can be made into something else. But by doing the first 2 steps first, the amount of recycling will be reduced too. That will eliminate the pollution from the recycling plants as well! I am always glad to see people trying. Sometimes it takes a little bit of coaxing, but people often find that the reduce, reuse, recycle theory is better!
11 May 09
That's great to hear!! And yeah, the only time we use the paper plates and such, it's when we do a big BBQ at our place on a long weekend, just so much easier for cleanup. And it's funny you say that about the boxes, because I work at shipping and receiving at a hospital lol. I always keep my eyes open for a good sized box, because I tend to ship quite a few things back home to Nova Scotia, across the country. Thanks for responding and happy myLotting!
11 May 09
I like to reuse stuff by 'pimping' it. I sew old clothes into new ones by doing simple things like shortening the sleeves, but I can also use them to make something completely different or cut all kinds of different patches and make a pillowcase out of it or something like that. I also give away to charity if I have stuff that is still ok to use. I've heard though that using plastic coffee cups is better for the environment than a regular cup as the dish soap, especially the ones in a dish washer, end up to be much more chemical and harmfull. I am not sure whether this is true, I heard it around college once by some respectfull professors so they must at least have some good reason for believing so.
11 May 09
Oh kool! I used to try to do that, but the clothes just end up piling up. Thanks for mentioning this though, because it reminded me to call the Thrift shop that was SUPPOSED to come get 2 garbage bags full of old clothes I'm donating to them lol. And it's good to hear that about the dish soap though, but I don't think they would be able to sell the soap if this was the case. But as for my mug, I just use hot water to clean it out, and wipe it down. Thanks for doing your part! Thanks for responding and Happy myLotting!
• United States
19 May 09
It is hard, but I am trying also. It is a shame that we have become a disposable country/world. I now pay attention and buy in recycylable containers. I do not drink much coffee, but love Dr. Pepper and I try to take my mug in with me. If not I use the foam container until it starts leaking, then tear it up and put it in the bottom of the next plant I pot. I live in a small town but the schools recycle plastic, tin cans, glass and cardboard as a fund raiser and I use their containers. I can take my aluminum down and get a small amount of money for it, but I do not have much as it cost more to purchase cans than 2 liter bottles. I have learned that one plastic cap in the plastic bottle can ruin the entire recycling process, so I am careful about that too. I think most of the USA has learned to live with less fuel for their cars and we have reduced our the amount we use. I know I only go to town when I have therapy or a doctors appointment and will do everything then. It is bound to be harder to do n a work environment, but think how much money a hospital or other company could save just by cutting out those cups and what that could mean to the landfills. God bless you and good luck at converting the entire hospital.