Lunchtime Poll

LTP: Environmental Guilt Edition

OK, it’s confession time. I’m going to work under the assumption that we all care about protecting the environment and generally do what we can to minimize our impact. But¬†will also¬†assume that we all have a couple things that we continue to do even though we know they’re “bad” for our poor planet.

I’m not going to let myself off the hook. My biggest one is hot showers. Hot showers are really, really wasteful and yet I can’t keep myself from cranking up the temperature. I like my showers so hot that I’m still kind of steaming after I turn the water off. Good times. But bad for the environment.

So, how about you?

Photo: Getty

21 replies on “LTP: Environmental Guilt Edition”

Wasting water. There are times it takes over ten minutes for our kitchen faucet to come to a reasonable dish washing temperature (apartment building, no dishwasher, and cold water really doesn’t seem to clean well). We did start keeping a bucket in the tub for when that water is heating up and then use it to “flush” the toilet.
I also only use reusable bags about 90% of the time. Other times I just forget, didn’t plan on shopping, etc. I don’t own a car so I try to keep a bag in my purse but that’s not a 100% of the time thing. I do reuse my plastic bags at least as poop bags at my shelter.
We also do forget to unplug laptops and our tv.

Otherwise, we do decently, I think. We do use reusable bags 90% of the time. We try to walk most places (or take public transport). We switched my cat to biodegradable eco-friendly cat litter and sustainably caught seafood and organic chicken canned food. I don’t eat meat and only eat seafood I’ve texted to 30644 for confirmation of its sustainability and low environmental impact (“Fish+mahimahi” for example) by Blue Ocean Institute, and even that is only about once a week.

I do use AC but it’s because the way my building is set up my apt becomes like an oven (massive window, no air flow, even with the windows open) to the point that when the power went out when I was out of town, I had a friend pick up my cat and keep him at her place so he wouldn’t suffer. We do try to keep the AC reasonable and use almost no heat in the winter due to the window.

I also use plastic water bottles sometimes. Though I did just purchase a WWF tiger aluminum bottle so hopefully I’ll remember to not ever put milk in that (how the last one died, the smell would Not come out) and use that for all my portable water needs.

I live outside DC and love that DC just started a movement for restaurants and businesses to post a sign saying they’ll fill your water bottle for free with filtered tap water.

Oh how I love single stream curbside recycling! Anything you can recycle just goes in the huge bin. If we didn’t have curbside I doubt we would be so hardcore about recycling. Like everyone else I over use hot water and AC. We have two very small kids and believe me they are not eco-friendly.
My two biggest jerk moves are below.
We started out 100% cloth diapers but for so many reasons the reality did not match up to our ideals. Now we do these nice Swedish disposables that are mostly biodegradable for sleep and some outings. Boo us but there are nights when I would burn an acre of rain forest myself for an extra hour of sleep.
We also get take out from the amazing Japanese place even though they use nothing but polystyrene. I die a little every time we get it home but it’s the best place in town and two kids under two do not make eating out easy.
High school me would shake her head in disgust at 30 year old me.

I helped my fiance move in with me this weekend, and all of my recycling principles basically went out the window. There was just so. much. stuff. At least we used mostly plastic bins and fabric bags to move instead of cardboard boxes.

Also, my dog has never been *fully* housebroken, so I have a doggie litter box that I put pee pads in. I go through probably 7 or 8 of them a week. I feel bad, but… it’s either that or she pees on my bathroom rug.

My biggest eco-sin is definitely water wasting. I used to go through an absurd amount of paper towels, too, until I switched to washable rags.

The other worst thing (besides driving a car, of course) is something I don’t entirely have control over but I still benefit from. I have breast cancer, and I go through an absurd amount of non-reusable material for that – plastic above plastic above plastic. The worst is once a month I get an IV of medicine shipped to me at home – it’s this enormous styrofoam cooler with all kinds of packaging for this itty bitty syringe. They can only send one at a time! Styrofoam is the worst thing out there.

We try to balance our badness out, though, like all the rest of you have mentioned – we recycle, have a plot in our community garden, and vote Democrat.

My township doesn’t do recycling pickup at apartments, so I keep all of my recycling in my bedroom and hall closet. Every few months I take it to my parents’ house and make it their problem. They have me return their pop cans to the grocery store and keep the money, so trips home are a win-win for me.

I am a big fan of those ceramic mugs with silicone lids that look like paper cups. I have one that has COOL BEANS on it. They are great for taking coffee or tea to class. On extra caffeine days, I bring my Stanley thermos.

I do take scalding hot showers and baths, though.

well, I’m usually really good, I go to shop with fabric bags, i don’t take unnecessary plastics and wash my house with vinegar and essential oils, do laundry only in cold water with eco-friendly detergent, I do compost and grow vegetables in a community garden. I also ride bike in the city. yay for me.
but I also like my showers and I can’t live without AC in the summer. well maybe I can but I won’t. it’s fucking hot and humid here.

Very guilty of the hot, long showers as well. I also am awful about the “phantom energy”stuff – my laptop and cell phone charger are always plugged in.

I make up for it by working at an organization that is all about environmental research, so they’re solving the big problems that I’m creating by my little actions, right?

When I lived in Toronto I was militant about recycling. But the city also picked everything up for me. Now that I live in a city without a car, and the enviro-depo is a 45 minute walk away… AND it’s winter? Everything goes in the trash. It’s pretty bad.

I’m getting ready to move to Toronto and I can’t believe how easy it is to recycle there. We currently have to haul our recycling twenty MILES to a facility where we have to fully sort it (not just paper/containers but by material and even paper weight). It’s annoying and I would definitely have given up if my guy wasn’t so adamant about it.

Toronto is Canada’s second greenest city and with good reason. We’ll see if it stays the same with Mr. Ford running the ship as Mayor.

I am so jealous of your Toronto move. It’s a fantastic city to live and I miss it like crazy. Do you know where you will be living? So many fantastic neighbourhoods. If you need any held or recommendations, send me a note!

I leave the water running when I am doing dishes even if I don’t need it. I don’t always, and I feel this huge pang of guilt if I leave the sink to get something and leave the water on, but I do it anyway.
Last summer I used way more air conditioning than was necessary. Like, sometimes I would need to wear a sweatshirt inside. I am killing the earth :(

I apologize in advance for the following rant…

Until there is a major change in how industries are expected to operate in order to protect the environment, it it complete and utter nonsense to put the onus on individuals. Don’t guilt-trip people for taking hot showers or for not using public transportation/biking/etc. (not YOU Hattie, just the whole “movement” in general), when we have states that allow companies to dump all kinds of wastes into our rivers and oceans, and just have wasteful practices in general.

That said, I’m pretty bad about recycling. Everything else–from reusable grocery bags (which I swear I will burn and switch to disposable baby whale skin bags when the next annoying “Go Green! ad pops up), to food, to laundry, to personal care items, etc.–I’m pretty good. But I’m way too lax with recycling.

I have a few steel water bottles that I like. I first had some with small threads on the opening, but they got rusty and held on to gunk, making my water taste awful. Now I have a few that have big threads molded into the main part of the opening. They clean much easier. I also have a few of those reusable cups with straws. My university has awful water, so I bring a bottle or cup to class and add a packet of Arnold Palmer mix or crystallized lemon to cover up the nastiness.

Hot showers definitely, and I drive to work. It’s totally a bikeable distance, but it’s such a paaaain to bike in business casual.
I try to balance it out with the veganism and aggressive recycling. Also, a CSA and trying to grow my own food.
I’m still a big ol’ jerk, though; my partner and I combined have a truly absurd amount of Apple and XBox-related products. :hangs head in shame:

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