This week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge on the Reduce Footprints blog was the following open-ended challenge:
This week, suggest a challenge. This can be a repeat of a past challenge, a version of something we've already done or something completely new ... anything which you feel we should address.
Tell us about something you're struggling with ... a green-living activity which is difficult to adopt in your life.
On my blog post on Wednesday where I posed my challenge idea, I wrote:
I am going to combine the two options this week and choose a challenge that will benefit my wallet as well as the planet. I struggle sometimes with remembering how must waste is generated by eating out. It often feels easier to just buy food for lunch instead of preparing it at home, and stopping by Starbucks often sounds delicious... But most fast food or to-go establishments generate waste--not to mention it costs more money than just eating the food already at home, and it often isn't the healthiest choice. This week, I'll challenge myself to say no to eating out as much as possible... I am living at home until Sunday when I go back to school, so we'll see if I can convince my family to join me!
So, did it work out well? Yes! Did I break the challenge? Yes, once, but let's take a closer look to see how I alleviated the broken challenge...
On Wednesday night, my sister headed off to Big Basin with my dad to go camping, so it was just my mom and I for dinner. She suggested we eat out, but I had just committed to the challenge and wasn't about to break it the first night. I'm supposed to be practicing cooking since I won't have dining hall service this year at school, so we decided to have a cooking class in our own kitchen! I made nachos with bean chips, Daiya cheese, guacamole, and turkey burger cooked with onions, garlic, and mushrooms. We also roasted some sweet peppers with a little olive oil in the oven. All in all, we generated less waste than if we had gone to a restaurant where they give you napkins, wrappers on your food, drinks, straws, etc. And I got to learn how to make an easy meal that is packed with yumminess.
|Sweet peppers with a little olive oil sprinkled over them in a baking pan.|
|Tip from my mom, who learned it from an Italian woman: If you typically wash your mushrooms before cooking them, why not just peel off the outer layer with a knife? Saves water and you don't end up with soggy mushrooms!|
|We typically cook with coconut oil because it doesn't burn as easily as olive oil and vegetable oil.|
|The sweet peppers after roasting them in the oven. Yum!|
|The turkey burger after cooking.|
|Sweet peppers, roasted and ready to eat!|
|Public transportation is the way to go! I was able to get SO much done on the train and bus, and some services has free wi-fi so you can surf the web while you're cruising to your destination!|
Friday, I was at home most of the day. Had my usual cinnamon and sugar toast with Earth Balance and homemade black coffee so breakfast. I think I ate the ramen my sister had cooked but decided not to eat for lunch with an egg cooked in it and lots of hot sauce poured on top. For dinner, I had incredibly yummy enchiladas from Trader Joes. They were frozen, so there was packaging around them, unfortunately.
Saturday morning, same routine as Friday. Picked up some Indian bread at the farmers' market (read more about that here), and for dinner, I broke the challenge by getting In-N-Out. However, I tried something out there that I was glad to see worked. Knowing that it's easy to blow through 9358 napkins and that I always crave the satisfaction quenching my thirst with soda in one of their disposable cups (burgers and water just sounds boring to me, but I suppose I should just get over it), I brought my own cloth napkin and a glass from home to fill up with soda. Fortunately, the cashier barely blinked an eye when I asked if I could use my glass cup instead of theirs. He had no problems with it, and I figured I could just show someone my receipt if they thought I was stealing their precious sodas. It worked well, and the only waste I generated personally was from the fries container, burger wrapper, and some leftover french fry food waste. No straw, no cup, no napkins!
I have today and tomorrow to continue with my challenge, but I don't think it will be difficult. I have the dining hall and some snacks in my room to feed me. I can't wait to see what the new challenge will be on Wednesday, and I look forward to reading everyone else's posts about how their challenge was for them this week!
Thanks for reading!