reusable water bottleSix degrees of separation exist, not only between Kevin Bacon and his footloose, fancy-free Hollywood contemporaries, but also with regard to the average consumer and how he or she inevitably lives a greener lifestyle, often without really even trying. You might be an unwitting “greenneck” if you:
  • favor a plant-based diet;
  • tool around town on a bicycle just ‘cause it’s fun;
  • protect your tabletop with old newspapers whenever you engage in a painting or craft project;
  • make a conscious effort to support local businesses and farmers markets;
  • rock a vintage wardrobe or embrace the fine art of upcycled fashion;
  • spend more time in your garden than on your couch (or in front of the computer, for that matter); and/or
  • think that handcrafted items are far superior to newly minted big-box merchandise.
As you can clearly see, treading a bit lighter on the planet is actually pretty easy, and in so many cases it facilitates a better quality of life, too. Unfortunately, the word “green” conjures up an array of negative stereotypes, some of which are so off-putting to the typical consumer that they’ll do anything to distance themselves. Treehugging? No thanks. I’ll take a chainsaw, instead. Dreadlocks and granola? Not if my buzz cut and big bowl o’beef have anything to do with it. Living more sustainably, however, shouldn’t be about the cool factor or lack thereof. Really, it should be about slightly revamping daily habits so that they contribute to the larger good. Reusable grocery bag toting, organic cotton T-shirt wearing and kitchen scrap composting efforts aside, there is another way to green your lifestyle with minimal effort for maximum impact: Create a portable reusable food and beverage kit! Whenever you’re on the go, eliminate solid waste by placing the following infinitely washable items inside a durable tote bag that can be stored inside your car:
  • assorted food storage containers for leftovers
  • two glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic travel mugs and/or water bottles
  • two sets of bamboo or stainless steel flatware
  • two fabric napkins
  • two sets of plates and bowls
Now that you have your kit primed and ready to go, order a cappuccino or a bite to eat during your next shopping excursion with none of the eco-guilt — just ask that your reusable container or cup be used instead of a disposable version. Hesitant to make this a regular habit? This is one case where it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover. Eliminating the waste associated with to-go food and beverage orders while concurrently protecting your health — since one-time-use packaging is often treated with potentially dangerous chemical coatings that persist in the body long after you’ve taken your last sip or nibble — is actually tres-cool. There is nothing nerdy about being an eco-trendsetter, and even if others don’t follow your lead, at least you’ll be able to hold your head up high, prideful in the knowledge that your drop in the bucket will really add up over time.