This was my first week back at work sense I quit when I was 6 months pregnant(over 2 years ago). The journey into motherhood was beautifully and enlightening and led me down this path to zero waste. Although I haven't come close to zero yet, I have been trying for years to lower my waste production. Being back to work makes me look at things in a new light. All over the office people toss paper barely used in the garbage, very few people bring there own coffee cups, instead they use the paper throw aways. Lunch buffet has been provided 3 times this week, and I am so sick for the amount of plastic plates, spoons, and forks that have been tossed... I am the new girl, and would feel so uncomfortable saying anything at all. I hope to make some changes as time goes on...but my head and heart will continue to ache in the process.
Working on zero waste at home has also opened my eyes to the amount of unnecessary waste produced at the office. It's made me realize how unaware most of us are about where that trash goes at the end of the day. I know how intimidating it can be to suggest any type of change. It helps to start small and get the conversation going by setting an example. Bring your own reusable coffee mug everyday, refuse the paper plate and plastic utensils, and do what you can to avoid using the trash can at your desk. At the very least, you'll pique others' curiosity as to what you are doing and make them think twice about using the disposable plates;)
Many hugs! I hear you loud and clear. I was traveling in August and felt such heartache over all the waste I saw in those ten days (four airplanes, three airports, one hotel, one business conference, four family homes, two college dorms and campuses, and numerous restaurants).
I am now a month plus removed from it, but I recall it like it was yesterday. Some things I have worked out for myself may or may not help you.
1) I am reducing MY waste for my own reasons. Regardless of others and their actions, I still feel strongly about the ocean and earth and my children's future world.
2) I am being the change I wish to see, as Ghandi said (paraphrasing). I'm not always the perfect example, but I do my part when and how I can for now.
3) I am open about it with those who are close to me and am teaching my child the details. Some folks have made some changes due to my influence/example and others are digging their heels in further. I can only be an example; I cannot force anyone and I wouldn't want to. Freedom and individuality are very important to me.
4) There are bigger and bigger pockets of awareness happening. I like to think corporate America will be following along shortly... ;)
Here's a good story for you. I am taking a six week cooking class and we prepare a group lunch (3-6 dishes) and eat it in class and clean up. I had no idea what to expect on the first day. I was pleasantly surprised to find each student brings his/her own plate, utensils, and cup/mug (reusable drinking container of some kind)! We use mostly stainless steel cooking pots/pans/utensils, glass measuring cups, glass/SS/porcelain serving dishes, and cotton dish cloths and towels! There are over 30 students in every class, so this is great. :)