For the last two weeks I have been mindful of my habits of consumption. I have been working hard to stay focussed on completing my own personal coffee challenge. My goal was to make the two week period without using a single K-Cup or purchasing a coffee in a throw away cup. I managed to purchase only one coup of coffee in a paper cup that I think can be completely recycled. Here is what I learned from the coffee challenge.
Total Cups of Coffee Consumed: 44 + 1 Purchased
Average cost of a single K-Cup: $ 0.48
Actual Cost Saved: $ 0.48 x 44 = $21.12
Purchased Coffee: $2.25
Cost of Tin of Coffee: $12.99
A savings of: $5.88
Well, there was a financial savings to be had. More importantly was the savings in terms of waste. Other than the coffee grounds, I managed to keep well over a pound of K-Cups out of our local landfill. Success.
Part 2 - My Consumerism and My Plan to Change:
Reflecting on the readings, especially Mulligan’s third chapter on Consumerism, I have made a conscious effort of the last few weeks to reflect on my habits. Fortunately, My family and I are not wild and crazy spenders and we don’t often buy lots of goods. We tend to save for family trips in the summer months. This year alone we have been watching our spending habits and I have a hard time trying to isolate major expenses (wants) that have occurred.
I plan to continue to work hard to do my part. I am making a conscious effort to use re-usable containers for my lunch. I will focus on grocery shopping in a manner that will account for unnecessary waste both financially and towards the environment.
Things i will continue to work on:
Reusable container usage
I plan to take advantage of the idea of reducing waste through the use of recyclable containers. It have found that it is convinient to use cheap sandwichbags to assemble my lunch in the morning. A did a quick figure and came to the conclusion that I am adding well over 2000 sandwich bags into the environment every year by using them for my families lunch preperation.
Continue to drive an older vehicle
I have an older vehicle that has been reliable over the years. We have talked about an upgrade but, it is more of a "want" than a "need". Although the vehical would be recycled (for the most part), I feel that keep one less car out of the dump would do something for the environment.
Examine every need to establish that it is not a want
I will continue my practise of asking myself is this purchase a "want" or a "need". I am also working to establish this practise in the mind of my children.
Be aware of planned obsolescence
This concept is largely out of my control. I have made it practise to examine technology for the idea of "what can break and how fast will it break". My purchases have been slanted towards the likelyhood of me being able to fix the problem and/or the tech.
Be aware of marketing and advertizing strategies
Yet again, I will be mindful and ask myself is this a "need" or a "want". Furthermore, is the marketing strategy one of an imposing fear or need to belong.
Things I want to work on:
Hosehold power consumption and heating
We are in the process of looking at a new furnace. I believe that my local power company will subsidize the purchase if the unit is energy efficient. This is a goal of my family. We want to instill the importance of sustainable technology in the minds of our children. Furthermore, I am looking into ways to properly seel the areas around the windows and doors that allow for energy to escape. I have alos begun to change 75% of the household lighting to a more effecient LED alternative.
Buy more local foods
This practise is easier in the summer months. We have a local market that supplies my community with fresh produce fromlocal farms. The produce is amazing. The market also made ties with local bakers and dairy farmers. Unfortunately, the market is seasonal. I am going to make a concious effort to locate local suppliers that we can approach during the winter months.
Reduce my personal carbon footprint
I am getting a bicycle! This was plan long before I took this course. I believe it is a good way to spend some quality family time while reducing my carbon footprint in the process. I am the only family member without a bike. I will probably delay this purchase until the spring.
Start a garden
My wife and I have talked about using a portion of our backyard to start a garden. We don't have much experience growing vegetables but, we have plenty of neighbors who are willing too teach us.
Overall, this assingment was an interesting process. I found myself being critical of every ad that I saw on television. I was also spending a fair bit of time wondering how I could be more effective in my efforts. I am glad I was able to start with a small challenge like eliminating the K-Cup usage in my daily routine. This is just the beginning. I will work harder to reduce that carbon footprint and my daily waste.
Wish me luck!