We are sitting in a fast food joint that makes a decent burger. We are hungry, we have been out all day and we chose this restaurant because the four of us can eat for twenty bucks, its quick, and its yummy.
So here I am mowing down and I am looking around the restaurant at the other patrons. There seems to be a lot of people eating salads. They must be good here. I’ve never tried them. Those people certainly made a better food choice than I did.
But then I am looking at the packaging. The salad comes in a plastic container and its being pierced and shovelled into mouths with plastic forks. The salad dressing comes in its own plastic package, convenient for adding just the right amount.
And I am judging. The oil from that plastic was probably drilled in the Middle East. It was shipped to China and processed into plastic pellets. It was melted down into these lovely, convenient shapes put into boxes and shipped half way across the world. It was loaded onto trucks and driven to the restaurant.
And here it is, ready for a bit of lettuce. A container that the consumer uses for ten minutes, a fork that touches your lips a few dozen times. And then it is discarded. Sent to a landfill to sit amongst a billion other pieces of single use plastic.
I’m feeling disgusted. What is it with our society that we don’t even think twice about our destructive consumption habits? We throw things in the trash without a second thought. We want our salads. We want them fast and we want them cheap.
I’m thinking about how many people are in this restaurant right now and how much garbage they are creating. I’m thinking of how many people will eat in this restaurant chain today across the country and how many people will eat at similar restaurants producing similar amounts of garbage. Kriky! Just think of all the straws that were slurped on today and then thrown out!
And then I look down at my own table. I’ve brought in my re-usable mug for my coffee but Mike is drinking an ice tea out of a plastic coated cup complete with plastic lid and straw. The kids are drinking juice from tetra packs. Recyclable yes, but recycling is a bandaid over stab wound. I’m eating my burger that came wrapped in a wax paper like substance, my fries are cradled in cardboard. Our lunch is creating a whole pile of garbage.
Here I am pointing fingers while I am contributing to the problem. I want it fast and cheap too.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I needed this reminder.