We’ve signed up for green power, switched our lightbulbs, given up plastic bags, and I convinced my students not to use cover sheets for the rest of their assignments this semester (big classes; it adds up). And now that the weather is finally nicer, I'm shifting some public transit trips to foot power, quite happily. But I’ve been looking the other way when it comes to 90% of our recycling each week: soda cans and bottles, and those little plastic yogurt cups. I know, I know: I should kick the diet soda habit altogether. I did, though, think I had found a more earth friendly solution, in a home-based make your own soda gadget. But the gizmo uses polycarbonate bottles, which have been receiving so much press this week as Canada moves to ban the chemical P.B.A. in products that come into contact with food or beverages. (Popular bottle maker Nalgene today also announced plans to stop manufacturing polycarbonate bottles.) So for now, I guess I’m sticking with the recyclable bottle status quo.
Yogurt appears to hold out more promise. I remembered babysitting in high school for a family that had a little 6-cup yogurt maker, so I knew such things existed at least in the past. It turns out they survived the 70s, enjoyed a revival of sorts in the excitement about thin French women, and if one hunts it’s possible to find devices that use glass cups, which avoids the whole PBA problem. As reluctant as I am to add even a small appliance in the kitchen . . . we really do go through a lot of yogurt. Even though the recycling that services my building does take the little cups, it’s an awful lot of waste. I think homemade yogurt will also be healthier, although as the diet soda paragraph suggests, health isn’t always a selling point at Chez Daily Mitzvah.
Today’s mitzvah: What’s your environmental blind spot, the area that’s stubbornly un-greening the works? Consider tackling it for Earth Day.