Whenever I can, I round up my dollar to reduce my carbon footprint, consolidate my online orders into a single delivery, and make it a point to buy sustainable clothing. And yet, I am still susceptible to discrepancies between my professed personal values as a consumer and my actual behaviors. Sometimes the gaps are so tiny as to be imperceptible.
The garbage disposal is broken and the sink is backed up. You send your landlord an email on a Friday afternoon.
“The sink is backed up,” you write.
“It may be a while,” she writes back.
In the supermarket, you face a wall full of plasticware, debating. Variety pack or individual packs of forks and spoons? You know you’ll just ditch the plastic knives anyway.
You do the mental math: the number of meals a box of twenty forks will cover. For three meals a day, two adults, two children. You consider coverage for a weekend or more.
Then it catches your eye: a curly green leaf, on a white box with the recycling logo stamped on the bottom. The black font on the front of the box is crisp and clear. Sans the serifs.
FORKS it reads, simply.
Subtitle: Compostable, Eco-Friendly.
You hadn’t included the landfills in your initial calculations. You choose one box of compostable spoons and one box of compostable forks. You place the boxes in your shopping cart, next to your microwavable Amy’s Organic Indian Palak Paneer.
You feel good about this choice, doing right by the earth.
It’s 3 am and you can’t sleep. You decide on mint chip ice cream. It’s the only available flavor so there’s not much need to deliberate this particular decision. You grab the pint from the freezer (and the compostable spoon from the drawer). You take your time with the late-night indulgence, lick the spoon clean and put the rest of the ice cream back in the freezer. You toss the spoon in the trash, not considering that this is not how composting works.