The theme of the Green Mom’s Carnival this month is Eco-Confessions. And I have a big one. I love fast food. Every time I pass a McDonald’s I have to close my eyes and count to ten to keep from going in and ordering a double cheeseburger. This fact probably grosses some of you out. And when I think about what a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is made of, it grosses me out too. But it’s hard to think about the cows and environmental degradation wrought by the meat industry (and the mono-culture GMO corn industry) when I catch a whiff of those burgers sizzling on the grill.
But that’s not really my confession. Because mostly, I manage to resist that McDonald’s urge that was instilled in me as a child through no fault of my own. I resist and resist. And the few times a year I succumb, I get out with no bag, no napkin, no cup or straw or ketchup pack. I do try to mitigate the damage as much as possible because I’m always prepared with my reusable to-go accoutrements.
Except a few weeks ago, I had this for lunch and didn’t include any of it in my plastic tally:
It’s not McDonald’s. It’s Amanda’s in downtown Berkeley. The fries aren’t actually fries. They’re baked. The burger isn’t meat (although Amanda’s does serve beef). It’s only the best veggieburger I’ve ever had in my life (made from walnuts and mushrooms.) The soda is homemade ginger ale very lightly sweetened. Because Amanda’s is part of Berkeley’s Eat Well program, which mandates that participating restaurants meet a set of criteria including using no trans fats, offering a fruit or vegetable side dish, and offering a drink option other than soda.
Amanda’s desserts include roasted nuts or very small cookies. Nothing is super-sized or soaked in grease. In fact, Amanda was inspired by the film Super Size Me and book Fast Food Nation to create this restaurant and make a difference.
And all that plastic? It’s compostable. Made from corn or potatoes or other natural fiber.
And that’s my real confession. I was out in the world. I was hungry. I didn’t have my to-go accessories with me that day because I didn’t plan to be out so long. And I had just successfully resisted the urge to slip into McDonald’s down the street. I knew that I could put all the waste from Amanda’s into the handy compost bin provided and that it would all actually be composted by the City of Berkeley.
But I still felt guilty as sin.
Because why waste all this material… even for compost… when we don’t have to? Why doesn’t a restaurant like Amanda’s that is trying to do such a good job (and IS doing a great job compared to fast food resturants) provide reusable plates and utensils for customers staying to eat their food in the restaurant? And why didn’t I remember to bring my own mug and utensils and napkin to avoid this waste myself?
As Captain Moore said a few weeks ago, “Refuse” is the first “R.” Well, we can’t refuse to eat. But we can follow the second R, “Reduce” before opting for Recycling or Rotting in this case.
And then of course, realizing that I was doing the very thing that I urge you guys not to do… i.e. feel guilty for not being perfect… I started to feel even guiltier! It’s madness. Madness, I tell you. All this eco-perfectionism. It doesn’t help, does it?
So, those are my confessions. I sometimes eat at McDonald’s when I can’t resist temptation. I sometimes forget to bring my own and end up generating unnecessary waste. And I sometimes feel guilty for not being perfect. In other words, I am human!
We had a great time sharing eco-confessions on this blog back in March. Do you have any more or new confessions to share? For inspiration, check out the Green Moms carnival which will be hosted on Wednesday, June 24, at The Green Parent blog.