Monday, October 13, 2008


This Need Less, Give More experiment is chock full of catch-22s.

Like Dr. Dolittle's pushmi-pullyu, sometimes I can't decide which direction is right. For example, I want to cut back on my use of paper goods. Like my friend Dana, I want to stop using paper towels and napkins and use cloth instead. But that would mean I would have to buy cloth napkins. And so, I run headlong into the Need Less experiment. Under a strict interpretation of the rules I can't buy "things," but I can buy consumables. (I'm trying really hard not to mention soap.) Because paper towels and napkins are technically consumables, I could buy them. But I don't want to because the subcontext of this little experiment has to be creating less waste and using less of everything.

Do you think finger bowls are acceptable? Or should I just make all my guests use their sleeves? I guess I could start tearing up sheets and make my own napkins, but that just seems wrong.

Then yesterday I was at the grocery store actually buying groceries. As anyone who has looked in my fridge can attest, this is something I rarely do. But thinking I would turn over a new leaf (and because all the guys at work have me convinced that I should get prepared for inevitable Armageddon), I decided to put something other than J├Ągermeister and blue cheese dressing in my fridge.

Along comes the catch-22 again.

I only have two cloth grocery bags and I'm pretty sure all the groceries I need won't fit in just two. I don't want to use plastic bags, but under the rules of the experiment I can't buy any more cloth bags. Is there really anything wrong with just marching your cart full of loose groceries out to your car? Every place except Costco frowns on this practice for some reason. Maybe I should use pillow cases? Or hat boxes? I have plenty of those. But I think even the nice people at Harmon's would look at me funny if I walked in with a cart full of hat boxes and started filling them with bananas and tortillas and string cheese.

There has to be a way to stay true to the Need Less experiment and also use less of the consumable stuff too. Any ideas?

1 comment:

KL said...

Hmmm..go to the grocery store more? (But then you use more gas). How bout asking them for boxes they are going to throw away anyway! Then you can recycle them when you get home!!