Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Green Travel

(That red spot on Jake's nose is a scratch from Kami, whom he had really been provoking... sigh.)

Musings on being green when you travel...

Prior to going to Anchorage, I read a post on the Enviromom website titled The not-so-green traveler. Traveling by air uses a great deal of fuel and resources, and our consumption of disposable materials increases. I decided to try and see how I could cut down on my waste while traveling.

We brought 2 stainless steel tall coffee cups. As soon as we went through airport security we headed for Starbucks (who doesn't?) to get coffee for Mike and hot chocolate for me. Unfortunately, the cashier refused to take our cups, and insisted that she had to use a paper cup to write down our order (a sticky note would work?). So they filled our orders in paper cups, handed them to us, and we dumped them into our own cups. At least we saved 2 lids and brown sleeves.

We brought our 20oz and sippy cup water bottles with us -- the stainless steel Klean Kanteens. They were empty as we went through security and we took the sippy up to Starbucks at the same time we were getting the hot drinks. Again, the cashier refused to take the sippy, and poured water into a plastic cup and handed it to us. Then we poured it into the sippy. What a stupid waste of a plastic cup. Next time we will use the drinking fountain or just ask the flight attendent on the plane to fill it, which is what we did on the return flight.

We definitely brought/used less plastic water bottles by having our own (3 bottles of water came complimentary with our hotel room). We also were able to have the local coffeeshop fill our own cups with coffee/hot chocolate. So some savings there.

Another thing I did was bring a few lightweight cloth bags and tuck them into my purse. Came in handy when I needed an extra bag for our hats, gloves, etc. We never ended up going to any stores, but if we had, then I would have used the bags for our purchases, instead of paper or plastic.

Any paper that was generated for our use (hotel room bill, reciepts, etc.) I packed and brought back with me to recycle at home.

If anyone has any other ideas for traveling more green, let me know!

And cute Jake happening: yesterday the two of us walked over to the window to look at the falling snow. Jake turned to me and signed "snow, beautiful". I was amazed and my heart melted.


Elizabeth said...

I'm surprised - since SBUX's usual policy is to give you a few cents off of your outrageously priced coffee if you bring your own mug. (Not that I ever remember to, but it is a good idea.) I think you should write to them and complain!

Lee said...

We are pretty sure that there is a policy at the airport that they cannot accept anything from customers except money -- just because they had to use a cup to fill our sippy with water. Silly security rules.

Donny said...

In addition to the security thing, there might be a public health reason for not accepting customer cups at an airport. Thousands more people pass through an airport everyday than would pass through your neighborhood starbucks. The chance of passing around a cold or the flu is much, much higher. The flu could pass from one customer's cup to the barista's hands to the next several customers as the barista serves them their coffee. Then when all those people are home sick, they go through boxes and boxes of kleenex, making the customer cup thing an environmental net negative.

Lee said...

My sister Amy reminded me that another way to help "greenify" your travel is to purchase carbon offsets. is one such website that will allow you to calculate how much energy it takes you to fly and then allow you to purchase an equal amount in carbon offsets. What the company does with your money is to then fund projects such as re-planting forests or setting up wind power. Pretty cool!