Day 5 – TGFB (Thank Goodness for Boloco)

I didn’t have time Thursday night to make a meal for lunch so I planned to take my chances by eating out.  My default dining out meal is a burrito from Boloco.  I always knew that their cups were biodegradable but today I learned that everything that comes off their counter is either compostable or recyclable.  I had a good chat with the cashier who was very knowledgeable about Boloco’s sustainability practices.  The tin foil that the burrito comes in as well as the containers they use for their ‘naked’ burritos are both #2 recycling (i.e. ‘good’ plastic).  They also have a friendly sign near the ‘garbage’ (read: recycle bin and compost) that explains what to do: True Grounds in Somerville also has a similarly educating setup: These examples are great because it walks you through what is recyclable, what is compostable, and what needs to be thrown away.  In this case I am not sure why the H20 cups and coffee lids (both are #2 recycling) need to be thrown in the trash.  Either way, left up to my own devices I probably would have recycled the coffee cup and thrown everything else in the trash, however the signage really helps make the decision for you.  I usually have a coffee mug with me because at most places they’ll only charge you for a small coffee even though you have a pretty sizable mug.  Just another incentive to reduce waste, more places should adopt this practice (cough cough my employer cough cough).

Unfortunately other places in Boston aren’t as eco-savvy as Boloco or True Grounds.  This is what my situation looked like at New York Pizza near Boylston Street.  I asked them to get my slice of pizza without a plate or napkins, I got a funny look and then I ran away eating my luke warm slice looking like a crazy person (although crazy is pretty normal in that section of town anyway so I probably fit right in): I also (half) failed a couple of times today at work.  As many of us do, I often find myself going into autopilot with a lot of things.  This month’s challenge was no exception, only now I’ve been catching myself half-way through the act. Exibit A: I washed my hands at the restroom and got 3 pumps into the paper towels before I realized what I was doing; contributing to the landfill.  I’m sure you could probably recycle these, but I’m not going to take my chances that the recyclable sorter on the other end of the single stream recycling process is doing the right thing with a wad of damp and used paper towels.  In college my friend Katie did a project for a sociology class where she actually watched people in the girls restroom and counted how many pumps the used after washing their hands (average = 6 pumps/person).  Then she put up a sign on the dispenser that said something like “Do you really need all that paper, Americans waste 500,000 lbs of paper every year”.  The average then decreased to 3.6 pumps/person.  Nice work Katie, creepily sitting in the girls bathroom saving the world one paper-towel dispenser at a time 🙂 Next week I’ll have to figure out what my organization does for recycling printer ink cartridges.  I know there are receptacles somewhere to deal with them I’m just not sure where.  I’ll have to ask around: My last fail of the day came when I was halfway through a chicken wing after work.  I realized that I probably can’t recycle a bone, nor can I compost it.  Therefore, it looks like I’ll have to add it to my Ziplock bag of accidental trash (unless any of my readers have other suggestions).  All in all, I have reached Day 5 only producing a few fruit stickers and 1 chicken bone as trash.  However, I’m worried about this weekend considering it will be my first weekend adventure without the crutch of a landfill.  I’ll be spending the weekend in Killington, VT for the Spartan Beast Obstacle Course Race.  This means that I’ll be eating out for most of my meals.  I’m sure something will try and get in the way of my challenge, we’ll see how it goes, wish me luck.

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4 Responses to Day 5 – TGFB (Thank Goodness for Boloco)

  1. Katie Rizz says:

    NICE I GOT A SHOUTOUT! here’s my challenge this month: http://teamdirtykid.blogspot.com/

  2. I have an answer to your True Grounds recycling question. True Grounds probably has a bottles and cans only recycling dumpster, instead of a zero sort dumpster. Waste companies will offer different types of recycling with the “work” to be done varying between the waste company and the end user – from fully sorted into bottles and cans, paper, etc. all the way to trash and recycling in the same container which is sorted by the waste company. The sorted option is cheaper, which is probably why True Grounds uses it. But zero sort recycling is becoming more popular (even at a higher cost) because people are more likely to use it. Trash and recycling in the same container is even more effective (and expensive), because people have no choice but to use it. This is less common, but places like Killington and the ATL airport have adopted this strategy.

    • So from what you’re saying it seems that recycling options vary by waste management company and/or by waste management plans (i.e. how much you want to pay). If you want to pay more for waste management you can have a single stream (trash + recycling in the same container) and they will sort it downstream. It makes sense that more downstream processing leads to higher expenses but also a higher level of recycling overall. I wonder if there are any government incentives in place to fund downstream sorting of recycling from trash because I’m sure it’s not terribly economical to spend your time sorting through trash for recycling.

  3. Right, so generally that single stream type of program is only used by organizations who are very serious about their green efforts (ski areas are one example – fairly crunchy clientele) and are willing to pay more for it. I’m not sure about government incentives, let me know if you find anything out regarding that.

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