If you’ve been paying attention you’ll realize that I didn’t write a post for Weekend Adventure #2. It was actually pretty easy to live without trash so I’ll briefly summarize. I went to Martha’s Vinyard, bandited a 5k, and hung out at a friend’s house sampling various microbrewed beers and delicious smoked meats. Most everyone had a pretty good buzz going so I’m sure it didn’t seem odd that I ate all my food with my fingers instead of using the provided plastic plates and utensils. No big deal. Also, we recycled all our beer bottles and I packed out what little composting material I ended up with. Largely uneventful on the no-landfill front. Now for Weekend Adventure #3…
I traveled up to Maine with some friends to hike Gulf Hagas (Saturday) and Mount Katahdin (Sunday). We first stopped at a gas station just outside of Boston to fill up the cah and get some road snacks. However, their front sign was a little misleading:
The only true part about their marketing slogan was that they were fast (as all convenient stores should by definition I suppose). There was absolutely nothing in the store that was fresh (not surprised but why the false advertising?). Literally everything was individually wrapped in plastic so I had to forego the snacks to avoid the trash. Again, not surprised but why advertise “fresh”? Fresh compared to what?
We made a stop at LL Bean along the way to return a pair of my girlfriend’s boots that were falling apart. Fun Fact: LL Bean will allow you to return any piece of their gear for any reason forever. I am on my 3rd pair of the same boots and I only paid for the first ones (so far I’m down to $40 for each pair of boots). They were the first company in the U.S. to have a warranty policy #ReasonsIloveMaine.
Due to their extremely favorable return policy, I did some investigating into their recycling policy. They categorize returned products with a 1, 2, or a 3 based off the condition they are in when returned. Here is the breakdown; 1 = goes right back on the shelf, 2 = goes to the outlet store or the employee store, and 3 = trash?!
The boots that were returned had soles that were falling apart (left them by the fire, i.e. user failure not product failure but the warranty holds just the same) and they were just thrown away. I think LL Bean should work with TerraCycle on recycling or upcycling some of their products, just a thought. They could eliminate waste and have money donated to charity, only adding to their already stellar customer satisfaction, a win-win situation in my opinion.
The next day we drove to Katahdin Ironworks to hike Gulf Hagas, aka the Grand Canyon of the East. It was an 8 mile loop that followed a beautiful gorge for 4-5 miles, plenty of great lookouts and places to go swimming.
I made the mistake of bringing the heaviest Tupperware I own (pyrex), not the best idea when backpacking. The rest of my pack was super light anyway so it wasn’t a huge deal.. I also had previously bought a large bag of trailmix from Shaw’s which came in a recyclable ziplock bag. The bag said “Please Recycle” with a recycle sign on the back however it did not include the number (1-7). I am not sure how the recycling center will know how to sort it once I “recycle” it. I’ll recycle it anyway but I’m skeptical that it won’t end up as trash in the end.
Saturday night we managed to get free tickets to see Bob Dylan (long story). I was super hungry once we got inside the show but I couldn’t get food because every vendor used Styrofoam or something similarly wasteful. Also, water was $5 so I opted out of that option simply on financial principle not necessarily environmental principle but both reasons were valid.
On Sunday we got up at 4am to hike Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Again I rocked the pyrex dish with 2 PB&J’s, Shaw’s Trailmix, 3L of water in my camelback, and a thermos of Tim Horton’s coffee for the ride up.
On our way back in Millinocket I saw this sign at another convenient store where I couldn’t buy anything except Pig’s Ear Jerky (literally the ear of a pig, thanks Millinocket but no thanks).
The sign shows a Dasani waterbottle that is made of 30% plant material and still recyclable. Decent concept but in my opinion this is like putting lipstick on a pig, at face value it might make it look good but deep down it’s still a pig. America uses 2 million plastic bottles every 5 minutes, whether or not they are made of plants is still incredibly wasteful, ugh.
On the way through Bangor we stopped by Dysarts, a fantastic truck stop just off I-95.
I ordered a plate of poutine (french canadian gravy/cheese fries) and a hamburger. My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach and despite running a massive calorie deficit I had plenty to take home for lunch the next day. Let’s just say that left-over poutine is pretty nasty, or as my brother says, “Leftover poutine is wasted poutine”, wise little brother. I reheated it the next day and ate it anyway, not so good the 2nd time around.
I took home food in my own Pyrex container as well as a #6 polystyrene (Styrofoam) to-go box, bummer. I guess I should have ordered only enough food that I could consume in one sitting, but that would have been hugely unAmerican of me right?
I thought I was going to have to bring home all my fruit (apple cores and banana peels) but I remembered that my parents started composting a few years ago, good work guys:
Lastly, I have a confession to make. At breakfast on Saturday before Gulf Hagas I accidentally threw out four egg shells. I didn’t remember until we were on the trail and by then they were long gone on their way to the landfill. Egg shell fail.