Small Changes and Bigger Conversations (Ashley D. - 31 March '20)

In February, I attended the West Central MN Climate Network meeting to learn about the waste problem our community is facing. I was so glad to see many experts and community leaders in attendance to discuss this issue. While a lot of valuable information was shared, my big takeaway was that we (as a country) are producing far more waste than in years past and we will be facing issues with what to do with it. Over the years, my family has become more aware of this problem and has gradually shifted to habits that reduce the amount of waste we produce, and I wanted to share a few of those with you. Specifically, I’ll focus on food and drinks, because I am a dietitian after all!

When we go out, we each fill up our stainless steel water bottles, reducing the need to grab (and pay for) beverages. We prefer to dine in so we don’t use disposable to-go items. There is always a set of mismatched silverware in my car to avoid plastic utensils. Most of our orders end with a polite request: “no straws please!”

For a busy family of four, even small changes can be hard, and there are still many ways we can improve. But the bigger impact I hope to make is to normalize this way of living. When someone sees us pull out the silverware from the car- they might ask “why?” Small changes can lead to bigger conversations about the importance of making less waste.

Ashley Denton