Cataluna: What if plate lunch was just on a plate? (BYO fork)
Remember when the big garbage bins on wheels were first delivered by the city? They seemed like such an unnecessary burden — heavy, unwieldy, wheels but no brakes.
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Remember when the big garbage bins on wheels were first delivered by the city? They seemed like such an unnecessary burden — heavy, unwieldy, wheels but no brakes. How were the frail seniors, the ones who seem most concerned about rubbish and about rubbish rules and rubbish schedules, going to handle those big things?
I saw a spindly grandma expertly maneuvering her trash bin into place just the other day. She got used to it. She figured it out. Most people did. Funny how that happens.
Remember when shopping bags were first banned and how hard it was to remember to bring a bag into Macy’s or Walmart and how the 15-cent bag fee felt more like a fine? Most people got used to that, too. Humbug at first. Plenty people were walking around the shopping mall with their purchases draped over their shoulders because no way were they buying a shopping bag. But after a while routine set in.
There are other examples of changes that seemed like too much of a hassle in the name of benefits that didn’t seem significant. We got used to carrying around a hydroflask rather than individual plastic bottles of water.
So maybe Oahu can get used to life without foam plate lunch containers, plastic straws and plastic forks, too.
I know, I know. Hard time at first. Stuff that used to fall into the category of “automatic” suddenly become things you have to think about and plan for whenever there are changes like this to be made. Like you really want to be all helpful and eco-friendly, but you can’t imagine having to tote your own reusable kaukau tin into your favorite Korean barbecue place and tell the lady behind the counter, “Just fill ’er up.” (That wouldn’t pass health rules anyway.) But then nobody wants to see Styrofoam floating in the streams or bits of plastic forks all over the beaches where there used to be only pearly shells.
It comes down to convenience and routine. In days when people had more time to grow vegetables at home and cook meals from scratch, there was no need for plastic forks and Styrofoam containers. Lunch at work meant a metal lunchbox holding a sandwich or musubi wrapped in paper and coffee from a metal thermos. Eating out meant real forks and real plates. School lunch was on those hard plastic trays with the still-hot-from-the-sterilizer metal forks.
But everything sped up, and throwing stuff away is so much easier than remembering to bring it, remembering to wash it, remembering to ask for it, being willing to pay a little extra for something reusable or compostable.
The latest effort to ban foam containers and other noncompostable items for serving food, Bill 40, went through its first hurdle at the Honolulu City Council this week. Yay for them, but we have to do our part, too. We have to wrap our minds around inconvenient changes. We’ve done it before.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.