Green Inconvenience

I do a lot of the “usual” green things. I recycle. I compost. I shop second-hand. I carry reusable grocery bags and a stainless steel water bottle. I walk my daughter to kindergarten and back every day. I turn down my thermostat and put on a sweater.

But there is an obstacle to my green efforts – much of the time, I don’t want to be inconvenienced by going green. I bring my reusable grocery bags when I go grocery shopping, but if I occasionally forget, I don’t sweat it. I drink tap water, but when I forget my water bottle at home, I sometimes buy water in a plastic bottle. I don’t always remember to bring a reusable mug with me to the coffee shop, and I have been known to throw recyclables into the garbage when out and about to avoid carting them around with me.

I guess I’m not perfect, after all.

Water break
My daughter drinks from a plastic water bottle on a day when I failed to plan ahead

Recently, though, I’ve been re-thinking my attitude. What does it mean to live a green lifestyle only when it’s convenient for me? It doesn’t exactly say a lot for my commitment to sustainability if it can be forgotten on a mad rush out the door in the morning, along with my cell phone, that snack I packed up and my Klean Kanteen. While bringing my reusables with me most of the time is good, bringing them all of the time would be better.

It strikes me that the way to kick my green living up a notch would be to accept inconvenience in the name of the environment. So, if I forget my water bottle then I either find a drinking fountain, wait until I get home, or take the time to sit down someplace and drink from an actual cup. It’s tedious. I don’t like it. But the pain in the butt factor helps me to remember my water bottle next time. And it means that I’m living my values.

Tomatoes and cucumbers
I won’t be buying this produce if I forget my reusable bag

Sometimes, the inconvenience might be a temporary wash for the earth. Like, if I have to drive back home to pick up my reusable bags before I go grocery shopping. But I think that it will pay off in the long run, as I get into the habit of thinking ahead, and I stop accepting plastic bags when I’m shopping.

The reality is that if we want to change our lives, we’re going to have to accept some inconvenience. Not every shift in thinking comes easily. Sometimes we have to experience discomfort and inconvenience in order to really get the message. I don’t really enjoy it. But I’m ready to accept it, and I hope that it will help me to really live a green lifestyle.

Are you willing to accept some inconvenience as you live your green values? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

13 Responses to Green Inconvenience
  1. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green
    November 12, 2010 | 1:04 am

    Composting in the winter is one of those things that can be annoying but I still do it. When it’s super cold going to the backyard with food scraps that won’t do anything for months isn’t top on my list lol.

    Also it would be easier not to have to carry all the reusable with me but again I still do it. Recycling in my town is a pain too since we don’t have curbside but better than trashing the planet. :) Plus all these things become habit and aren’t as bad.

  2. Denise
    November 13, 2010 | 8:36 am

    I have resently come to the same conclussion. There are many times I have forgot my bags at Target. I usually end up leaving the store with my arms full. I have found keeping my bags in the trunk of my car makes a big difference. Now I only forget them when we are in my husband’s car.

  3. Jen
    November 20, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    I have been known to load up my arms with my stuff walking out of the grocery store or to just throw it all back into the cart then all into the trunk!

  4. Sandy Cooper
    November 27, 2010 | 9:43 pm

    I am exactly like you when it comes to being green. I want to live it, but I tend to only do it when it’s very convenient.

    Plus, I didn’t know I could take my own coffee mug to the coffee shop! You can do that?


  5. […] Green Inconvenience ( […]

  6. CoLaurado
    December 1, 2010 | 6:43 pm

    Hmm… seems like driving back home to reuse your grocery bags would waste a lot of fuel. This would not be as good of a steward of our resources as just using grocery bags, or maybe a reused box.

    I am “green” more than most I know. I choose to be a good steward of our resources, as best I can.

    Please watch this for an alternative take on green…

  7. Kendra @
    December 13, 2010 | 8:17 pm

    I could have written this post. My husband has encouraged me to be more “green” and I do a good job…but only when it is convenient. However, I do realize even a little sacrifice helps the environment and I am doing more than I did last year. Hopefully, next year I will be doing more than I did this year. A little goes a long way!

  8. suresh
    December 22, 2010 | 6:43 am

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    so that every one can get everything about Green Life

  9. Pinay Green Mommy
    January 8, 2011 | 6:37 am

    I love reading your blog and ways to go green..

    will surely keep on coming back for more tips to go green.

  10. Michael Cash
    January 14, 2011 | 11:18 am

    We truly are going back to our roots. A century or two ago, people only lived “green” and “organically”. For a lot of us, breaking the industrial/preservative-ridden routine can be a challenge, especially when society makes that option hard for us. I definitely agree that a green “some-of-the-time” approach is the new middle-class trend, and we need to completely immerse ourselves in reducing the carbon footprint. Great Post!

  11. Shanna
    April 15, 2011 | 1:22 am

    I have just started working to change the way we live our lives. It is a major change but one we are working on. I have switched all of our products over to a earthfriendly company Shaklee and I love everything, I often forget my reusable bags but I am making big strides to really integrate every aspect that I can into our lives. We recycle but have not been composting I am not sure how that will be possible where I live in AZ with all the crazy desert critters but I am thinking about it. Love your blog!

  12. Holly
    May 4, 2011 | 9:26 am

    I’m trying to be green too–we recycle like crazy and always have more in my recycle bin than in the trash. I’m not good about going to secondhand stores, garage sales, consignment store, etc and I need to work on that. I also want to compost but live in a quite crowded,sometimes snooty neighborhood and am not sure what kind of outrage (if any) a compost bin sitting in my backyeard would create. Any suggestions for a discreet compost bin?

  13. Kelly
    May 4, 2011 | 4:18 pm

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