Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part Three

Day three of my Zero Waste trip was spent at the Magic Kingdom, after spending part of the day at the Orlando World Marriott for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national conference.  All conference attendees were given a one day park hopper, very generous of Disney! 

No plate, just paper!
Zero waste was much easier at the Magic Kingdom than I had expected.  Lunch was at Sleepy Hollow, the sweet and spicy chicken waffle sandwich, which they were happy to give me without the paper container, just wrapped in the thin, very compostable, paper that usually lines the serving container.  It was raining and I had to stand, since all the seats in the area were taken, so it was a bit harder to eat this way.  Still every bit as delicious as I hoped!

Lines weren't too bad, so again, I skipped using Fast Passes this day.  Also, I skipped having a Dole Whip Float, as the containers cannot be recycled or composted. That made me quite sad, especially since that was the first time I’d ever seen no line at Aloha Isle.  Typically, I have popcorn, a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, and sometimes a turkey leg, but since some part of the waste would end up in a landfill, I skipped all of these.  (Side note: I did get back to MK later on in the week and couldn't bear skipping my precious Dole Whip Float) 

I can't believe I didn't take advantage of a zero wait here!
I did not skip all the snacks.  I enjoyed a churro (without sauce, plastic containers are not zero waste friendly), pretzel, and a meal from Casey’s Corner, among a few other things.  At Casey’s they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked that they just put everything on the tray and skip the hot dog and fry containers.  The tray is made recycled paper and is compost friendly, the other containers are not.  No picture of my messy tray; I forgot to take one as I was helping a gentleman who fell off the bleachers get help from a cast member.  (He was fine, I’m sure his knees were pretty bruised the next day, though)  Believe it or not, that was my first visit to Casey’s, and it’s going to take a while for this Michigander to get used to all that stuff on a hot dog.

My husband is really into Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, so I had to stop by The Emporium to get him a couple of booster packs. He’s still looking for a binder, which has proven to be elusive, except for the double priced ones on eBay.  I picked up a couple of scarves for myself and some things for the children, too.  As previously stated, all receipts and tags would be recycled and bags would be refused.  The wrapper for the SOTMK cards would be reused.

No reclaimed water here...
The companion bathrooms in New Fantasyland, near Gaston’s Tavern, have signs that say the water there is reclaimed.  I was hoping the same would be true for the new Rapunzel restrooms, but did not see any signage stating so.  If I wanted to go one step further in my quest, I would have only used the bathrooms with reclaimed water, but I wasn't running my pregnant self all the way there from Frontierland, or anywhere else.  Hopefully, more reclaimed water toilets will be available in all the parks in the near future.

So far, two out of three parks isn't bad. Come back next week to see how I did at Hollywood Studios!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part Two

Quick recap…a self imposed challenge on this last trip was zero waste, meaning, nothing I touched while on vacation would end up in a landfill.  The first day was an epic failure.  There was so much food that I wanted to try at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and much of it was not served in compost friendly containers.  That day I gave up on the challenge, hoping that Disney truly composts 80% of their waste as reported.

In case you’re wondering, zero waste even included to personal care items.  Since we typically replace everyday items with homemade options, this wasn't difficult at all.  Baking soda in place of toothpaste, homemade soap, and coconut oil or shea butter in bulk for moisturizer, were all in reusable containers.  Nothing works better than Secret, so no natural alternatives for deodorant yet, and I still rely on Bausch & Lomb for contact lens solution.  The larger the bottle, the easier it is to reuse. Remember, recycle, refuse or reuse = zero waste!

Gen. Colin Powell at the BGCA National Conference
Day two was spent partly at the conference I was in town attending at the Orlando World Center Marriott.  They had lots of neat items to minimize waste including a QR code that when scanned downloaded the conference app to your phone.  Any room or schedule changes were automatically updated.  We also had bar codes on the back of our conference credentials.  When visiting vendor tables, the bar codes could be scanned and your information captured, rather than leaving business cards or filling out slips of paper.  Genius!

This day, I found myself saving items that would be typically thrown away.   Because I had no knowledge of the hotel’s recycling and composting procedures, I found myself clearing pockets of empty sugar packets, muffin wrappers, orange peels and apple cores when I got on Disney property, because I knew it would be composted.  Gross, huh?  I would do anything to not repeat the previous day’s defeat.

Meerkat on sentry duty! Check out this and other great
pics on my Facebook page.
After the conference activities, I headed over to Animal Kingdom.  The last few trips, we’d opted to spend extra time at the Magic Kingdom and skipped Animal Kingdom, so it was great to be back under the shade of The Tree of Life.  Due to the conservation efforts and policies in place to help protect the animals, zero waste was much easier here.   Drinks are served without lids and the straws are paper.  I was pretty disappointed that the Shrimp Po’ Boy was no longer on the menu at Restaurantosaurus, so I snacked most of the day instead of having an actual meal.  There would be a huge welcome dinner that evening back at the hotel, so I wasn’t worried about being as hungry as I was the previous day.

The best snack of the day was the Cotton Top Tamarind Cupcake from Kusafiri Coffee and Bake shop.  My favorite is the White Chocolate Elephant cupcake.  Since there was only a five minute wait for Kilimanjaro Safaris, I postponed my cupcake.  Afterwards, there were no more available.  Being forced to try something new isn't so bad, especially when it’s a cupcake.  I refused the plate it was served on, since it isn't compost friendly, which was probably a bad idea because I immediately dropped my cute little chocolate monkey.  No worries, though.  He's completely compost friendly.  Luckily someone was nice enough to let me photograph their treat.

No souvenirs purchased this day.  The items I wanted were unavailable.  All drink and snack purchases were in compost friendly containers.  Wait times were short, so Fast Passes were not needed, either.   

Danced off all my calories with Burudika
Reflections for the day? It could be a bit of a stretch to say day two was zero waste since all of my large meals were eaten at the off-property conference hotel.  Those could have easily been swapped for meals at Tusker House or Yak and Yeti, and the same would have been accomplished. There’s no waste involved in taking pictures, enjoying attractions, dancing with the band in the streets of Harambee and window shopping.  Though it rained most of the day, I still had a fabulous time!

Day three was the Magic Kingdom.  Zero waste nirvana achieved! Find out how next week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Zero Waste Trip: Part One

If you've been following me on Twitter, @CrunchyDisneyMa, you know how much I've talked about a Zero Waste trip to Disney World.  Zero Waste means that nothing I touch would end up in a landfill.  I would refuse it, reuse it, or recycle it.  Did I achieve that? Sort of.  Zero Waste is very hard to pull off while on vacation, even harder when you aren't in one specific location.  This is the first part of a series that discussed the results of my Zero Waste solo trip.

I traveled to Orlando for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference.  About half of my day was spent at the conference, while the other half was spent closing down the parks; a tiring feat in itself, especially with a baby on the way.  My flight came in the morning before the conference, so I had an entire day to explore the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot.  Zero Waste during my first day was an epic failure.  The local airport did not support electronic boarding passes and while I brought my own snacks in reusable containers, they did nothing curb my cravings for orange juice and cookies, both of which weren't served in compost friendly containers.  All boarding passes, car rental information, hotel and restaurant receipts, and other papers were saved and recycled when I returned home.  What I didn't account for was waste from others.  My slightly OCD nature wouldn't allow me to sit in a seat on the plane where a previous passenger left trash; I had to throw it away, or it would haunt me the entire flight.

My favorite dish of the festival was
served in an eco-friendly container!
For me, the largest amount of waste usually comes from food.  My plan was to eat at Table Service restaurants while visiting Epcot, so there was no plastic or coated paper products to throw away, just dishes to wash.  With the addition of food kiosks at the 20th anniversary of the Flower & Garden Festival, that wasn't happening.  There were just too many food items that I needed to try.  While my favorite, the Shrimp and Stone Grits with Andouille Sausage from the Florida Fresh kiosks was served in a cardboard container (I ate that twice), many of the others were not.  I even asked at most of the kiosks whether or not I could get items served on my own containers. 
Least favorite was the lobster & asparagus and it wasn't my
least favorite because it was served on styrofoam.
Several items were premade and pre-plated, like the frushi, and others indicated that it was against policy to serve items on in my personal containers due to risks of contamination.  (My dishes were clean, but they didn't know that!)  All of the drinks I purchased were served in plastic with plastic straws.  I've read that Disney composts 80% of all waste, so I had to trust that as much waste that could be composted was.  

Water bottles with filters and reusable ice cubes were still in the suitcase, so I relied on water fountains when available.  I did stop by Club Cool for a drink.  Club Cool is a must-do for me.  I love people watching here and stand right next to the Beverly.  I wonder how the thousands of tiny wax covered paper cups are disposed of?  Unless they’re coated in beeswax, they aren't compostable. 

Rose blush lemonade

Just a few notes on some random items…I did make a couple of souvenir purchases.  Both were put in my backpack, rather than taking the bags usually given with merchandise.  I keep receipts to total purchases while on vacation, ensuring that I stay on budget.  Those were recycled after I returned home.  After washing my hands, they were air dried instead of dried with paper.  I didn't use Fast Passes at all this day, and opted to use a smartphone app to check wait times instead. 

Over at the Odyssey building, my paper annual passes were exchanged for plastic passes.  I’m excited about the next switch to the MagicBands.  Those will cut down on the number of paper and plastic passes being sent to landfills.  I even witnessed a cast member with a few magic bands doing some testing at Journey into Imagination.  We can’t wait to get our very own! 

The next day was spent at Animal Kingdom.  With so much attention given to conservation and protection of the animals that live there, zero waste was easily accomplished!  Check back next week for details on how I was able to pull that off. 

Do you have questions about something I may have missed?