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?  

1 comment:

  1. Love your Zero Waste post Lottie, very informative. It makes you really think about the things that usually escape us. I look forward to your next installment :-)