I should be heading for bed about now, but there's a blog post trying to get out :)
This past weekend Allen and I visited a small marine center just outside Santa Cruz. While in there I noticed the small plastics exhibit in the corner - just your basic "please think before using so much plastic" plea that we've all heard time and again. This time though it got me thinking, and the first thing that came to mind are those little plastic tubs grocery stores use to sell cut up melons and such. They're pretty useless when you remember that melons come prepackaged in handy hard casings that can easily store your fruit until you're ready to eat it. Cut melon, store remainder in reusable, resealable containers and toss the rinds in the trash (or compost if you're really lucky). It's really lovely. But why do I buy those unnecessary plastic containers? Because I'm tired, lazy, stressed, and just want to walk over to the fridge and pull out something ready to munch. Hence the need for a more holistic approach to dealing with extra waste products. It'd be easy for me to have a guilt trip over all this, but A. I'm not a member of Greenpeace, and B. guilt is a really lousy motivator. I'm realizing more and more that the problems are more in my head than my hands - more in what I think than what I do. When I'm tired, stressed, lazy, and otherwise checked out of my life I'm way more likely to waste time doing things I don't enjoy (ie crash) or waste resources by resorting to more expensive, more packaged goods. Crashing just exacerbates the cycle. On the other hand, when I'm feeling happy, productive, and peaceful little things like making a trifling mess in the kitchen don't bother me. It's easier to actually cook and do prep work and clean up the mess afterwards. I have to create space in my schedule and space in my brain so that I'm not constantly pushed towards the easy at the expense of the good (pre-cut fruit is rarely as good as the fresh stuff you buy yourself).
So that's my theory on excess waste - people need to slow down, make time, and de-stress to a point where they can feel good about doing a little cooking. Get your head in place, and the rest will follow. Guilt won't help.