This past weekend I joined a couple of my greatest friends and their families to Big White ski resort in Kelowna BC. If you know me at all you know that snowboarding is possibly my favourite thing to do ever and my good buddies and I do at least one of these multiple day road trips a year. It’s always an amazing time and I cherish each moment we get to spend together up in the mountains.
This year my perspective shifted to a new angle now that we have implemented this zero waste ideal into our lives. I was actually excited to take on the challenge. I had packed all my food: raw fruits and veg or bulk stuff in glass jars. When I was finally in the truck and ready to be on my way I felt pretty damn great about all the good food I had managed to bring with me and that there was almost no packaging. The only groceries I brought with me or purchased up there that were not zero-waste were a couple ProBars, a bag of tortilla chips and 2 packages of tofu. I did pretty well with my groceries and my food supply was not really an issue at all for the 4-day trip. There were plenty of jars and cans from food and drinks while we were there and we recycled all that. Obviously, my other weekend house mates are not on the same mission as my family and living with others for four days really reminded me how much packaging everything comes in. Chips, crackers, cookies, dips, sauces, you name it. Bags-in-boxes-in-bags straight from the store. I had a little shelf in the cupboards for all my jarred up goodies and later in the first night when I was snooping around the condo I stumbled upon everyone else's groceries and was taken by surprise.
Six adults and three kids need a lot of food. Thats just the way it is, but it still shocked me a bit when I saw all those boxes and bags of stuff on the shelves. Our little family has always been pretty conscious of what we buy even before this new mission and I guess it had just been a long time since I had seen so many packaged groceries in a cupboard all at once. Even though a bunch of the paper packages could be recycled it still left me contemplating how package crazy we are as a society. Another big issue that slipped my mind was compost. I’m so used to having our compost box for all our food scraps at home that I didn’t think twice about what the situation would be during the get-away. Obviously there was no compost situation whatsoever at our condo or seemingly anywhere else on the mountain. All our food scraps went into the trash and I’m still a bit upset with myself for not somehow remedying that situation. I just couldn’t find a container or series of containers that would hold it all. Im definitely coming prepared next year.
Out on the hill, there was one major wasteful situation that I didn’t anticipate: the water stations. In the village centre and at various food and rest shacks on the hill you can find water fountains or full water pitchers set up to drink from. They also provide an ample supply of paper cups to drink from. Beside each of these thirst quenching displays is, of course, the trash bin for all those used cups. Over the three days I drank a lot of water at these stations. At the very first station I was pretty saddened at the massive garbage full of paper cups with no indication of it all being recycled so I decided I would just keep my paper cup in my jacket pocket and try to reuse it as many times as possible. It lasted for almost two days worth of water pit stops until it eventually got a hole and I had to grab a new one. The second cup lasted the rest of my time on the mountain. So over 3 days, I only used 2 cups and I brought them home with me to show off to Lyndsey and recycle them. I definitely plan on buying a camel back for my water supply on the hill for future as well as bringing compost containers. I feel like I learned a lot on my first attempt to be as close to zero waste on a road trip. Next time it will be even less.