Vacation with a Greenish TingeJune 10, 2009
Tomorrow we leave for a 12 day vacation. I’ve been somewhat cognizant of my green efforts as I prepare, but there are compromises that must be made.
We are staying at a cottage in a NY state park on Lake Ontario. Lodging will be less than $60/day – that’s not especially green, except to my wallet. Because it is a cottage with a kitchen we won’t have to eat out three meals a day, another cost saver. We’ll buy groceries nearby, and, of course, when given the option, we’ll opt for organic and local.
Travel – we’re driving. We could travel greener, we could take the bus – but that’s not going to happen. We are renting a vehicle, something a little roomier and with fewer miles than my Ford Focus. I wish it were a hybrid, but alas it is a “Ford Escape or similar” – still, an “intermediate” SUV gets about the same gas mileage as my 9 year old Focus wagon, about 28 mpg highway. Not a Prius, but not a Hummer.
The cottage is bare bones, so we need to bring bedding, towels, cooking gear, dishes, etc. I’ve packed our reusable plastic plates and bowls. We each have a metal water bottle and I will bring 2 mugs for my husband’s and my morning beverages. We’ll also use them in the hotel on our way there – sure beats the Styrofoam cups they provide in the room – ugh. Odds are we’ll buy two mugs somewhere as souvenirs and then kids can have hot chocolate some mornings.
We’ll have several family members come spend a day with us at the park and while I have enough plates for everyone, there is no way I’m bringing a dozen glasses, as reusable as they are. I’ve broken down and packed disposable plastic cups. They are all leftover cups from various parties, including a significant number made from corn. The paper napkins are all party leftovers too – they look very festive at least. I’ve also opted for plastic utensils, but the aim (as always) is to reuse them until they break, I may come home with as many as I take.
Among the miscellaneous things I’m bringing are a couple of skoy cloths, they are reusable sponge sheets I received as a gift from EcoScene at the Chicago Green Festival. I did toss in a roll of paper towels too, but they are made of recycled paper as is the roll of toilet paper.
We have our fair share of electronic gadgets coming along and many have batteries. So, along with our various chargers I’ve also stashed extra rechargeable batteries and a battery recharger.
It’s not the greenest vacation we could take. We could be taking the bus to an eco-vacation venue where we volunteer our labors and help restore the environment. That seems more likely to happen after I retire. For now, I’m pretty happy with my eco-efforts on this family vacation.
UPDATE: As I read over this post I realized there was no need to bring disposable plastic cups – we have an overabundance of reusable plastic cups, mostly from the kids’ meals at various restaurants – so the party cups left the bag and the reusable cups went in. Ever greenward.