During my recent road trip through America's southwest I was appalled at how much waste my wife and I generated. I do actually want to blame America for this problem, but I also have and had the power to act differently when faced with a choice of creating waste. Let me explain ...
It began at our hotel (and every single hotel thereafter). They present these little cards saying that they pride themselves on being green but they seem to miss the point completely. The cups available for use when making tea or coffee were always wrapped in plastic. Every single one individually wrapped.
When we went down for breakfast most mornings the buffet's all used plastic plates, knives and forks. Everything would inevitably end up in the trash.
Moving on to cafes and restaurants. We went to a dozen small town diners and cafes throughout the trip and the vast majority, if not all of them, only used take away (to go) cups. We do carry our own Yeti travel size coffee cups but there were times when we'd forget, only to pinch ourselves and pledge to never do that again.
We found that even if cafe's had standard mugs or coffee cups to dine in, the staff would almost always, by default, give us a to-go cup. We had to remember to always say "for here" or "no to-go cup". Same thing with plates and cutlery. Most diners and small cafes provided us our meals on plastic plates.
I know, it is partially my fault because I do have a choice as a consumer, but honestly I didn't think it would be this widespread. My reasoning for them is probably that it costs more to hire a dish washer than to buy plastic plate, cups and cutlery? Either way, it's just such a shame how much waste is created here in America and I hope that the recent restrictions from the Chinese government to stop waste imports will wake up the nation.