My Dirty Little Secret

peanut butter jarI have a dirty little secret.

OK, it’s not that kind of secret, but it’s still one that brings forth plenty of associated guilt and shame.

I don’t recycle peanut butter jars.

There.  I said it.  In public.  On the internet.  Forever.

All my friends know me as a green mom.  I’m the one giving lessons on waste-free lunches at school, the one you ask for advice on where to find organic cotton underwear in a kids size XS, the one eyeing you when you idle your car in the pick-up line.  Most of the time, I go to great lengths to be green.

Recycling is usually pretty high on my list.  It’s easy, and it’s important.  Truthfully, we’ve been recycling so long that it’s really one of those automated parts of my lifestyle.  I don’t consciously think about it, I just chuck that empty cracker box in the recycling.

But peanut butter is different.  As much as I do in other aspects of my life, I just cannot bring myself to clean that jar out.

I can’t rinse it out.  Number one, water just doesn’t work.  And number two, I feel like I’d do more environmental damage by wasting all that water than I’d be getting back in eco-karma trying to wash that sticky thing out.  And I am not bringing myself to wipe that jar out with a paper towel.  It’s just too messy.

Yes, I could get some sort of miracle spatula and scrape every iota of peanut butter out.  That’s probably the greenest way to go–clean jar, extra PB cracker, no water waste.  But I’m just not there yet.

I try to be green, but I’m not The Greenest.  I do my best.  Some days, I just can’t manage the effort it takes to go that extra step.

But I’m not giving up.  I didn’t start on this journey with the goal of being dazzlingly green.  I just wanted to make one change: castile soap instead of the conventional kind.  So I did what seemed kind of radical at the time.  I switched soaps.  Then, I made another change: eco-friendly laundry detergent.  For a while, I was satisfied with that.  Later, I went to stainless-steel water bottles.  Then, I adopted green cleaning products.

A couple of years later, my journey still continues.  I’m not sure how far I’ll go down the eco-friendly path, but I know that each day, I’ll try to do a little better.  Some days, I’ll backslide and send cookies to school in a baggie when our reusable containers are in the dishwasher.  But one of these days, maybe in the not-so-distant future, I’ll gather the resolve to recycle that peanut butter jar.



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  1. Jennifer Gould says:

    It’s okay. I don’t clean out the peanut butter jar either. But I’m starting to get on a roll with everything else!

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