Do you ever wonder about napkins? I’m Tyler the Trash Guy, so I think about them constantly. Napkins are almost universally perceived as cost-free items that can be liberally obtained in any quantity, without question. Why do you need napkins? Do you spill food at every sitting? (Do people think I’m dirty for denying them any chance I get?)
In my waste-free utopia, napkins wouldn’t be provided unless asked for, with businesses in full control of how many are dispensed. Consider this: How many times have you either taken or received napkins with a meal, only to throw most or all of them, unused, in the trash when you’re finished eating? Over the last few weeks, I’ve been observing people when they get up to leave a restaurant. I notice that unused napkins almost always get trashed.
I don’t go to coffee shops that often, but I’m obsessed with the waste they generate. (Okay, I’m obsessed with the waste everyone generates). ¶ Coffee shops are big business, and, as such, one with a big footprint. But it’s also an industry with a reasonable shot at attaining nearly zero waste, at least on the retail end—very little that goes into making coffee can’t be easily reduced/reused/recycled.