Bugged and Debugged

We were lucky enough to take two major road trips this summer. As hard as I tried to “keep it near-o” on the first one, there were a few things that bugged me. So I did some debugging for the adventure that followed.


How many times has a waiter plopped plastic kid cups with lids and straws onto your table with out asking if you want them? Yup. This drives me crazy, and it happened several times on our first trip. This time around I was more prepared. My first request after we were seated was always, “Four waters with no straws, and no kid cups please.” Then I’d (carefully) remove my new glass beauties from their carrier and give them (carefully) to my eager children.


I even offset waste in very wasteful situations by accepting the disposable cup, but saying, “No straw please.”



On our first trip (when our laundry bag was full and I didn’t have it in me to scrounge up eight quarters and seek out the washer and dryer), I reluctantly used the plastic laundry bags provided by the hotel for the overflow. This time, I used pillow cases!


All hotels have travel-sized toiletries waiting for you on the bathroom counter. I don’t use them. But then I thought… they probably get thrown away whether they’re used or not. So I asked a housekeeper on our first trip. She said it depends on the housekeeper; some might throw unused toiletries away, some might not. She suggested leaving a note. I did this (on a receipt), and I hope it was effective, but ideally, the toiletries wouldn’t be on the counter in the first place. I tried making this request at two hotels, both of which “made note” of the request, and neither of which actually made the request come true, boo hoo!



Bringing jars of bulk snacks on a road trip eliminates packaging and helps you avoid grocery shopping at a gas station when there’s no other option. But when the jars are empty, they’re just taking up valuable space and banging around, waiting to break. My mom had a brilliant idea; pack snacks in repurposed jars (from apple sauce, yogurt, and salsa) instead of “good jars”, then toss the jars in a recycling bin along the way to lighten the load. Next time…


When we bought fruit and yogurt parfaits at McDonalds (they’re so cheap, and could be a lot worse!), I’d say, “No spoon and no granola, please.” That really threw ’em off! Every little bit counts.


Next project: Near-O Wasting my CLASSROOM!



3 thoughts on “Bugged and Debugged

  1. Sadie August 31, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    I have a bunch of old tea tins that I use for travel snack containers. Lighter, unbreakable, and if you have a friend who really likes tea, free!

    I have from time to time contemplated picking up some aluminum water bottles from Goodwill (I’m in a college town and there are always dozens of them) and sawing off the tops (and then of course, sanding down the edges) to make metal picnic cups. I love the stainless steel tumblers from Life Without Plastic, but I can’t bring myself to spend $7 apiece on them.


    • Near-O Waste August 31, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      I love the tea tin idea. For us, on a long road trip, I would still end up with empty containers to deal with, but for day-to-day snacks, I think that would be a good (free) way to lighten the backpack! I do have some stainless steel containers from Life Without Plastic and they’re great for school lunches. We’ve been using the tin cups from our camping dishes for drinking cups on the go 🙂 Thanks, Sadie!


    • Near-O Waste August 31, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      But now you’ve got me thinking… our next big trip will be by plane and we’re staying with family, so maybe I could pass the tins off to them…!


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