Waste Not: Want Not
New Years resolutions are tough. They are tough to narrow down, tough to commit to, and, as we all know, tough to keep. But they are also useful. Mind tricks of any sort (or behavioral economics if you want to get fancy about it) can actually work and the scientific community would agree that making and attempting to keep New Years resolutions can sometimes lead to positive behavioral change. Over the last few years, in the hopes of actually keeping my resolutions, I’ve tried to stay away from small, superficial ones that force me into an all or nothing thought pattern. For example: Lose 10 pounds. If that is my resolution and I have lost only 9 pounds, then I have failed. But if my resolution was: Make healthier food choices, then I have some breathing room. I can use the resolution more as a guide and a mantra, which allows me a flexible standard of achievement. I think this gives us the ability to make incremental improvements without feeling like we’ve failed to achieve our own goals.
With that in mind this year, my New Years resolution is to waste less. It’s simple but more challenging than it appears on the surface. At the end of each week I look at the amount of garbage and recycling that has piled up simply from feeding myself and I am astonished. Luckily, there are some great businesses out there that want to help me achieve my goal of wasting less: like local non-profit Boulder Food Rescue. Boulder Food Rescue is an organization that helps deliver food from grocery stores directly to homeless shelters, rescue missions, and food banks. The kind folks who volunteer for Boulder Food Rescue deliver food (via bicycle no less) that would otherwise be thrown out or discarded, but is still fresh and edible, to those who are in need. Food waste is a major problem in our country and though we can each do a little bit more to help solve the program, organizations like Boulder Food Rescue help to forge real progress toward massively decreasing waste. That is a resolution I can get behind.