Cream cheese and the heartbreak hotel

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Whenever I travel, I get the feeling that I’ve left the little bubble in which I normally live and entered a bigger, more chaotic world. (Well, no kidding—that’s kind of the definition of travel.) In many ways, this is exciting and mind-opening and fun. In terms of green living, though, it’s mostly just disconcerting.

Our recent trip to Florida was like that. It involved more plastic cups, takeout containers, and bottled O.J. than I’d like to admit—the predictable detritus of life on the road. We saw billboards reminding Floridians not to water their lawns so damn much, and we drove past giant landfills that were only hills in sight.

We also stayed in hotels two nights. The hospitality industry is not known for its greenness, though it’s making some nominal efforts in that direction. One place had posted a sign about how to be a greener guest—using your towel more than once, etc.

Meanwhile, down in the lobby, the continental breakfast consisted of a zillion little packets of creamer, Froot Loops and Cheerios, styrofoam plates, etc. I noticed on the packets of cream cheese the following message was printed: "Made with renewable energy! Find out how at creamcheese.com."

It does appear, upon reading said website, that some of the cream cheese factory’s power comes from renewable sources. Great! And ironic, to be pointed to such information via a single-use packet containing a bit more cream cheese than anyone could ever fit on one bagel.

Anyway, it’s all part of the fun of the trip. Anyone else have a green dilemma while traveling this Thanksgiving?

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