a plunger in every bathroom and a million little plastic containers that require hand-washing covering every countertop.
Two things I cannot stand and am terribly un-PC to slam are: Low-flow toilets and waste-free lunches.
I am all for saving the planet. I am very conscious of conserving our natural resources and minimizing land-fill, but our low-flow toilets are ACTUALLY huge water-wasters and I am still not entirely convinced that waste-free lunches are worth it.
First, let's look at the powerlessness of the water-saving toilet... If you do anything other than just pee (male) or pee and wipe with more than 4 squares of tissue (female) or toss just the bizness from a "big" diaper into a water-saving toilet, that sucker is going to get stopped up. I am so sick of hearing one of my kids scream, "CLOG ALERT!!!!" as they completely freak out in fear that the water (and other stuff) is going to flood out over the edge of the toilet and onto the floor where it will definitely make it's way to their feet and up their legs and consume them whole... like The Blob. They are so afraid of these clog events that a couple of them will no longer flush... they just slink out, hoping no one knows who did "it."
We talk about doing one's bizness and then flushing before it gets to be more than the pathetically wimpy toilet can handle. Sometimes this means flushing upwards of seven times... no lie. (Water-saving, right?) And even then, it will sometimes clog anyway! We are, for the most part, a very "regular" family. Our systems usually work very efficiently. Some of our work could even be considered museum-quality (thanks, Ab!). We are doomed in this house, in these bathrooms, on these toilets. Doomed.
There is a plunger in each of the three bathrooms, but a couple of these toilets are "designer" models and the exit hole is at a funky angle so the plunger doesn't plunge all that well. I seem to end up with a whole lot o' mess around the rim and on the floor and still nothing going down. So given the amount of mess that needs to be cleaned up after (which uses water) and the average number of flushes actually needed per use, I would say that they are not water-savers at all. Combine that with the time-wasting factor and the aggravation factor and I say "NO" to low-flow toilets.
Now let's turn our attention to waste-free lunches... How many frickin' little containers with matching (or at least fitting) lids do you need for 3 kids' waste-free lunches? One million. This is because you can NEVER find the pieces, sizes, colors (grrrr) that you need when you need them unless you have one million. These little containers cannot be washed in the dishwasher because they are too light and will either melt or flip over and require hand-washing anyway. So they must be hand-washed and set out to dry... or hand-dried if you are looking for a really mindless and irritating chore, which I know I don't have enough of those. And how much water are we using washing these one million little containers?
These little containers are always just a little too big or a little too small for my purposes. They take up just a little too much space in the lunch boxes. And they sometimes leak. And the lids get lost always. And let's not forget the spoons... lost. Plastic not allowed. tsk, tsk...
I miss my Ziploc baggies... And I did reuse them. The kids always brought them home and if they weren't gross, they were reused. "Gross" being subjective, of course.
But I miss my Zippies...
And I definitely have flush-envy whenever I use the bathroom at Target or on an airplane.