Hi there! So below I have written about mistakes that I have made whilst embarking in trying to be more zero waste. Its about zero waste but also about self compassion.
Mistake numero uno – buying new things to feed you’re excitement. This is only normal so when you catch yourself doing this be kind to yourself. We live in a capitalist society where we are bombarded constantly with people trying to sell us something new. A new cream that will make you look like the 20 something year old model or maybe a car that is finally going to make you feel like the man you always thought you could be but haven’t quite achieved and this car, this car could be the missing piece. In the same way companies catch onto the latests trends such as zero waste, being eco friendly and environmentally conscious. They then use this to appeal to our good intentions of being better humans and use lots of money to get our attention and make us feel that this new product will better us in our journey. And don’t get me wrong there are small ethical companies that try their very best to produce products that can make it more accessible to be zero waste. I guess what I’m going on about is reducing our impulse buying, being more conscious. And to not fall into the trap of when starting something new to buy things to feel like we are instantly changing. Instead observe, observe what goes in your rubbish bin, observe what you buy. Write things down that you feel the compulsion to buy and give yourself a minimum of two weeks, I have found that more often than not I go nahhh I don’t actually need it, it was more of a capricho (Spanish word that means whim).
Things that I’ve wanted to buy because I see other zero wasters use them I’m like they are so pretty!!
- metal lunch boxes – I already have tubberware that is perfectly good and if I look after it should last years and years, after all plastic lasts hundreds of years
- mason jars – I bought one second hand and didn’t buy any more as I realised that I would have more than enough if I just kept my jars from jam etc instead of recycling them
- label maker ( you know those cool black labels with white pressed writing) – this is just a complete capricho so even though I still want it I know that as soon as I get it I’ll realise it doesn’t make me as happy as I thought it would do
- bamboo utensils for on the go – I couldn’t find the one that I wanted for a long time as the ones I saw on Etsy where from the US so in the mean time I just took to taking one of my kitchen spoons and I realised that this did the job without buying
- stashed bags – don’t really feel that they are essential for me personally but they might help out other people a lot
- wax cloths – great idea again but don’t really feel the need atm
And finally I haven’t bought any reusable bags because I am a cheapskate and I have an old bed sheet that I want to up-cycle and make into my own little bags. I currently just take my mushroom loose to the checkout.
Mistake numero dos – comparing ourselves! its so easy to get disillusioned or not even attempt zero waste because you look at what zero waste is being portrayed by others and it doesn’t seem feasible. For me zero waste is not about whether you can fit your rubbish in a mason jar (still admirable but it shouldn’t be the end of goal) its more about a shift in our consciousness and how we decide what we buy, when we are given an option. An this is the key, options. Some of us have the privilege of having the option to go to a bulk shop but not a lot of people do. So its about being aware, years ago I didn’t really know that sea pollution caused by plastic was really a problem and when I did it took a while to realise that there was things that I had the capacity to do that could make a difference. If you’re young and living with parents, take pride in the zero waste steps that you are able to make and don’t stress over the ones that you can’t. If you can get your parents to watch the documentary Plastic Ocean on netflix. Contact business about whether they have considered introducing a no straw policy as standard for drinks (you are still able to ask for one). Make a list of the things that you think are within your capacity and make your way through them and say well done me. Because at the end of the day zero waste doesn’t mean zero waste, we live in a linear society and zero waste is about trying to shifting to a circular society as much as we have the capacity to do so.
Be proud of who you are because the fact that you are stressing about not doing enough means that your way of looking at things has changed and now give yourself a break and look after your mental health because being harsh to ourselves is scientifically proven to not help us at all. Some time soon I will write a blog post about self compassion and its importance!