35: Here’s the thing about Zero-Waste

It’s Earth Month and you know what that means: marches, campaigns and sales. I’m here to babble on about a trend sweeping some regions: zero waste. Of course to many it’s less of a trend and more of a lifestyle choice which is great! It deserves to be more than a trend. Sometimes it can be “inconvenient” to be zero waste (I hate washing straws lmao) but it’d be a damn shame if people decided it just wasn’t worth it.

But here’s the thing about zero waste lifestyles: it’s a compromise. Regardless of what you do and how conscious you are, you create waste every day just by existing. If you’re a consumer by any means and you’re not living in a secluded area in the jungle, you’re creating waste. Washing diapers, driving, eating at a restaurant? You’re creating waste. Somehow, you’re creating waste.

This is why I prefer calling my habits “low impact” because it’s not about being creating no waste. It’s impossible. Those glass jars full of trash for a year a lot of the time aren’t the most meaningful because even if they’re recycling, that needs energy and energy creates waste. (And most of your recycling needs to be shipping off anyway so bam! Carbon footprint.)

It’s not about the glass jars and steel containers and hemp fabric. It’s about making conscious choices. It’s deciding whether you buy the thing you need from a package free shop online or you get it in bulk wrapped in plastic at the store. It’s deciding whether it’s safe to purchase something used. Or whether your disability really requires the flimsy plastic straw in order for you to eat. And also should I use “biodegradable plates” for my party or just rewash my house plates? No decision is perfect and that’s okay as long as you’re making a true effort. And honestly, you don’t need to answer to anyone anyway.

And you know what I’m absolutely tired of from zw communities? The judging. No matter what you do, it’s never enough for these people. Recently on reddit I came across a post about a woman who was able to find glass cow’s milk that can be refilled and she got blasted for not going for plant based milk instead. She had to defend herself by saying that she needed cow’s milk for health-related reasons but why in the world should she even have to explain that to strangers harassing her on the internet? People post all the time about the steps they take and then vegans come in and go “well you know your efforts would be better if you were vegan.” Which isn’t wrong but why do people feel the need to say “cool but it’s not enough”. It’s incredibly discouraging, especially when it isn’t even relevant to the post!

We should be proud of not just where we are on our journeys but where everyone else is. That’s what a community is about. Everyone is just so quick to criticize each other and wonder why people are so mad all the time. We have to be mindful of how we treat other people just as much as we are mindful of we treat the earth.

So don’t @ me mr. perfect unless you have something constructive to say.

PS yes, I know I’ve been absent but no I won’t explain myself because why should I?

PPS The first of the 3 R’s is reduce. Think long and hard about whether you reeeeeaaaally need to get a stainless steel lunch box if you’re already using a plastic one.

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