Life is about constantly pushing yourself. Whether it be to reach a certain goal for your job, to continue taking courses to earn a degree or to challenge yourself to live healthier; we all need to work toward something.
For me, that something is reducing my waste in hopes that one day I can call my lifestyle zero-waste.
But it’s not as easy as waking up one day and never using plastic or disposable products again. It takes commitment, planning and using what you already own. Which, in my opinion, makes it that much harder to follow through with.
Look around you. Really Look. I bet you can count over 10 items in your surroundings that have some form of plastic on them. Look harder. How many disposable items can you spot?
Now try to imagine this on a larger scale. Imagine piles and piles of plastic building on land, floating in the ocean, breaking down to micro-beads and being ingested by animals and humans. We are going to bury ourselves and our ecosystems alive in plastic products.
That is the why.
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
Wendell Berry (paraphrase)
As a parent, I imagine the world I want my child to grow up in. I do not want her to blame us for causing the earth to slowly suffocate. And I definitely don’t want her to have more leverage for things to blame me for about her childhood.
The Average American produces 4.4 lbs of waste, per day.
In short, the objective is to do my best to show my children that we can live without the need for “convenient” disposable, single-use or even plastic products. And to show them that we value the world we live in; we will not treat it as our waste bin.
It’s all fine and dandy to say we’re going to make a change, but following through on that change is a hell of a lot harder. Let me tell you.
It means no stopping for coffees when you’ve forgotten your reusable mug even though you only had two hours of sleep last night, it means actively saying “I don’t need this” and to become a conscious consumer. Reducing our waste comes with struggles.
What if you don’t live in an area with an access to bulk food? We have one bulk food store where I live, but they certainly don’t sell everything. It’s a matter of trying your best.
Now, try to convince your spouse that you’re going to make an extra stop just for chili powder because you don’t want to buy it in a plastic bag. Then have an argument about it in the middle of the grocery store aisle.
Yeah, the minimal/low/zero-waste lifestyle isn’t easy to switch to alone and it is just that much harder when you have family involved.
So, here we are. Trying our best to reduce our waste one day at a time. One conscious decision at a time. These Zero Waste Journey posts will be a sort of memoir to the trials and tribulations of reducing our environmental impact.
I hope that you’re able to find inspiration from these posts. I hope that I can approach this journey with humour and zest. But I want to make one thing very clear－ we are not perfect. As of writing this, we are nowhere near being zero waste. After all, we’re only human and these type of things take time.
(And in case you’re wondering, we didn’t make the extra stop for chili powder.)