No one is perfect when it comes to leading an eco-friendlier lifestyle, but we’re all here doing our best and constantly learning and growing through our journeys. The zero-waste lifestyle has been gaining traction over the years, and although the intentions are good, there are many flaws that should be acknowledged.
What is the key to staying true to the zero-waste lifestyle?
Stop thinking of it as a trend.
Instead of connecting a zero-waste lifestyle to matching storage containers, silicone replacements, and whatever else looks stylish on your social media account, start taking the words ‘zero waste’ as literal as possible. While it is important to cut out single-use plastics and find products we can reuse, let’s consider the best way to go about this.
Before making any purchases, stop and take a moment to consider a few things. Is it something you really need? Do you have something at home that can serve the same purpose? Though it’s often not talked about, zero waste items still take up resources and produce emissions when it comes to manufacturing and shipping.
Taking on a new outlook on consumerism is easier than you’d think, and will save money and preserve our resources in the long run. As I and many others have stated before, the most sustainable thing you can do is to use what you already have.
Acknowledging the privilege
Another side of going Zero-Waste is recognizing that it isn’t affordable or accessible to everyone, especially when 40 million Americans still live below the poverty line. While I try to make it to my local zero waste shop when I can, I simply can’t afford to always buy refills or ecofriendly brands. Going green can be expensive, but does it have to be?
In order to make the Zero-Waste movement more inclusive, we have to re-evaluate ways to make it affordable and show others how they can make changes too. We can even start to recognize how those from low income households already have practices in place, and think of ways to learn from that.
Recognizing the need for improvement is the first step in becoming more conscientious as individuals and a collective. When we address these flaws, it’s my hope that the Zero-Waste movement really will become one that’s more inclusive and better for the environment.