Let’s just set the record straight, I am NOT a Zero Waster. Nor do I claim to be. I certainly won’t judge you if you use plastic bags or straws, or order delivery food consisting of plastic containers, wrapped in plastic bags, with plastic forks and throwaway chopsticks.
Since setting my family this challenge of reducing waste, I often feel like I have failed. When I accidentally leave our stainless straws behind, or when I go into a supermarket unplanned because it was convenient and I had a spare half hour in my schedule, and realize I don’t have my reusable bags with me.
But I tell myself that I have not failed, and if you also have joined me in this journey of trying to produce less waste and felt like it’s failed, then I want to tell you that you haven’t failed, and there is every reason for us to keep going. Here is why we can’t fail:
1. Creating awareness –Are you thinking about your habits? Are you noticing your bins overflowing? Are you becoming aware every time you throw single use cutlery in the bin? Awareness is the first step to making change.
2. Changing habits – Changing habits takes You can’t expect to master a habit straight away. Choose one or two and then take the time to master them. Slow and steady will create a new lifestyle that is more sustainable and will last.
3. It is not all or nothing – there are some things we deem as too hard to change (right now, for me, it is Carrefour delivery service) but other things that are easier to change. Pick one of these. I have discovered delivery food is kind of essential in our home for times I am way too busy to cook, however, I have discovered several restaurants that deliver food in compostable cardboard boxes, paper bags and wooden utensils, and I am encouraging my husband to only use those restaurants when it is his turn to ‘cook’ (win!!). I know it’s still trash, but at least most of it is recyclable or compostable, and it’s not plastic.
4. It is a ‘journey’ and not a destination – I expect my slow and steady attempts towards ‘Zero Waste’ will take a long time, possibly years. But if I can do it, and also install an attitude of consuming less and environmental awareness in my children as they grow up, then I think we can save the planet!
Photos: Rebecca Archer