I’m noticing a disturbing trend with zero waste. For some inexplicable reason, I searched #zerowaste on Instagram and was met with images that had nothing to do with zero waste. Many of them were about buying something. Many of them were about models. Zero waste is trending, but I wish that it were more than trending; I wish its appeal was far reaching and everlasting. I haven’t found anything that has resonated so deeply within myself in a great many years.
I don’t think zero waste is inherently glamorous. The blogs I follow (or should I say the people whose blogs I read) seem somewhat glamorous to me. Heck, they have enough appeal that I’m reading about their everyday lives, which could be considered mundane. I love it because I’m a naturally curious person. I want to know how they grocery shop, what their health and beauty routines are like, what they do in social situations, or how they go camping. All while being an environmentally conscientious person. This zero waste world can be a tricky path to tread so I like to take notes on how others might navigate a particular situation.
That is why I searched zerowaste; but what I found was consumerism, sales, self-promotion, glamour shots of nothingness, and a few legitimate zero waste posts.
I’m by no means saying anyone is perfectly zero waste or that using the hashtag is against some arbitrary rule, but throwing a trending hashtag into a post is not helpful for anyone.
I fear that as millenials, we have been conditioned to not have a way to think for ourselves. Corporations and brands tell us how to live our best lives and we have fallen for it and even wholeheartedly embraced it. We are coping with new ideas and situations by buying more accoutrements. I admit that there are some “things” that I bought or made in order to stop buying disposable items. I made and bought a few linen and muslin cloth bags for grocery shopping, bought un-paper towels, reusable pads, a diva cup, and a crystal nail file I thought I needed. I’m sure there are more items, but I know the point is to consume less, and save some money while saving the planet.
Perhaps it sounds too self-congratulatory to consider oneself as saving the planet by simply grocery shopping, but it can feel empowering; it can feel like having a voice, a choice, and actually doing something to stand up against mindless consumerism and direct-to-trash packaging.
I’m by no means a poster child for zero waste. I swipe an occasional can of beer from my husband, I eat food brought home in plastic from my guy, I waste food on accident, and I still shop online too much.
I’ve said it before, but this type of lifestyle hasn’t been a huge shift for me because of my previous habits, and therefore I feel like I’m not struggling with many of the concepts that others may.
My best advice is to do plenty of your own research. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t feel obligated to strive for perfection, and each step taken towards a greener life on this planet is a good one.
Oh, and don’t forget to vote and use your voice for the change you wish to see.
Peace and love,