I've never been a huge advocate for the world. I know that sounds bad, but I couldn't stand behind recycling because the process of repurposing materials still adds pollution to our air and beyond that, I honestly just didn't really give it that much thought. It just didn't sound plausible that I could impact change, negative or positive.
I am just one person so if I try to help nothing will happen and if I ignored it, nothing will happen.
That's been my main thought on ethical and sustainable living for a very long time. I'm not big enough to change anything so why worry about it?
But then, I had two realizations that changed my priorities:
WHEN YOU BRING IN LESS, YOU PUT OUT LESS
What you bring into your home will inevitably leave it. Cereal boxes, mindless shopping adventures, crappy furniture. Every single thing you bring into your home will eventually go. No matter how long you hold onto it, it will still go back to the world at some point.
Of course, we need things. Humans not only have basic needs, but we are all accustom to a bit of luxury at this point that I think is totally fair. Like beds and clothes and pretty art on the walls. So it's not the having things that's a problem.
It's the bringing things in mindlessly that needs to change.
This is true for so many different reasons. It's not good for our budget, it's not good for our mental health, and ultimately it's not good for the world around us. It's the impulse buys that contribute to the waste. The convenience purchases we make without a second thought. The more we buy, the more product people will need to make, so the more waste goes into the world.
Realizing that if I simply brought less into my home I'd be impacting not only myself, but the world around me, was the beginning of my change.
WE CAST OUR VOTE WITH EVERY DOLLAR WE SPEND
This was my next big realization. I realized that every time I put money into an item, I was saying that I was okay with how that item came to be. I was saying it was okay to underpay the workers. It's fine to over package your product in harmful material. Don't worry about all the wasted resources that went into this thing I'll only be using for a short time. It's all fine.
That was a pretty big deal to me. To think that I was giving wealthy people more money to put into themselves and not into the people who contributed to their wealth or the world that provided the resources needed to create their wealth was a horrible thought.
Knowing that there were people like me, trying to make it doing something they loved in a kind, ethical way and I wasn't supporting them brought a lot of guilt my way. I was saying they were too expensive or what they were doing didn't really matter in the long run. I wasn't giving them my support. I wasn't giving their thoughtful, caring process my vote.
It's frustrating to think that I was contributing to their struggle and not their success.
I'm still very new to this world. I haven't even officially made a transformation into a zero waste lifestyle. I don't have all the statistics and numbers on why it's important, but I have my own personal reasons for why I need to make the change. I'm officially ready to start buying slower. To put thought into where I'm spending my money. To start using my dollar to support people who truly care about their effect on the world.
GETTING STARTED WITH ZERO WASTE
1. This instagram account has awesome DIYs to get you started.
2. A list of zero waste Etsy shops that seriously make me excited to get into this.
3. An article that talks about going beyond just zero waste swaps and dives into a few things we can all add to our zero waste lifestyle.
4. Some awesome, eco-friendly toilet paper that I am totally going to start getting.
5. Some swaps for common items to make your home a little more waste free.
6. Tons of zero waste tips to get started.
7. My Pinterest board that I'll be updating frequently with even more zero waste tips!
Photo by Sylvie Tittel