The Zero Waste Guilt Trap
How many times have you felt overwhelmed and found yourself saying “I should be doing more”?
Probably quite a number of times, I know I find myself saying the same thing, often. We should never be made to feel like we are not doing enough, especially when we are trying our hardest with the resources we have. I have been victim to the zero waste guilt trap many times over the last few years and I am here to tell you that you don’t have to.
What exactly is zero waste?
Zero Waste is the principle of waste prevention. The concept is based around the 4 ‘R’s.
- Reduce – Reduce the waste you buy and produce.
- Refuse – Refuse single use items and plastics.
- Reuse – Use reusable products. Repair, reuse or repurpose products you already own.
- Recycle – Whatever waste is left you must recycle correctly. Most councils have guidelines on what they can recycle.
The thing is, going zero waste is not always straight forward. It can also mean different things to different people. The main idea is to reduce your own waste as much as possible by looking at your own shopping and lifestyle habits. If you haven’t already started on the road to zero waste you might be looking around your house asking yourself “where on earth do I start?” don’t panic, you can head over to my blog 5 Ways to Start Your Journey To Zero Waste
There are a few people out there who claim to be 100% zero waste, with their single jar of rubbish from a whole month. These people are so few and far between that we should consider them inspirational rather than aspirational. Generally I am amazed at how little waste their whole family produces but more so, I am baffled by how they find the time. Some days I struggle to find the time to brush my hair while entertaining a toddler let alone find the time to make my own bread or yogurt.
So while your neighbour down the road is living her perfect zero waste life, home schooling her organically dressed, vegan children while making her own nut milks, just remember although that’s fantastic, she is also in the minority.
We are constantly bombarded with reasons why we should be more environmentally friendly. Our seas and beaches are full of rubbish, killing our animals and fish, the list goes on and on. It’s truly heart-breaking seeing an endless stream images and facts about what our fellow humans are doing to our planet. Sadly, the conveniences of our modern world make it difficult for the likes of you and me to live in a world with no waste or pollution. Take the supermarket for example, although you can buy everything you need under one roof, they are great big commercial spaces full of plastic and packaging. They are purposefully designed solely to get you to spend your money and wherever you look there is waste, so much waste!
How to avoid Zero Waste Guilt
The truth is, most of us are not perfect zero wasters. Hey, some of us aren’t even close but for me, zero waste is more of a mindset rather than the ultimate goal and I am not aiming for perfection. For our family, perfection is far from attainable. This will be the case for most families and that’s ok, whatever you are doing to reduce waste is brilliant. Here are a few more ways to avoid the guilt.
Do what you can, when you can!
So you can only do one thing to reduce your waste, no problem because that’s great, keep it doing! Believe it or not, making one change can in fact make a big difference. If you reduce your daily shower by one minute, just one minute every day can save approx. 3,000 litres of wasted water going down the drain every year. That’s huge for just one change.
The most important thing you can do to avoid zero waste guilt is to stop comparing yourself to others. We are all at different points along the road. You may just be starting your way to zero waste or you may be almost at your ultimate destination and then there is everyone else in between. We all have different goals we are trying to reach so be kind to yourself and everyone you meet along the way.
I hope I have helped you to feel a little less guilty about your own efforts in reducing your waste. You are doing a great job, keep it up! If you haven’t started and would like to find out some changes you can make today check out 5 Ways to Start Your Journey To Zero Waste
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