Zero Waste life crisis
I just want to make one thing clear: Zero Waste is not always easy. And recently I’ve been struggling with it.
I feel like I always post about how cool and satisfying making your own products is, but I want to clarify that it’s not like that every day. As much as I know how important it is to minimise our impact on the planet and the fact that I’m ultimately right (uaua), sometimes I just wish I could go to the supermarket and buy whatever the fuck I want without worrying if it’s wrapped in plastic or not. I envy those people who know nothing about composting and recycling. Ignorance is a bliss. They have it so much easier.
Not producing waste does make me feel amazing. Every time I look at my rubbish jar, I feel accomplished. But living waste-free has also been implying a lot of stress lately.
When I first approached the Zero Waste lifestyle I thought it would be a fun challenge to see what I could do without. I completely cut off a lot of stuff, mainly pre-packaged foods and body products, from my life. That felt awesome. It was like I had complete control over my life. I loved being able to make my point with every (non) purchase and to and vote with my wallet, if you will.
But almost two years later, I now feel like I've hit a wall. I've given up all I could and I don't know where to turn next. At the same time, I also feel like I'm done giving up things. I'm done shopping in three different places to ensure I get all my food package-free. I'm tired of spending hours thinking about all the things I could be doing better. I'm tired of refusing things I want but I can't have because they come in plastic. I wish I could go back to when I didn't know any of this.
Every time I express how I feel about this, friends and family tell me to just take it easy, and that I’m already doing so much compared to the average human, and that nothing’s gonna happen if I consume something in a plastic packaging one time. And I know they are right. But at the same time, when I do allow myself buy that masala chai that I really wanted even though it's wrapped in plastic but it's so freaking good and I can't make it myself, then I feel giga mega guilty consuming it, so much so that I’d rather not have it in the first place, if the guilt has to ruin the whole experience. Every time I make an exception, I hear my friend's Hannah's voice reminding me that one exception plus one exception plus one more exception will end up becoming the rule.
Bottom line is: I just want to live in a world where not producing waste doesn't mean you have to sacrifice conveniency. I want your regular supermarkets to stock everything in compostable packaging. I want a world where Zero Waste is not even called Zero Waste but it's just the way things are, and you don't have to shift your whole perspective on life and spend your Sunday afternoons picking up other people's rubbish on the beach.
This story doesn’t have a moral. It's just me having a very overwhelming day. I just wanted to be honest about what this lifestyle implies and how I feel about it right now.
I'm obviously not done with Zero Waste: in spite of everything, I'm too committed to it and I know it's the way to go. So I guess I'll carry on picking up other people's trash, and I'll keep reminding myself why I'm doing it.