A small reflection
This is an interesting post to write right after my Year of Rubbish one, however I’ve noticed this: now that I live by myself, I crave the comfort of single use plastic.
On moving out I had told myself that now, with no external temptations or distractions, I was going to be even better at Zero Waste. With no one but myself to be responsible for, I could finally go the extra mile and prevent any sort of packaging from entering my household, reduce my recycling even more, start making my own cleaning products again.
As much as I’ve tried - and mostly managed - to navigate through everything that’s been happening as smoothly as possible, there’s no denying that the past few months have been a stressful time. Self care has been a major priority during this transition period, and I’ve been noticing how important it is for my mental sanity to be comfortable.
Zero waste has always implied a certain degree of discomfort. Sure, you get used to it, but the carelessness of doing things on a whim is no longer an option. And let’s be real, sometimes all you need is takeaway noodles and a face mask that you can eat and apply without having to worry about the trash that comes with them.
It’s been hard for me to look after myself without getting frustrated at the amount of planning that self care now requires. Therapeutic shopping, chocolate and emergency face masks used to be a staple in my self care routine. I used to be able to focus on me and my wellbeing without worrying about the trash I would produce in the process of making myself feeling better.
Now I am unable to feel better if I know I’m producing trash.
And I honestly miss the good old times when I was oblivious to the destiny of disposables.
Now that I live by myself, I seek the comfort of pre-made cookies.
I wish I could walk into Boots and purchase a stack of skincare products and bath bombs and cheap makeup.
I want to pour soy milk from a Tetrapak carton into coffee that drips from a disposable capsule, and pierce holes in the plastic film of my pre-cooked meals before I microwave them.
I want to snuggle up in cosy sweaters even though I don’t know who made them.
I want to chew gum and use toothpaste from a tube.
And when I say I want, I don’t really mean I want. Because I’m no longer able to do any of these things without a deep and inescapable feeling of guilt.
What I mean is, I wish Zero Waste required less planning. Zero Waste is hard sometimes. And I have so much going on right now that I probably just need to think a little bit less.
Having said that, I have also re-invented my self care routine. It now involves gallons of loose tea, books from the library and soft music from Spotify. Decluttering and journaling in second-hand notebooks. Lying on the floor and listening to podcasts.
These are all things that I can do without planning them in advance.
They still help me immensely.
It still feels good.