I first learned about zero waste living about a year ago from an article by Lauren Singer. I remember thinking it was cool and deciding that I wanted to do that as well. The first time the execution was much more difficult than expected. I tried to do too much, too quickly, and being afraid to really bring it up made it more difficult. Since then I’ve had several false starts and yesterday I decided that I really want to do this. I also figured out what made me so afraid to change. It was the same reason that I didn’t tell anyone I was going vegetarian. Once I’d made up my mind to go vegan, I even kept my mouth shut for longer than I’d liked. I was 17 and afraid of what other people would think and be angry at me and force me to eat things that I felt were wrong. That fear wasn’t unfounded, either. When I told my parents that I’d made the decision to go vegan they started yelling at me. They even tried to force me to take supplements that contained gelatin by forcing me to sit in the dining room for nearly an hour, watching me. As soon as their backs were turned I chucked the capsule across the room (there’s plenty of vegan friendly supplements, they never considered asking me about that).
Now, that same fear has revisited me with my decision to take being environmentally conscious one step further. But just like when I went vegan, I’m not going to let my fear of what other people may say or do get in the way of doing what I feel is right.
Last night I went through all of the trash in my room(if you’ve been a longtime reader you probably know my bedroom is a sort of apartment for me), sorting out the dry paper compost, recycling, and actual garbage. I was astounded by the results. Most of it was recycling.
I’m going to apply regular changes as time progresses and work on becoming zero waste. Not even Bea Johnson is perfect and her family still produces a mason jar full of trash every year. I live in the suburbs and absolutely nothing shows up under the Bulk App where I live. I can’t buy bulk beans, gluten and other things, I haven’t even seen them in stores, but I can buy larger sizes of such staples, meaning I reduce the amount of packaging I use, overall.
I’ll also keep buying secondhand and not use plastic shopping bags. I’ll keep growing and doing what I believe is right, especially when it’s backed by studies done by people a lot smarter than me. I’ll do what’s right, even if I’m still scared of what other people might think.