When you see this picture, what do you notice first? The plastic? This image is from a zero waste pinterest thread, and holy pie did this get a lot of flack.
There’s a lot of judgement in the zero waste community! Not here though, not from us anyway, at least not intentionally. Harsh comments against those trying to “go zero waste” is not inspiring, it’s deterring them from trying harder. Because, frankly, it’s insulting.
The @zerowastechef really nailed it on the head when she said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing zero waste imperfectly.”
What if this was someone’s first ever shopping attempt at going zero waste. Say they found those baskets at a thrift store, they switched from dairy to almond milk because of methane pollution, they even bought their juice in glass. But where they live, some produce is only packaged in plastic. So, they buy what they have to for their family to be able to eat healthy, and they write a letter to that grocery store demanding they make changes. But someone sees this picture online and rips them apart for buying plastic bags at all. Then that person sees the comment, it hurts their feelings, and they don’t try as hard next time, and sure as hell won’t post about it.
I don’t know if that was the story behind this photo, but we usually don’t know, so let’s be nice.
Nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone’s amazing zero waste progress and then seeing a comment like, “Why do you have a plastic soap dispenser?” Because they have it, and getting rid of it is not zero waste. Reusing it is zero waste. It’s really just that simple. I still have plastic spice jars from about a decade ago. I still have plastic toothbrushes that I use for cleaning. I STILL HAVE ZIPLOC BAGS that I reuse and reuse, mostly for my carry-on when I travel.
Confession time, I have prescription toothpaste because I have almost very little enamel on my teeth. Yep, throw me in jail. What do I do with them? They get squeezed dry and shipped to @Terracycle every year or so where they can be properly recycled. I’d love to be able to use a homemade toothpaste packaged in glass, but I really want teeth. Call me conceited, but I like having teeth in my mouth, it makes eating wicked fun.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to try. When you go to the store, opt for plastic-free items, try to find bulk food sections and bring your own tote bags. Carry a metal straw with you, and refuse plastic straws. All these simple, tiny changes will add up over time and have a massive impact if we all pitch in.
Let’s do this