A zero waste lifestyle (or the attempt at one), is not something that just happens, it happens as we educate ourselves, grow, motivate each other and grow even more!
Everywhere we look we are told we should recycle. If we recycle, we are doing our bit for the planet. But you soon discover recycling is not actually the answer. Reducing the packaging you buy, that needs to be recycled, that is the answer. Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it gets recycled. We need to give more thought to what happens to things we purchase & consume not just when they are in our hands. What happens to that plastic bag or tin after you have placed it in the recycling bin?
You then start thinking further, about who is producing your food, how they are doing it and what effect their processes have on our planet. Whilst we should be super conscious of what we eat, what we buy, our waste, our electricity, water and fuel consumption … what about the shops and organisations we support? If they are not making careful and considerate choices behind the scenes and doing the best they can to care for the environment, should we be supporting them? For example, the restaurant that doesn’t even recycle, uses disposable cutlery, and sends tons of food waste to landfill and does who knows what else?! Should we be supporting them?
We have so much power in our wallets. Give your support and hard earned money to the businesses who care; who care not just about you and giving you the best, but by doing their best for the environment at the same time. We each have the power to make a difference. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like we are making a difference – but trust me – we are!
The way we will make change is by being the change we want to see. We need to not be discouraged when seeing other people using disposables, and by seeing all the litter. We need to just do our best with what we have. Stay positive and just always do our best to vote with our wallets. It is so easy to get despondent when things don’t go as we hope, but this won’t benefit anyone.
I know, it is easier said than done. I am not a crazy person who has taken leave of my senses. But we really can make change by making better choices and voting with our wallets. Be brave. If your local store is not meeting your needs, let them know. Don’t be a whinge bag about it, but just let them know that you love their products/service, and want to see them do well, and suggest some changes. Don’t be disheartened when you don’t hear what you want to hear. Put yourself in their shoes, they might have thought they were doing fantastically (with what they knew). Just stay positive. You have done your bit by letting them know, rather than just not supporting them without giving them a chance.
There is a South African website called Eco Atlas; a platform for ethical businesses to advertise their establishments or products, as long as they meet certain criteria. If you are going on holiday, why not choose a guest house who has proven to make good choices. Also see what shops, products or restaurants are in your local area. Maybe you know a business that should be listed, nominate them!
Eco Atlas is a great platform to help us seek out the organisations who are really doing their best to care for our earth and it’s people and animals. Help Eco Atlas grow to make it easier for people all over the country to educate and motivate each other and vote with their wallets. Also check out their Facebook page, lots of info to educate and inspire change.
No I am not saying you mustn’t recycle – I am saying stop buying so much stuff that needs to be recycled. I am saying you must reduce your single use packaging, especially plastic.