not so zero waste

Zero waste living just isn’t realistic.

I’ve tried it. 

For two full years, I limited my waste significantly.

I bulk shopped even when I couldn’t afford it. I bought “green beauty” makeup that didn’t even work. I used shampoo bars that dried out my scalp and caused scalp irritation I’m trying to remedy to this day.

I was all about that low-waste life and telling other people to do the same.

Then when COVID hit, zero wasters were in a pickle.

We were forced to use single-use plastic in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. 


I started realizing how unrealistic it is to completely get rid of plastic in our daily lives. And for folks living in poverty, or in certain parts of the country/world, “zero waste” options are few and far between. 

I’m in grad school pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus in sustainable development and policy. In one of my sustainable development classes, I started to learn just how much goes into sustainability and environmentalism.

It’s not about refusing single-use plastic. It’s about more than being an environmental activist. It’s about finding how the planet can heal from generations of abuse all while communities and the economy thrive.

It’s actually pretty difficult to do.

There is so much that goes into sustainability. It’s about job growth, fair wages, ethical and transparent business practices, and much more.

I most certainly believe it’s imperative to do our parts. If you can make a more eco-conscious choice… please do it! But I’m learning that it’s so much more than bringing a reusable bottle to work everyday.

So I want to take a moment and say, I’m learning. I was wrong about so much, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be wrong about much more. But here’s what I’m trying to do during these crazy times:

  1. Opt for refillable, recyclable and plastic-free options when possible.
  2. Support small businesses that benefit local workers and the economy.
  3. Participate in LOCAL elections. Yes, national elections are important, but local elections in my opinion are far more important. Know who your representatives are and talk to them.
  4. Buy from certified B-Corporations. (I’ll have a whole blog post about why I love B-Corporations soon).
  5. Use my job for good. I’m in a privileged position to write for my local paper. I want to write accurate stories that reflect the heartbeat of what’s happening in my community. 
  6. Pledge to do better, but give myself and my neighbors – friends and strangers! – grace when we fail to do so.

Til my next post… peace, my friends.

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