What are we still allowed to enjoy in time of zero-waste, no more plastic and bio, bio, bio?
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
After writing my post yesterday about the do's and don'ts in the fashion industry and re-reading some articles on plastics, I asked myself, what can we still do? How do we make the right choices? What products are we still allowed to use? It's all a bit overwhelming, don't you think?
Organic cotton requires too much water of which there is already shortages, faux fur and faux leather are often made from harmful chemicals, textile workers are treated appallingly, jeans require a toxic treatment, you can't use straws anymore, don't buy plastic bottles, no more take-away coffee cups, no more coffee pods, no sparkly glitters, forget about synthetic clothes, bye bye yoga pants, no more wet wipes, earbuds, dishwasher tablets, tennis balls, tyres, cigarettes, shampoo and shower gel bottles, don't eat meat, fish, eggs, yoghurt, crisps/chips, chocolate, alcohol, almost forgot about single use plastic bags.... AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH Is there anything left we are allowed to enjoy without hurting ourselves, others or the environment?
Do you have that feeling as well?
I try, I really try my best to follow all of this but it is nearly impossible in our Western society. Who is to blame for this? Although I don't really like blaming anyone, but we only have ourselves to thank for this. We live in such a rushed and fast world nowadays, everything needs to be easy and convenient. We are also a bit obsessed these days with hygiene which doesn't help our cause either.
Companies also bear responsibility of course, because they offer products of which they know the can damage people as well as the environment.
I admire all the folks out there living zero-waste, I have not been able to pull it off. I do strive to create as little waste as possible. Here are some small and easy things you can incorporate as well!
Ever since I bought a soda-stream, the amount of plastic bottles in our house vanished. What was frustrating for me was that here in Switzerland and Italy, you cannot buy glass water bottles in the supermarket, only when you go to a specialty beverage shop. In Belgium, you can buy glass bottles and get the deposit back when you return them. Either way, tap water is the best here, so frizzy tapwater works! If you don't like your tapwater, investigate installing a filter, it will probably also help reduce lime scale. It might mean you have an small initial investment to make but think of all the money you will save on bottled water, let alone the heavy lifting and reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and our plates and bodies in the end.
Refuse the plastic bags at the fruit and veg section of the supermarket! First of
all, choose the unpackaged produce over the packaged ones! When it comes to products like cucumbers, bananas, grapefruits, courgettes, cauliflower, pineapple,... any large enough fruit of veg, just weigh them together and put the sticker on 1 item. Another option is to buy reusable bags which you bring very time you go shopping! If you don't have any other choice, use the plastic for multiple items and put the different stickers on the bag. Believe me, the people at the register won't mind!
RECYCLE! Whenever you do buy plastic, please recycle it properly. This way at least something useful is done with it! Especially PET bottles are commonly used in polyester products such as fleece, blankets, lining of bags,...
Glass can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality and so can metal, Paper is also easily recyclable although it does require more energy than making virgin paper, at least we are chopping down less trees. If we make sure the energy used is derived from renewable sources, there is no problem at all. Also aluminium, electric equipment and devices, batteries, and many more items are easily recyclable. Make the effort, this way we can keep valuable materials in the loop rather than sourcing increasingly more difficult to find and mine raw materials.
Something that really bothers me as a non-smoker is seeing cigarette buds EVERYWHERE! They are toxic and birds mistake them for food, slowly poisoning themselves. And it's just nasty! Please smokers, just put your buds in the bin after you finish your cigarette or carry a small pod with you where you can put them out and throw them away after.
Another thing that really pisses me off is littering. There are so many bins, it is just so unnecessary. You see litter around busstops, highways, beaches, roads,... People have no shame just throwing things out of the window while driving. I encourage you to pick up a few bits and pieces when you run into to rubbish lying around. I know you didn't do the actual littering, however we are all responsible for keeping our communities clean. Even if it is just 1 piece at a time, I always hope someone else sees me doing it and follows the example.
Last but not least, just buy less! If we are honest with ourselves, we don't need all the things we buy. I encourage you to spend your hard earned pennies on experiences rather than things!
Image source: Pic 1: https://www.powerofpositivity.com/5-ways-to-stop-feeling-overwhelmed/