What a failure I am!
For my first big zero waste shop, I thought that I would still be able to just go to my normal supermarket and do my normal shop, while at the same time being careful to pick products that created no waste. But as soon as I walked into the store I saw right in front of me, my favourite chocolate on sale.
So I felt that I had two ways of dealing with this problem. The first was to become immensely militant and give myself a good talking to about what I am trying to achieve. The second was to have an existential crisis right in the middle of the supermarket. Fortunately, I went with neither and no Chicks were hurt on this occasion. Instead, while the offending chocolate did make its way into my basket, I kept my head down and ignored all other specials as I ploughed my way towards the fruit and veg section.
Once there I did have another moment were my decision to go zero waste really hit home. The saying ‘a fish doesn’t know it’s wet’ was pretty applicable here as I noticed that nearly every on special ‘fresh’ fruit or veg item was packaged up in some sort of plastic. These used to be my favourite special item as I’ve found that the loose stuff is way more expensive. With waste reduction on my mind, I noticed it for the rest of my shop as well. Nearly every product came in packaging. Thinking back now, I’m finding it hard to think of anything that WASN’T in packaging.
I also had the joy of on top of everything else, trying to find an ethical deodorant. I have a huge love of animals, which is part of the reason why I became vegan. It also goes against my conscience to buy products that are tested on animals. I’ve heard many of the reasons why products should be tested on animals, like protecting humans, but I still don’t feel comfortable with the whole process. However, on this particular shop, I did find myself staring at one product that I knew had been involved in animal testing. This led to a five minute internal dialogue, until I finally forced myself to walk away. And why was it such a battle? Because those slippery marketers had put the product on ‘special.’
You see, my family’s journey to zero waste has become slightly harder, after my wife lost her job. I am still working towards zero waste though and I am humbled by the fact that I have the luxury of trying to make strides towards a more sustainable world, even when there is a pretty big set back from situations out of my control. I know there are people in this world who really don’t have the freedom of thinking about sustainability because they don’t even know where their next meal is coming from. In a way, it makes me want to work harder towards my goal.
Now that doesn’t mean I’m not getting all those voices in my head. There are the ones telling me to “just give this all up, you don’t make much waste anyway,” or “the world is against you, my friend. Whatever you try to do, there will be a blockade up ahead of you.” I’m not going to lie, the positive voice that I need to hear is only very faint, but it’s still there. It reminds me that “this journey starts with you. Many have gone before you, and many will come after you, but you have to complete the journey.” Of course there is no explanation of how, or when, but I’ll just keep trying.
Successes this week:
- Not buying crisps or any other snack item that doesn’t have recyclable packaging. The only issue now is finding alternatives so that Alison and I have something to snack on during the week. Suggestions are always welcome.
- Due to said rejection of snacks, I have more money in reserve to buy healthier forms of food.
- Remembering to take bags with me so I didn’t have to create more waste, especially for loose items like carrots and apples.
Failures this week:
- Getting enticed by ‘specials’ and buying other food that came in non-recyclable packaging.
- Not yet finding a way to get the cereals I enjoy, without making waste (damn that double packaging).
- Allowing my mental state to dictate how I consume things. I know that it’s hard to go zero waste, but I’m starting to realise that every time I take the easy way out, I go back to the status quo and I was never really happy there in the first place.
This was a week of firsts for me and I’m trying to not be too hard on myself. I hope I have inspired you to come along for the ride, or at least made you laugh. If you were thinking about finding ways to reduce your own waste, there are plenty of great websites to checkout.
Bio: Chris Chick is the name, accepting that I am 40 is never my game. I am a person who lives life on a day to day basis, realising the time is now, and now is the time, with a skip I my step. If you ever get the chance to meet me, please accept my apologies now, I hope I can make it up to you another time. As you can see, I do not take myself too seriously, but I do think deeply about life and purpose and whether what I am doing is positive in its own right. This is why I decided to challenge myself to the core and take seriously my impact on the world from a consumeristic standpoint. Fortunately I have always been a minimalist in practice, and would rather live out of a bag than a house. It is much easier to be content with life when you have little possessions, which I know is easier said than done for many people. I decided to try and go zero waste for two reasons, is it actually possible? and I wanted to experimentally have the background knowledge to actively engage people in conversation. All my previous conversations were theoretical and held little weight when coming up against retorts. Please join me on this practical and spiritual journey helping each other and the world one decision at a time.
Disclaimer: OPINION PIECE – The opinions expressed in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of OSOF.