There have always been many misconceptions about “sustainable lifestyles” and “eco- friendly living”. One of which is the mental image of an “earth lover” being that of a dread- locked, unshowered, hemp-pants-wearing hippy. And although there is absolutely nothing wrong with these personal life choices, it is naturally off- putting to the average person. And not what most would call an aspirational lifestyle.
What has evolved over time with the zero waste movement is the promotion of a gentler, more thoughtful lifestyle which takes into account the impact of our every day actions on the planet. I’m happy to call single use items (including fast fashion) UN-fashionable and OFF- trend. Just think- a handful of flimsy plastic bags vs a pretty cotton tote; a stainless steel water bottle vs a plastic disposable one; slowing down to have your coffee in a cafe or remembering your keep cup; a wardrobe filled with lovingly-found and cared-for second hand designer and thrifted items, and locally/ sustainably made clothes- vs a pile of fast fashion polyester made in dubious work conditions.
I no longer aspire to have the latest clothing or accessories, or to “keep up with the Jonses”. I have no plans to join the Rat Race. Others may dream of one day earning more money, having more designer clothes, owning faster cars, having a bigger house. Instead, I dream of owning less- my ultimate dream would be to get to the point where my possessions can fit in a suitcase, to not own a car (but to get my dream Tokyo Bike instead!), and to fit 2 adults and 2 rabbits in a smaller house.
I love that my life is now made up of lots of little tiny beautiful moments that I attribute to going zero waste. Even mundane things like cleaning the toilet (with home made toilet cleaner) or flossing my teeth (with biodegradable bamboo floss packaged in cardboard) “spark joy” for me. I feel like I’ve been asleep for the most of my life, mindlessly consuming plastic and destroying the planet and thinking I was fashionable when I was anything but. I’m still coming to terms with my former life, and my penance includes trying to use up all my pre zero waste makeup when all I really want to do is to rub beetroots onto my cheeks and call it a day.