I wasn’t born minimum waste. It came to me step by step.
The key is to overcome the barrier. Your personal barrier.When you’re telling yourself that this is too complicated or I don’t have time for this or simply no, that’s not for me. Tell yourself, Okay, I’m gonna try it instead. You will see that in most cases it’s not that difficult!
I’ll give you a few example from my own experience:
When I realized that I wanted to live more responsibly and with less waste, I started with little, easy things.I bought a cotton shopping bag and learnt to carry it in my purse all the time. I bought fresh produce bags and a bread bag and stopped using the plastic bags for fruits and veggies and bakery. Pretty easy.
I changed my personal hygiene and cosmetic habits, although it wasn’t that easy for me. I knew that solid shampoo (conditioner, lotion) bars existed, but I thought that it’s gonna be that sort of shampoo that doesn’t even wash your hair. Then someone gave me a shampoo bar for Christmas. I tried it and…I couldn’t be more satisfied with the product! I found one zero-waste drug store nearby and buy it there ever since. Along with solid body lotion from pure cocoa butter, which is probably one of the best things in this world. Solid hand soap was a normal thing for me, even before I went “minimum waste.”
Buying solid cosmetic products is one thing, but making your own at home is a whole different level. At least that’s what it seemed to me. “Do you make your own washing powder?” someone asked me once. No, I buy the eco-friendly one. And do I look like someone who would make his own washing powder to you?! I thought. Somehow, manufacturing your own cosmetics and laundry products seems a bit too much to me. Like something what the ultimate zero-waster and eco-freaks would do and that’s what makes them grow apart from regular people. But then my close friend told me she’d been making her own washing powder and that it was actually super simple. And economical. And efficient (it actually washes the clothes). So I changed my mind, bought the ingredients, mixed them together and voilà. And now I am making not only washing powder, but also my own body lotion bars, cream and lip balm.
When it comes to food and doing groceries, I started to think about packaging-free shopping. The closest packaging-free store is not so close to my house (3-4 stops by tram), so I hesitated a little bit, but eventually I learnt to plan my shopping and now I go there every other Saturday. It actually became a nice tradition for me. First, I would buy only things like pasta, rice, legumes and oats, then I added dried fruits and chocolate, then coffee and finally spices, too. So basically everything that can be bought without packaging, I buy there. It’s just dairy, meat and veggies and fruits that i buy in a normal supermarket.
Next I thought about what do I actually eat. Particularly, I thought about meat.
Not that I wanted to become vegetarian or vegan, but I feel that meat production has a bad impact in many ways. The animals live in terrible conditions, the mass-production meat has antibiotics and other sh✳︎✳︎ in it, which has bad effects on our health, it affects the environment in terms of greenhouse effect and finally uses too much plastic packaging when sold in supermarkets. The easiest thing to do is to cut meat consumption, which was no problem for me since I am not particularly keen on meat. Twice a week is just fine.
The second easiest thing was to cut out the packaging. One day simply I stopped buying meat at the supermarket and started going to a butcher’s nearby. If I ask them, they put the meat directly into my lunchbox.
Next thing was a bit more tricky. I wanted to buy meat that was good quality and produced in ethical conditions. I am a meat eater but I don’t want the animals to suffer and I want them to be able to live in fair conditions and to be fed with a rather normal feed, without unnecessary chemical substances.
The butcher’s that I was going to was a chain, so I wasn’t quite sure about the ethical aspect of the meat production-it was a mass production after all. Moreover, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find out where the meat was actually from. I knew that this butcher probably wasn’t the right option regarding my concerns, but I was simply too lazy to do the next step and find a local small farmer instead. It’s gonna be far from the city. It’s gonna be expensive.
iBullsh✳︎✳︎. Just type “local farmers in Prague” in Google, Tereza! And, do you really want to save money on something as vital as food?
And so I did. I started searching, asked a few friends. And you know what? I actually found out that I have a butcher’s where they sell local meat from ecological small farms just 5 mins from home. Yes, it is more expensive than the regular butcher’s but when I cut out some meat from my diet it actually doesn’t matter. The taste and the smell is different, too. And what’s more important than our health anyway? I’d rather pay more for something that doesn’t contain so much antibiotics and it was produced ethically.
So I did one more step forward. One more step out of my comfort zone. One more step towards a more responsible consumption. And it feels so damn good!