Zero waste isn’t always “pretty” or “perfect”

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By Becca Lerman

mismatched reusable jars

I am taking this space to express a significant concern I’ve had with sustainability & the reusables industry lately. You’ve seen them – the pretty or perfect zero waste social feeds with staged products. I’ve consistently noticed an array of social media posts by beautiful yet incredibly expensive plastic-free and zero waste companies who over-glorify what sustainable action really means.

It isn’t necessary to purchase a $15 bamboo spork or an appealing, matching set of glass or stainless containers for $80. 

The image that these companies aim to preserve makes the change toward sustainability seem unattainable. We are allowing people to remain stagnant in their growth toward real change due to the way we present sustainability on the internet.

I’m absolutely not urging you to boycott these companies. They have a mission and a message that is incredibly important. If you can afford it and need said item, please support them. Most often these companies source their materials from sustainably conscious/fair trade suppliers, which is a vital component of this environmental movement. Make sure you’re not falling for greenwashing, though.

But, there are other applicable zero waste options for EVERYONE that can unite us in making this Earth a better place, regardless of your budget.

Hit your local thrift store! I assure you that many thrift stores carry old silverware for pennies, reusable water bottles, or old mason jars for a dollar or two. You can even reuse that empty sauce jar that would have otherwise been recycled.

Be creative! This goal IS attainable despite your budget. It’s sooo important to remember this as we enter a new level of awareness regarding our planet and how we affect her. Spend that extra dollar on a reusable bag, repurpose old jars, and bring your own kitchen fork to work. Don’t be discouraged by the seemingly flawless image that social media aims to uphold.

Perfect zero waste doesn’t exist. Sustainability isn’t always beautiful and your containers won’t always match perfectly. But I will assure you that each and every choice you make MATTERS. It’s time for a serious change and we must step up to enforce this growth. We all have the power! We all have the means. It is vital that we utilize this knowledge and ACT upon it! No more excuses! Start today!

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