Marie-Ange and the Last Green Crusade

Marie-Ange and the Last Green Crusade

Do you know about Zero Waste? If you are even just a little involved in ecological efforts, the ZW lifestyle has hardly been a secret for you. If not, I’m hoping to make you discover a nice way to do your part, just as it inspired me.

What brought me to this lifestyle is the weight of wanting to do more. The impatience in the face of so many problems. It’s been many years now that I wear these frustrations on my shoulders regarding our world. Paradoxically, I see in it all the beauty and the joy it brings us. To me, everything we do and everything we are is in symbiosis, so for my health, my environment, my family, my friends, my wallet and my happiness, I had to act. Otherwise, how to ask of others, what we can’t do ourselves?

Garden bounty

Accidentally, I stumbled on numerous Zero Waste blogs while, unconsciously, I had been making baby steps in that direction for nearly ten years, when I moved out of my parents’ house. Ten years of baby steps, it’s like one intensive year! ME who always wanted to be the most ecological as I could, because it’s dear to my heart, I saw all I cold still do better. Here I was, one year ago, deciding to accelerate the pace. So, what is Zero Waste?

Zero Waster implies the reduction or elimination, from our lives, of everything we recognize as superfluous packaging, one-time objects which use can be debated and that gets unleashed in nature at the end of their usefulness. Refuse the plastic cutlery and straws, carry a cup, water bottle or reusable cutlery, shop in bulk with cotton bags or Mason jars… In my case, I simply added these ideas to many more of my values: buying local, stop overconsumption (I am not a minimalist, but I adhere to that principle in many spheres of my life), buying durable products, durable in their production methods as well as their longevity, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, gardening, buy organic, buy fair trade… Do I always respect by the book all of these? Not always, but I’m always ready to find better solutions to my habits.

Bulk grocery purchases

Zero Waste was not a bomb with my relatives: everyone knew about my ecologist nature. Those new habit changes were on the step of the door, I only had to open. But I observed the reactions. Those from around me, the ones from strangers. And even if zero waste is a lifestyle that has the ultimate goal of reducing waste to a maximum (even if reaching the absolute zero is impossible), to modify our habits to our own pace, according to our personal limits, I see two very unwholesome tendencies developing in some of its adepts, as well as in those who don’t feel like getting involved with it: on one side, getting impatient to see the whole planet adhere to it for our common good and a healthy future; on the other side, getting systematically defensive in front of eco-friendly ideas, getting frustrated to feel like they are guilty of all the ills of the Earth.

 

Homemade Paper Towels

To all of them I say: you are responsible for yourself. Let’s stop the judging of others. Your yearnings and your disappointments are personal. If you already do a lot and you are proud of it, keep going. You are inspiring! On the contrary, if you think that you don’t do enough, and you want to get better, don’t worry: everybody went through that. It’s normal. Nobody can force you to adopt habits that don’t suit you. It is your life, your decisions! However, you have so many options before you, take the advice that seems fair to you, even obvious, and take your own time!

Zero Waste means being creative, having the imagination to see things from another point of view, keeping an open mind, but also thinking critically of what we see, keeping challenging bad habits with a scientific mind, questioning the different alternatives and to making an informed choice.

I will offer you my imperfect eco-point of view, that questions but that also likes to have fun. Because the choices we make must be simple, easy to apply and must not become a chore. In my opinion, zero waste is not restrictive, it’s a relief!

Stephanie Guerin