I’ve been reading/listening to some responses to the low/no waste movement becoming trendy, here’s my piece.
I’m glad. I’m glad that people are able to finally look at the waste they are creating and /make an effort/ to do something about it. If that means they’re “No Straw” campaigners and KeepCup users, I’m fucking thrilled. Every straw that’s refused, every coffee cup retained, every shopping bag not purchased, keeps it out of the landfill.
I’m a firm believer in babysteps, god knows I started nose dive into low waste living by guilt purchasing a reusable bag, and maybe that’s all it takes. Maybe it’s being confronted by the amount of straws one uses, or the amount of clothes in their closet. Maybe it doesn’t take an entire garbage audit for someone to start to make better choices.
What makes me uncomfortable about the “trendiness” is the gate keeping that leads to consumerism. I don’t think there is any “one way” to reduce your waste. I think there’s a lot to be said about plastic, it’s done some great shit. Straws are amazing for folks who might have not have full mobility. Plastic bottles are accessible to folks on a low income. If I didn’t have my CatLord here with me, you bet your ass I’d be using disposable plates when I managed to muster enough energy to eat (although I hope I’d go for something like palm leaf plates or something).
I think there are folks who forget the places of privilege that they come from. Sure, some folks on a low income, or with disabilities or illness are able to make changes to reduce their impact and I’m so fucking happy for them, but there are a lot of people who don’t have choice or the ability to make those changes.
I have privilege, I have support, and financial ability to go out of my way to try to make better choices for me and my family. And I am making the effort to make those changes because I can. I am putting the effort into upcycling, making due, and refusing, because it is something I believe in. I’m purchasing things that I think will help me and my family reduce our carbon footprint in the long run because it’s what makes sense to me.
I think that each person who joins the low/no waste movement will have to decide for themselves how it fits into their lives. If it’s just a fucking straw or reusable bag, I’ll take it. It might not be perfect, branded, or instagram worthy, but it will be their step towards a smaller carbon footprint and really, that’s all I fucking care about.