zero waste

Being sustainable when everything’s against you

2020 started horribly. I’m not gonna lie, January and February left a lot to be desired. I got sick in January and stayed sick for the majority of the month. Then in February my day job went crazy and my mom got sick, and so my life went insane as I was trying to take care of my mom and everything else.

A plot twist that everybody probably saw coming: when everything was against me, being sustainable was super hard.

I started my NoSpendYear in 2020, but when I was too tired to cook, ordering in was my go-to for two weeks straight. My non-recyclable waste went up through the roof.

Stress and lack of proper nutrition meant I returned to my snacking habit, and the amount of plastic packaging also went up.

The recycling rate of our household took a nosedive as well because it wasn’t as easy as simply throwing things away. Plastic containers, if not put away to be reused, are usually washed in our household and put in the recycle bin. Same with metal and such.

When you’re exhausted and just wanting to rest, you’d be surprised how easy it is to just chuck things into the general waste bin. The lid closes before your brain is able to process what you did.

Now that things have slowly calmed down in March and I’m able to be more mindful my attempts at sustainability are much better, but I still have a long way to go.

And yes, a lot of what happened was on me. I could’ve been more mindful, regardless of how hectic my life had gotten. But at the same time, there’s part of me, grumbling in the back of my head, convinced that if being sustainable was just a little easier, if it didn’t require as much conscious effort, I wouldn’t have failed so spectacularly when things got harder.

But that’s just me being a whiner because I’m unhappy with my results.

One thing is sure: after those past two months, I relate to the mantra of low impact movement who insist you should do the best you can, even if you don’t do zero waste and sustainability perfectly.

It’s the effort that counts. Just because you failed today, doesn’t mean you will fail tomorrow. We have to keep trying.

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