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Zero Waste ≠ Zero Tolerance

Zero Waste Lifestyle

Last Updated on January 23, 2024

Zero waste is becoming more main stream. With that, a slew of new people are looking for the line. And, I would like to address an issue that’s been popping up. Never, ever, ever let your ideals stand in the way of your health. 

Get the medicine. Buy the sunscreen. Prep for disasters. 

One of the main reasons I make my own products, buy from local organic farms, and reduce my waste is for my health and the health of the planet. 

There is an overabundance of waste in the world. And, we can prevent 95% of it. However, there is a time and place for plastic. There’s a time and place for waste. Can we be smart about it? Absolutely.

Does that mean we have to be wasteful? Absolutely not. This includes places like the medical field, emergencies, and disasters. 

I’m getting together an earthquake kit. It includes large plastic bottles filled with water and canned food. I didn’t choose individual bottles of water because that’s unnecessary waste.

But, plastic and disposables are kinda unavoidable, and that’s ok. Someone suggested canning water and food in mason jars…. because glass and earthquakes are bffs. 

I will never reach complete zero waste. It’s impossible in modern society. Only feasible if you live off the grid and grow all of your own food.

Everything has an upwaste stream. How did the food get into the bulk bins? Probably a giant plastic bucket or bag. Maybe the bucket is reused, but the bag – probably not. But, it’s still better because it’s less waste than buying in smaller plastic packages. 

It’s all about looking for the least wasteful option if it’s available. Especially when it comes to your health. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Injuring your self in the name of a movement doesn’t help the cause – it hurts it. 

Be kind when someone offers you a gift wrapped in plastic. Be kind if you asked for no straw and you get one anyways. Be kind if someone tells you, you can’t use your own container for takeout. Have patience. Zero waste doesn’t mean zero tolerance. 

Take care of yourself. 

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  1. "Be kind when someone offers you a gift wrapped in plastic."

    Thanks for the reminder. I do tend to get a little grumpy when someone gives me a gift I’m not interested in, but you’re absolutely right that acting grumpy won’t make the world a better place and that’s what zero waste is all about, right? 🙂

    1. Absolutely!! Yes!
      I twitch when I see people walking around with tons of plastic around their groceries. I want to scream sometimes. But, I just have to remind myself to be patient. My boyfriend once brought me flowers wrapped in plastic film. He was trying to be nice. It slipped his mind. I wasn’t going to chastise him; because, I’d really like to receive flowers again. I just happily accepted. And, a couple of weeks later, I told him I’d rather he get me plants so they don’t die. Now we have a couple of awesome plants. Zero waste and we both win!! Getting upset in the moment is just a way for feelings to get hurt. And, no one wins that way.

  2. I agree with Deborah–you offer a good reminder. I always try to catch myself from giving a frown when I see a lavishly decorated doo-dad or gift. Because someone thought of me and it is to be appreciated. And maybe with time I can remind them of my values. I was shocked to learn my mother didn’t buy wrapping paper for my gifts this Christmas! People can change 🙂

    I need to begin my earthquake kit too–water, food, flashlights, batteries, first-aid. A solar charger would be cool too. Anything else?

    1. I’m only up to flashlight, water, and food…. hahaha. It’s a work in progress. Yes, a gift is meant to be received. You can be joyed to receive it, and then give it a new life. I’ve done this with gifts. They’re happy, I’m happy, someone else is happy that probably needs or wants it more than me. Then three weeks down the road when it’s not a fresh moment, say, "Thank you, lets do this in the future instead." Avoids a lot of hurt feelings.

  3. This is a good reminder! I think I upset someone yesterday that shipped something to me and I said I loved the item, and wanted to add that shipping in cardboard and paper w/ paper tape would be greatly appreciated. I’m not sure that went over very well. Then I felt bad and wonder if it’s worth it to say something.