Feel Good About Reducing Waste as Much as You Can Without Feeling Bad About What You Can’t

Feel Good About Reducing Waste as Much as You Can Without Feeling Bad About What You Can’t

There’s a lot of eco-friendly inspiration out there. The internet is full of people who are doing some amazing things, all in the name of reducing waste and being easier on our environment and the planet.

Searching the internet and browsing social media are great ways to get inspiration for your own life, but all that searching can have unintended consequences—you can end up feeling guilty.

Feeling guilty that you didn’t use cloth diapers with your baby. Feeling guilty that you still use sandwich bags to take snacks to work. Feeling guilty that you left your reusable water bottle at home and have to buy a plastic bottle from the gas station.

There’s always more you can do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel good about what you are doing. You’re having a bigger impact on the environment than you think.

Small changes can make a big difference

Don’t downplay the difference your small changes are making to the environment. For example, did you know the average American family brings home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags every year? Did you also know that the production of 14 plastic bags uses enough fuel to drive one mile? By cutting plastic bags out of your life and carrying reusable bags instead, you can save the equivalent of over 107 gallons of gas every year!

It’s also important to recognize the fact that small changes are always easier to make than big ones. Lauren Singer may be famous for her zero-waste lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you can go completely waste-free overnight. Instead, adopt small changes one step at a time. Bring a reusable straw with you so you never have to use a plastic straw again, even if it means you’re still putting your produce in a plastic bag at the grocery store.

Recognize there are some things you just can’t do

Striving for a zero-waste lifestyle is great, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. There may be some things you wish you could do, but you just can’t.

One example is cloth diapers. The average family uses about 7 diapers each day. Over the course of 2 years or more, you can keep over 5,000 diapers out of the landfill!

That’s great! Except, purchasing cloth diapers can cost hundreds of dollars, and by the time you spend money on water, electricity, and the detergent needed to clean them, you don’t really save any money. Not to mention, the time it takes to implement the use of cloth diapers can be enormous! For busy families, and especially those that send their kids to daycare, cleaning, storing, and the frequency of diaper changing that is needed make cloth diapers impossible, no matter how eco-friendly they are.

Just because someone is doing more than you to lessen their environmental impact doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud of the positive impact you’re making, no matter how small. If everyone did just one more thing to reduce waste, even if it’s using a reusable cup holder instead of a disposable one, our planet would be a lot cleaner and happier!