Zero waste living is impossible.
By Moji Igun
Zero waste living is impossible.... Even after transitioning almost all of my traditional household products to zero waste alternatives AND committing to shopping primarily secondhand AND learning how to grow my own food AND thinking about how to be a more conscious consumer 24/7, trash still happens. Great! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about why I still see value in the zero waste movement.
I can't even count the number of times I've been asked if I still have a trash can or if there are actually any zero waste businesses out there (I do and there are!). It's true that zero waste feels like an impossible dream, but "at least 90% waste reduction through redesign, reduction, reuse, and recycling" doesn't sound quite as cute in casual conversation.
Our society isn’t set up for us to achieve this ideal zero waste world easily. Most people don’t have access to the zero waste shops and farmers markets that are touted as the main solutions to our waste problems. Our recycling systems are flawed and depend on global markets. Our economic system relies on constant growth and expansion. It’s not unreasonable to believe that zero waste is impossible given all these broken systems.
If zero waste is impossible given our current circumstances, what’s the point of a zero waste movement?
The answer? Because we can fix broken systems. And if those systems are broken beyond repair, we can build something new. We make the impossible possible. We “start where we are, use what we have, and do what we can” (words by Arthur Ashe). As individuals, we shift towards more sustainable behaviors but that only does so much. We need to take our sustainable habits out of our homes and into the world to the places we work, play, and spend time together.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to bring a zero waste mindset wherever you go, check out our free class. And don’t forget to grab our free guide which includes a 5-step roadmap to zero waste.
“When something can’t be fixed then the question is ‘What can can we build instead?’”
- Mariame Kaba