Waste free living: a humble way of life, one without the guilt of plastic or toxic chemicals that harm our planet. It’s a life with a strong sense and passion for the wellbeing of our planet where we strive to reuse, recycle and compost. It’s a tad challenging since we live in a plastic-coated world, but it’s a challenge many others and I have been happy to take on. However, there are some inconveniences in the fine print of the handbook.
‘You’ll save money, reduce plastic, help the planet’- no one said anything about all the rest. If you thought tampons were bad, now you have to see the internal breakdown of your body suspended in a cup right before your eyes and then watch it slide its way down into the bowl. After that traumatic experience you then have to master the ‘C’ fold which creates so many noises, from high pitched squeaks to deep suction slurps, and all the sounds of you sighing from the amount of times you fucked up, making everyone around you think a hell of a lot more is going on in that cubical.
Oh course you can’t have a plastic bottle, so every time you put your bag down just a liiiiittle bit too hard you get the same screwed up face, cold sweats, fear for life that you get when you drop your phone and its laying face down, just waiting for you to pick it up. Also, forget taking a lil’ sip while you’re running to your next class, otherwise you’re asking to lose a tooth- glass is far from soft plastic. An added bonus/annoyance is that glasses bottles are a lot heavier, so it’s an extra workout or more weight to lug around, yay!
Those 100% organic cotton produce bags always sound like such a good idea, but then you get to the supermarket, you’re perusing the fruit and veg, feeling good about the fact you don’t need to buy another one-use plastic bag. But then, there’s an overwhelming feeling of guilt, of villainous activity, and you can’t help realizing that you look like a criminal as you slowly slide those potatoes into your produce bag, which could easily pass off as a regular tote… (Don’t get any ideas).
First of all, half the time you almost drop that damn jar and spill black dusty shit everywhere, making it look like some plague has taken over your bathroom. Secondly, don’t ever spit into the sink like you’re a farmer shooting for the spit bucket, otherwise you’re going to have a whole lot of wiping up to do. Thirdly, have fun trying to pour the refill packet into your jar. Fourthly, prepare to have your mouth feel like a fucking desert; if you close your eyes you can see the camels.
Mistakes have been made, some more annoying than others. Leaving your shampoo, body and conditioner bars in the shower is a rookie mistake, but one even the well-versed planet lover makes every now and then. Nevertheless your bars are left soggy, cold, half the size they use to be and there’s nothing you can do but try not to cry. So next time, don’t forget a plate to put your goodies on. I know they look super cute on there and kinda like big round sweeties you can take a bite out of, but try to hold back. But like I said, mistakes have been made.
Since plastic is the devil and is leaching super shit estrogenic chemicals into our food and drink (even if it’s BPA free), we are now prompted to latch onto every single glass jar that passes our way. Who cares if you don’t have anything to put in it today, there’s a chance that tomorrow it could be filled with oats that sit at the back of your cupboard for the next two years. Before you know it, there’s more empty glass jars on your shelves, then there is food. And say goodbye to your flat mates, they won’t put up with this shit for long.
If you have a hairbrush that you love, give it a month or two off. When your hair is adapting to shampoo bars the chemical layer from traditional bottled shampoo is slowly stripped away with each wash. This tends to leaves a thick, creamy, peculiar paste-like substance all over the bristles and edge of your hairbrush. So it’s probably best to go and treat yourself to a nice new wooden comb.
Beeswax wraps are the biggest rage in the waste-free living world, but no one tells you about all their litter quirks. Like how your sandwich will smell like beeswax, your muesli bar will smell like beeswax, your pencil case will smell like beeswax, your bag, bottle, lip balm, hands and face- literally everything is fucking beeswax. And you know who likes beeswax? Bees. They also don’t tell you how to wash them, too cold and nothing happens, too hot and you’re left with a floppy piece of fabric. Sometimes I ask myself why I’m doing this.
You don’t really notice to begin with, but since a lot of waste-free products are made from natural materials, nothing is artificially coloured. This means all the man-made colours of the rainbow are left behind in the plastic world. It’s like you’ve jumped back two centuries and all the products you’re surrounded by are either a silver/metallic colour or brown. There’s still hope though, beeswax wraps come in many patterns and colours and not to mention a great smell of beeswax, along with your very own bee followers.
Waste-free living makes you a plastic-free, eco-friendly, tree-hugging psychopath. Every time you see someone in the supermarket, you just want to interrupt their pleasant Sunday morning and tell them to put back that disgusting, planet killing plastic toothbrush and buy a bamboo one instead. You see children putting chocolate into their trolley, and you want to look them dead in the eyes and tell them it’s going to kill all the creatures in the ocean. You never truly realize at the time, but you’ve become a fully-fledged lunatic.
I know all these things are a bit of a damper on waste free living; they make us seem like we’re fucking in the bathroom, like we’re stone cold thieves and psychopathic bee whisperers, but in the end, are they really things to be complaining about when they all add up to a healthier, cleaner planet? By choosing to live a waste free life, or even opting out on plastic whenever you can, you are helping to reduce harmful, toxic waste that damages the natural landscape, kills innocent animals and actually circulates back to us. Small decisions go a long way and really do make a difference.