Moving toward a low waste lifestyle requires major changes, both in mindset and habits. We have to look at the way we are doing things, consider our values and priorities, examine and select alternative methods, and make it the new normal. These things take both time and work. There are so many zero waste tips and guidelines out there that it can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. You can do whatever you want, however you want to.
Be kind to yourself. Go at your own pace.
Make changes that are appropriate to your lifestyle and circumstances.
Living with other people can complicate matters. Your partner may not be on board and your kids might complain. That’s okay – keep doing your thing. Working on your personal items first can help build momentum for the family. Leading by positive example is often the best way to get a “buy in” from others. Go slowly and tackle things together, one thing at a time. There may be things you simply cannot agree on. For example, my husband isn’t into shampoo bars and still buys chips (among other things) in plastic. I tried to change everything all at once and make everything myself, which was a spectacular disaster. By slowing down, we figured out what worked best for us, for right now. Changes must be sustainable for you and your family, as well as the environment.
Learning about environmental issues and sustainable solutions on an individual level is an opportunity to equip our kids to make their own choices when they are out in the world. At our house, we focus on how we spend our money and what we bring into our home. We often discuss our “WHY” for this lifestyle with our kids and involve them in decisions about what we buy, where we shop, and what we cook. What they do when they are outside the home is up to them – we let them choose. As with so many things in parenting, we trust that they internalize what we teach them and hope they make the best choices for them.
What (our kids) do when they are outside the home is up to them – we let them choose, and hope they make they best choices they can.
Inevitably, children get older and different challenges are always popping up. Parenting is an ever changing journey, and how you approach maintaining a low waste lifestyle will be too. This work looks different for everyone according to their needs, accessibility, and circumstances. Having regular conversations about environmental matters with your family will help to keep you motivated and moving forward. Kids can surprise you with what they know and what they want to learn.
It is never going to be perfect. It will never look like how someone else is doing it.
Do it anyway, in the way that works best for you.