In 1955, Life Magazine published an article titled, ‘Throwaway Living.’ The short piece touts the time-saving miracle - 40 hours to be exact - that are disposable single-use products. Now, 65 years later, we’re scrambling to become the exact opposite of that fateful article - but with even busier lives and less time.
Hefty buzz phrases have been floating around like zero-waste and plastic-free. These beautifully instagrammable movements and lifestyles are filling instagram feeds with well-styled photos of stunning eco-friendly and sustainable products and mason jars filled with a years worth of landfill trash, and your ears are probably ringing with inspirational stories from guests on podcasts who have radically changed their lives into the perfect sustainable-living model. You’re certainly feeling the bright inspired rays of motivation…mixed with the suffocating feeling of dread. Is it possible to ever achieve enlightened sustainable status? Well, there isn’t a wrong answer or a right answer. There’s only the ‘do-what-you-can’ answer. Yep, it’s a pretty bland and unmotivating answer.
I’m guessing the average person doesn’t have the time, or funds, to implement all or many of the Uber-sustainable practices these sustainable gurus follow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking these amazing people. We need them for inspiration, for sure! However, full-time jobs, full-time families, full-time lives (pandemic aside, obviously) are very real; which is, unfortunately, how we got here - the need for convenience. And now we’ve hit reverse, in warp speed.
There are some really amazing products out there. Quality made and beautiful. I recall the first time I came across the Urbana Sacs Creative and Zipper Sacs, I was blown away by the product. I had never seen anything like it before. Well-made, handmade, sustainably-made and so cool looking. Looking back to ten years ago or more, eco-friendly products were not as widely available or diverse. I remember buying bamboo toothbrushes online because, well, that was the only place I could buy them. But, I also know many of these products come with a slightly higher to higher price tag. I have been working on a sustainability audit of my kitchen and bathroom. A sweep of sorts of what items I can swap out for more eco-friendly items, and it is adding up. I’ll share my findings soon!
Committing to ensuring we only use a mason jar’s worth of garbage for an entire year is difficult, some might say nearly impossible, in these modern times. If you can, then great! Think of the small changes, the small steps. Holding on to items of clothing a little longer, or shopping 2nd hand or vintage. Like changing any habit or lifestyle, we as creatures of habit naturally settle back into the comfortable ways of old. That is why I say, do what you can. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle when you can.