is not about zero waste. Zero waste promotes a culture of perfectionism, one that is wholly unrealistic, especially when you’re a teenager living under someone else’s roof. Even more so because our consumerism centered society operates under the notion of a linear economy. A linear economy is one in which an excess of products are manufactured to be consumed within relatively short periods of time, and after which they become obsolete and no longer essential. Things are designed to bring us joy for a short period of time, and then to be discarded. Because of this, there are hidden structures that play a big role in our everyday lives that we have absolutely no control over, and prevent anyone from truly being “zero waste”. For example, you can make sure your order at a restaurant is completely waste free, but all of the food on your plate was packaged in plastic.
This is why I promote waste-consciousness. Because it’s not about the physical quantity of plastic we each consume, but it’s about our attitude and our effort. We might not be able to control the actions of others, but we do have influence. By leading by example and using our influence to show the world that it is possible to change our systems to ones that don’t promote the death of the environment, we can influence individuals to follow suit and influence policy makers to take action.