These 6 key things can make anyone feel like a zero waste failure. Going zero or low waste takes effort, and you don't need to let these pitfalls get in your way and drain your energy.
1. Going Too Big, Too Soon
No matter how excited you are to be zero waste instantly, we all know trying to change everything at once can be a bad thing. It can quickly lead to overwhelm, stress and quitting when it all gets too hard. Instead, take small easy steps and slowly implement them. Give yourself time to adjust even for seemingly little things, like remembering your keep cup or shopping bags, and they will become an automatic habit. Experts say we need 60 days to turn something into a lasting habit.
As you go, you are pretty likely going to encounter things that need tweaking before it goes smoothly. And, on those days it's all a little too much, just do what you can, when you can.
2. Buying the Zero Waste Essentials - That Weren't Really Essential
There are a lot of awesome products out there, but don't feel you need to own them all. In fact some maybe absolutely essential for some individuals, yet completely useless for others. Do a bit of Research first, and be sure to know what it is you want or expect to get out of a product, and if it will deliver. Also, it's worth considering will the item actually have immediate and long term benefits. How much is it going to cost and How much use you'll get from it should also be top of your consideration list. Some things you may be able to repurpose or substitute with things you already own rather than buying new. Avoid impulse purchases that may end up hurting your wallet and permanently taking up space in your home as you won't want to throw it away.
3. Comparing yourself to others
How tiny is your jar? Size doesn't matter and neither does anything else. If you made an improvement, you're winning. I love having a chat with people about garbage and waste BUT there is always someone doing it better than you (or me). Take it as an opportunity to learn rather than an ego hit. Plus, some of the most interesting things I've learned have not come from people trying to minimize waste at all. You don't need to feel inadequate by making unreasonable comparisons, so focus on what matters most to you.
With so much information and ideas it's easy to get completely confused. What is really the best way, best item, most aspirational goal along with all the underlying aspects of production, resource usage and overall environmental impacts of your actions.....google anything and you can find thousands of opinions, facts and figures. There is no right way and you don't need to read everything written on a topic. You'll be stuck in indecision mode and at times it's a matter of making the least bad choice or just accepting there may not be a great choice available yet. Trust you're own judgement more and test things out for yourself.
Stuff is going to get in your in way, and probably more often than you expect. Illness, budget, time (a few biggies) along with where you live and who you live with can be major obstacles. It will slow you down, but it doesn't have to stop you. As you progress on the zero waste journey you'll develop your ninja reflexes at avoiding plastic straws, or gently coaxing loved ones to get on board with recycling, and in time, you'll look back and suddenly realise you made huge progress just by refusing to let it stop you.
6. Haters Gonna Hate
Whether it's family, friends. In-laws or your neighbour, you may encounter people who are really opposed to zero waste. You don't have to defend if there ever really can be zero waste, or justify some of your non ecofriendly habits or indulgences that might get pointed out to you. In reality, some efforts to avoid waste can truly be annoying to others and can be pretty inconvenient. Just try not to lecture others, and don't let their criticisms or opinions get you down. Dance to the beat of your own drum and you'll be happier for it.
Has something make you feel like a failure recently? Did you come up with a way to beat it?