Consciousness is a curious thing. Years ago at my first pro hockey game my (now) husband pointed out the flash of light in the stands. “You know what that is?” He asked. “No,” I implored, staring into the prolific flashes. “They’re for the photographers” he shouted over the announcer, pointing at the front row.
After that, all I could see was the flash of light going off around the stadium every few minutes for the rest of the game. I had sat through half of a game and never once noticed.
Waste is one of those things you don’t really think about until you understand how much our junk is impacting this planet. Once you understand it, it’s inescapable. Let’s say I challenge you to go an entire days without using anything contained in plastic.
From the moment you wake up, you’re enmeshed in single use plastics. Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, face wash, sunscreen. When those run out, you have to buy more.
For a long time, I told myself that as long as I was recycling everything I could, I was doing my part. And then I learned that we ship almost all of our recycling to China. (Which means huge cargo ships ripping through the ocean polluting and throwing off the communication patterns of whales and dolphins- but that’s a whole other topic). The recycling that does stay in the US winds up more often than not in landfills due to lack of infrastructure, contamination, and lack of knowledge.
I started reducing my waste casually about two years ago. I stopped buying plastic storage bags, stopped using straws, started bringing my own silverware, plate, and cup with me to work. But as I become more conscious of the mess we’re making, the more urgency I feel to stop being a part of the problem.
About a year ago I made the decision that any product I ran out of that needed to be replaced would only be replaced with a cruelty-free alternative. Now, my next goal is to replace anything I run out of with a cruelty free, zero waste alternative. I’m excited to start this journey towards a simpler, less wasteful lifestyle. This earth is such a beautiful place and I still have so much more to see; I’d hate to miss anything.