When it comes to starting a zero-waste journey, there are a lot of challenges. We’ve even covered some of them, like setting realistic zero waste goals and understanding why you’re going zero waste. We’ve talked about managing expectations and understanding the entire waste production line.
I have a pretty in depth understanding of living a zero-waste lifestyle (or trying to!), and you’d think that’d mean facing less challenges. But you’d be surprised how often they keep cropping up. Even when you’ve been on your journey for years, you can still run into bumps and roadblocks that may make you feel like there’s no point.
I wanted to share some of my challenges with you, to help you keep your motivation. I also want to tell you a bit about my biggest challenge!
My Challenges Going Zero Waste
Believe it or not, this can be one a lot harder than people think. When you’re on a zero-waste journey, you’ll become a lot more aware of people who don’t believe in climate change and the necessity to change your lifestyle. In fact, you might find that friends and family don’t approve of your lifestyle, and you’ll have to deal with a lot of negativity coming your way.
It can also be difficult when you’re constantly assaulted by both the naysayers who don’t believe in climate change, but also by the immensity of the science behind it. When people start using phrases like ‘apocalyptical’, it can become overwhelming. You might want to feel like giving up, because what difference can one person really make?
Staying positive and motivated can be hard. The best thing to do would be to find a community of like minded people. You’ll find the support you need there.
I’ll reference my post about setting realistic goals again [link to article]. Setting unrealistic goals is one of the quickest ways to give up. Don’t set out to change the world. Set out to change your life. Your home, your family, your habits. Make small changes at a time. Instead of feeling like you’re failing the bigger picture, you’ll be able to start seeing the differences you are making.
Thinking of Creative Solutions
While Zero Waste is picking up in South Africa, we’ve still got a long way to go. This means that we don’t always have access to Farmer’s Markets, or bulk stores. We don’t have many of the solutions that other countries have already started putting in place. Personally, I’ve found that it can be difficult to implement some habits that other zero waste bloggers find a lot easier because they have the resources close by.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t try. Often, we have to try and think of more creative solutions in our household, to circumvent the obstacles. And, you know what? That can be a lot more fun than you think!
But my biggest challenge is this:
Have you ever been on a diet? If you have, you know how it feels when you eat something you shouldn’t. You bring a whole lot of guilt with you to the shower, after you’ve checked just how many calories you ate that you shouldn’t have.
It’s very similar with Zero Waste. Sometimes you forget your cloth shopping bags at home, or you just can’t stop the lady at the counter from sticking everything into a plastic bag in time. Or you had to go grocery shopping, and suddenly the little bit of trash you thought you had become significantly bigger.
Like with calorie guilt, you end up with plastic and waste guilt. And because we live in a country that doesn’t quite have a supportive infrastructure in place, it can hit hard.
The trick is to just keep going, just like you would with a diet. Sometimes we hit a pothole, but we’ve got to bounce back.
What’s the biggest struggle you’ve had on your zero-waste journey? I’d love to hear your stories, so please don’t hesitate to share them with me!
Until next time, stay Greenish!