Reality : Zero Waste Life is Sometimes Choosing the 'Lesser Evil'

by Maddie Vlismas

If you're new to the Zero Waste life, or even if you've been doing it forever - you have probably come to the conclusion that it's pretty darn difficult to be absolutely perfect in every decision you make. Education and awareness are really important parts of making the right choice, but thanks to a little thing called Greenwashing, the 'right' choice isn't always very clear. (Haven't heard of Greenwashing? Head over to our break down here)

Another sad truth that we've learnt along our journey is that it is possible to be inadvertently causing harm (even minimally), despite your absolute best intentions. There's a sitcom that puts this into perspective (albeit in a very lighthearted manner) - it's called The Good Place. The show tackles the notion of heaven / hell, and the idea of 'sorting' people into the 'good place' based on a points system, which tallies up all the good and bad actions from your entire lifetime. 

What the characters eventually learn, is that it is incredibly complex to be a human and increasingly difficult to make the right decision in today's society. In essence, the system wasn't built to factor in good intentions, or unconsciously bad actions. For example : sending roses to a loved one used to be an easy way to do a good deed. Nowadays, it's not that simple. You have to look at where the flowers are grown - are they farmed ethically? Are they grown local or imported? Do they use harmful pesticides? Are they priced fairly? Does the company look after their farmers and employees and pay them fairly? etc etc - you get the idea. 

Basically - it's incredibly hard to make the definitive *best choice* - if there even is a best choice. Sometimes, you just have to choose the least evil option - whatever that may be...

While our main focus is always on the environment, Kappi is also a business. We make it our mission to practice what we preach, however, the reality is that sometimes it's physically not an option for us to make the right decision every single time. We do our very best to make sure that we're considering every little thing, and for the most part we're happy with out choices. We are working to create a cleaner, plastic free future. BUT sometimes we do have to choose the second best option. It's really frustrating, but pretty darn upsetting too. 

This acknowledgement and newfound awareness can understandably be daunting, overwhelming and downright upsetting. Trust us - we get it. "What's the point of even trying then?" you might ask. Well, the point of trying, is to try. That's all we can do! We can educate ourselves to the best of our own ability, and we can learn to be a little kinder to ourselves and each other. Something that has always been in our ethos, is the concept and acknowledgement that we are all different. Something that might be super easy for one person to do - like shopping in bulk to avoid plastic, might simply not be an option for somebody else. That's okay! The trick is to find what works for you and your lifestyle, and quit comparing ourselves to one another. 

Our take-away is that although we may not be able to have our finger in every single Zero-Waste pie out there, we're entirely focussed on being part of the solution and that's what matters most. 

Still overwhelmed by this crazy world we live and and want to know how to (try) to make the right choices? Here are a few of our quick-fire tips : 

1. Voting with your dollar

This one is simple. Give your money to people who care about the same things as you. This can be applied literally everywhere : you can vote with your dollar to support local farmers and small businesses when you can, or you can choose to invest your money in an Ethical Super Fund that invest in things like renewable energy. Even things like deciding who you bank with can make a difference. There's a great article by Eco Warrior Princess that breaks down this whole concept here

Also to note is things you might not even think about like, shopping sustainably can make a *huge* difference in the world with little to no effort required!  Want to know more? We sat down with our friends at Ethical Made Easy a while back to talk about why it's important to shop sustainably. Read that article here !

2. Choose anything that but plastic

This one is obviously close to our hearts, but it's quite simple in practice. Basically, whenever you have a choice between plastic anything and literally any alternative, choose the alternative over plastic. Seriously - that's it!

3. Buy what you need

This can be interpreted in a number of ways, which makes it a little fun. For example, our fridge simply isn't big enough to house all the vegetables we eat in a week (and they often don't stay fresh for the entire week if we can fit them in the fridge. So - to save on wastage, we do two smaller shops each week instead of one BIG one. We also apply this to clothes - we don't need anything new (especially when working from home - am I right?) so we've vowed to buy no new clothes this entire year. 

4. Look for transparency 

Basically, you want people who are on your side, who will tell you the ins + outs of their products. If they don't mention anything about their policies or ingredients / materials, chances are they are not beneficial to the planet. Look for and brands products that disclose the nitty gritty!

5. Start small

Don't overwhelm yourself. It is one heck of a big world out there and you're probably not going to save it all by yourself. Baby steps, friend. 

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