Consumerism is second nature to all of us in one form or another and the words "great for the economy" are constantly thrown around - but how much growth can our economy take before it bankrupts itself through poor political choices and blissful ignorance?
"Treat yourself", a phrase that many of us have heard or perhaps even said. The notion of having whatever you please because you simply, just want it and believe that because you work hard, you deserve it. It's an opinion most common to developed countries but when you break it down, it's no more than spoiled insolence.
The need for stuff because it's trendier, newer or perceived as better is something that any zero waster has to come up against and for some it can be hard to shake off - simply replacing products for compostable alternatives isn't always the answer. So much of what we believe is normal to need, own or consume is unnecessary in the first place; tackling our own personal feelings of why we feel we need or want these items is imperative, ask ourselves; what they mean to us and how would they make our lives richer?
Zero Waste definition, Wikipedia
"Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean".
As a zero waste shop, Earthkind's inbox is inundated by companies offering wholesale on their "eco" products which they believe "fits the ethos of the brand". Three emails that inspired this post were so far removed from what zero wasters believe in, it baffles as to why the companies are targeting zero waste shops as potential customers at all.
The first email was from a company in Scotland who had created pre-made convenience risottos in compostable packaging - risottos are a fantastic and fast meal, taking no more than 30 minutes to prepare, the production of compostable packaging for such a product is therefor a huge waste of resources. The original Italian peasant food costs mere pennies to make from scratch, meaning these food pouches are also a waste of consumers money.
The second email was from a company in Canada selling organic cotton produce bags for CA$99 per set. Produce bags are very simple to make, they need no sewing experience and can be easily made from scrap fabric, old clothing or bedding. The huge price on these products only goes to show that companies are viewing sustainability and ethics as trends from which to capitalise.
The third email was from a well known protein bar manufacturer who were "proud to have produced their quality bars in compostable packaging". Having never eaten a protein bar, it's confusing to understand why such unnecessary gimmicks need to become eco when a simple and sustainable outlook leaves these types of products and companies behind.
When will industries catch up? Zero wasters are in it for the long haul, we are prepared to give up our favourite foods, our exotic tastes and need for items that many still think of as basic needs, so that we can give the planet a chance to recoup and replenish. We don't need convenience foods in compostables, we need more of the population to take a giant mind shift away from consumerism and ignorant shopping and onto environmentalism and conservation.