But being green is beautiful, and I think it’s what we all want to be.
Try as we may with our reusable straws, beeswax wraps, and cotton shopping bags, throwing something away is never “away.”
The path to “zero waste” is fraught with frustrations and tribulations, and many times, we might just want to throw up our hands and give up.
Sometimes, what we really need is to shift our perspectives. No task or lifestyle change is truly easy until it becomes our daily habit. And in the interim, focusing on small, marginal changes: “low” waste instead of “zero” waste, creates a mental space wherein we may be much kinder to ourselves, forgive our blunders, and approach our environmental goals with inspiration. It may even become fun!
The first rule of Low Waste Club: Don’t let guilt control your actions.
Instead, do it because it is empowering. Taking control of our eco-conscious decision making is one of the most powerful things we can do for our planet. Convenience is a fickle beast, and it’s difficult to pay attention to our consumption of single-use and disposable items. So first and foremost, forgive yourself.
Many of us go through stages: We learn that our oceans are brimming with plastics, and that landfills are bursting with trash. We’re inspired to do more to live kindly: we cook at home, we garden, we buy organic, we store our nuts in old pasta jars, and we embrace the magic of DIY.
Then— oof. This is actually kinda difficult.
With gritted teeth, we carry on.
But before we know it, we feel overwhelmed. Oh man, that pre-packaged quinoa salad at the deli counter looks tasty. Those colourful plastic bins at the store are just so cute, and the perfect size for the closet. Oh, dang, this local, organic produce is just a little out of my price range… but the conventional, imported stuff fits my grocery budget. We’re suddenly fraught with guilt, and every purchase decision becomes a personal plight of self-judgement.
We are only human.
Forget it, we’re just going to do what “normal” people do, and shop how “normal” people shop.
It’s ok. This happens to all of us.
Guilt is not sustainable.
To make our sustainable lifestyle truly “sustainable,” that is, to maintain our changes in the long-run, do not let yourself be motivated by guilt.
Focus on positivity and energy. There are many routes to “go green.”
At the risk of bankrupting ourselves here at Kolya, the truth is, there is little need to take the word “zero” in “zero waste” literally. We absolutely can, and we do our best, but for most of us this just isn’t realistic (yet).
Living perfectly “zero” is not mandatory. After all, we’re in this for the long-haul. We need to move gently and treat one another with respect and understanding.
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. —Anne-Marie Bonneau
We can adopt earth-friendly habits, so pick the ones that fit your lifestyle.
Keep a water bottle handy. Store a compact reusable shopping bag (such as the Organic Cotton Perfect Blend Bag from The Better Farm) in your go-bag or vehicle so it’s ready to go whenever you need it.
Baby-steps… next, shop in bulk.
Refill stores are popping up everywhere. At our Southside location, we’ve recently opened a Refill Station of our very own! Here, you can get many of our favourite earth-friendly skincare products, home care goods, and even DIY items, in as little or great a quantity as you need.
But remember, go easy, especially on yourself. It’s easy to go overboard (we do it all the time) and buy all the things when experiencing an exciting new place to shop, especially when it’s eco-friendly!
The goal of our refill station is to reduce waste, so buy only what you need and know you will use. Shopping refill-style requires a fairly significant change in habits, and it’s tough to change! It takes time, but that’s okay.
Try starting with soap. Dish soap, laundry soap, hand soap, castile soap, the boring stuff we use every day. Browse our offerings.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be boring. In most cases, our Refill Station carries unscented options, so you can customize fragrance to your heart’s content with our huge range of essential oils!
It’s not just for the useful stuff, either…
There’s so much to discover.
Bring a small jar to get just a small amount of that new deodorant from Routine you’ve been wanting to try, or test the best conditioner for your unique hair type!
Whatever you do, you’re still helping.
Even the simple fact you’re still reading this means that you care. Knowledge leads to action, and every little step counts. As “eco” and “sustainability” become less and less niche, and more prominent in the public eye, we can all move forward together to make a positive impact on our planet.
Remember: this is a practice, not a journey.
We at Optimum Health and Kolya Naturals are endlessly grateful for your choices. In supporting our local store, and refill stations and eco-friendly products in general, you are supporting a movement.
In our efforts to live sustainably, it’s crucial to practice kindness. We value empathy, understanding, and love. We believe that encouragement, education, and celebration of our respective successes goes a long way to inspire long-term change. We are so proud of your efforts!
With your support, more eco-friendly stores can exist and thrive.
More products can be available for a mass market, which makes things more convenient for regular joes like you us to live sustainably.
Ultimately, our purchase decisions impact big manufacturers, and encourage the “big guys” to make eco-conscious choices too.
This is what we call a win-win-win.
We are here for you!
Visit Kolya Naturals and Optimum Health Vitamins in Edmonton for eco-friendly living, sustainable self-care, wellness support, and so much more.
In the meantime, pop your thoughts below. Have you experienced eco-guilt? What are your sustainability goals?