Most arguments I hear regarding making the switch to a zero-waste lifestyle is that it’s not exactly easy on the wallet.
With the number of brands marketing their sustainable goods and seeing friends enthusiastically announce, “Look what I just bought!” with a photo of something they got from a recent zero-waste weekend market, we are convinced into thinking that changing our lifestyle requires us to buy new things.
The question is, is it really necessary to buy more to have less waste?
As someone who has been making a conscious effort to reduce her waste for years now, I can say that the answer to that isn’t at all black or white.
It’s true that adopting a zero-waste lifestyle will require you to shell out a lot more money than you would like to. However, you should only purchase them with the goal of completely getting rid of anything that’s wasteful.
Consider the menstrual cup. Its average retail price is at PHP 1,000. When you’re someone tight on the budget, making the decision to buy it takes a while. But when you truly think about it, purchasing that 1,000-peso cup that will last you at most three years can save you from your monthly purchasing of PHP 50 to PHP 100 worth of disposable pads or tampons.
So while the price tag can discourage you from making the switch, you’re actually saving yourself from multiple instances of purchasing something cheap but will amount to a value much higher than what you could have spent for one item in one go.
But people tend to miss the point when they choose to buy zero-waste things “just in case” or, worse, for its aesthetic value. While they are good for the environment, they’re just an added expense.
Metal straws are an added expense. So are “Instagrammable” water bottles or reusable coffee cups. And so are a number of branded food containers, bamboo cutlery, mason jars, and so on. You don’t necessarily need them to cut down your waste; you might even have cheaper alternatives or something you already own that could have served the same purpose.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to have them just because they’re an added expense. After all, these are still a step in the right direction. As long as you’re buying them for the end goal of sending less waste to the landfill, then by all means!
Just remember that it’s not what we have that matters in our fight to save the environment. It still boils down to our habits and our mindset to reduce our consumption and to make mindful, greener choices.
What’s your take on this subject? Tell us your experiences with going zero-waste!
Header photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash.com