I’m about to get super real with you guys. Although I had an amazing week for living waste free, it was NOT perfect. I worked hard on making my own food, shopped for fresh local veggies and bulk goods on the weekend and withheld from spending on useless stuff. So why was it not perfect? What could have been the issue (I’m assuming you’re asking)?
Here’s the scene, it’s date night and we’re both tired and in need of alone time. Sunday was the first day we had very few obligations. No work, no parties, no responsibilities, nada. We decided to treat ourselves to sushi. We chose a small restaurant, close to where we live. We thought we would have a delicious meal and just enjoy each other’s company. For the first time all week. I can’t stress that enough, I’m sure you’ve been there too and know the feeling.
But my joy for this evening was short lived. The waitress had brought over our meals. I swear I’m not exaggerating here, prepare yourselves for shock and awe: EVERYTHING WAS SINGLE USE DISPOSABLE. And not even the recyclable kind. It was all Styrofoam. Our main meal was on a large Styrofoam plate; another part of the meal was on a smaller plate (which was more than unnecessary, just put it on the main plate no?), all the sauces were in tiny plastic containers with lids, our soup was in a Styrofoam bowl with a plastic lid (again, so unnecessary). The chopsticks were in a plastic wrapper and the spoons were plastic. It turned my stomach so much that I could barely eat. I could not have foreseen this situation that I was now in. We went to a restaurant to SIT IN and enjoy a good meal. I didn’t realize that this entire place was used as a take out counter. I also didn’t feel the need before leaving to pack cutlery or anything. Who packs that stuff to go to a nice restaurant; it’s not a deli counter where you’re expecting this sort of deal. We ate mainly in silence as I held back my traitor tears (you know the kind where you’re upset and angry, and they just want to make an appearance to spite you).
My date night, the one I’ve been looking forward to, was effectively ruined because of this restaurant’s near sighted views. Yes, disposables are lest costly in the short run, but long term, they can’t even begin to combat the savings for reusable dishes. I’ll save the exact numbers for another post.
My fella said what he could to try and cheer me up with “You do so much and there’s no way you could have predicted this” and “It’ll be ok, this one meal doesn’t outweigh all of your efforts”. But I just wasn’t hearing it. You know when you start a new diet, you’re good all week and that one cheat day ruins you! You feel like you’ve just let yourself down. You know you can do better and that you’re stronger than that. This was that feeling. It shook me to the core, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have let it ruin my evening, I should have listened and let it slide. But passion is funny that way isn’t it? I was even on the fence about sharing this experience. I just wanted to put it all behind me, but I decided to take this very true example and show to everyone that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Being Zero Waste can be tricky sometimes. It gets hard, there are ways to ease up the pressure, sure, but sometimes life happens and there’s no way around it. This being said, it’s still worth it. You’re efforts are in no way lost because of one shitty day.
My night was ruined by this one meal, but I’m hoping through sharing this experience that you’ll ease up on yourselves. Zero Waste is in no way about perfection. That’s just not going to happen, especially at first. It’s hard to adapt. It’s hard to break the routine and your old habits. Yes, it gets easier but even sometimes the veterans fail. Take it, grow and move forward. Rest well and know that you did your very best.
“A failure is not a loss. It’s a gain. You learn. You change. You grow.” -Michael Barata.
Hope you enjoyed this blog. For others like this or general tips and tricks for living a Zero Waste lifestyle, check out my Facebook page Live Waste Free.