Isn’t that how it always goes with progress?
Lately I feel that I’ve been living a much more sustainable lifestyle in some aspects – for instance, I am currently sipping my first totally waste-free tea, as I recently received some lovely loose leaf tea as a gift, and I borrowed my roommate’s tea infuser ball, which is super cool!
On the flipside, I have certainly failed a few times in getting single use disposals with my take-away lunches when I haven’t been prepared. Positively, I’ve noticed that my local supermarket has switched from some single use plastics to compostable cardboard bowls, and the plastic lids now claim to be made of 100% recycled plastic!
I try to recycle these things where it makes sense, but it’s also important not to be a “wish-cycler” – aka when you throw things in the recycling bin with an unrealistic optimism that they will actually get recycled. Not all things can/will be recycled, regardless of whether you throw them in the bin, and aside from easing your guilty conscience, aspirational recycling isn’t doing anyone any favours,
Sometimes it can be demotivating to think about how you represent just one drop in the ocean, and I’ve wondered recently if my efforts wouldn’t be better spent in other ways. Surely there’s a biggest project I could work on that would have more of an impact than spending hours debating over which product at the supermarket has a lower environmental footprint?
In the end I suppose it’s about balance – about doing what you can, not beating yourself up too much, and making the changes and the choices that work for you. For me, for example, pescetarianism is the right balance between my desire to minimize my impact on the planet, my nutrition needs and what is convenient to my lifestyle (e.g. giving me more options when eating out with friends, family or colleagues). Is it perfect? Probably not, but it’s a balance of what works for me.
We should remember that everything is a learning process. Two steps forward, one step back is still a net positive movement in the right direction 😉