by Texas Homesteader ~
It’s so puzzling to me – visitors often apologize profusely for not being as environmentally sensitive as I try to be. WHY??! My journey may not be the same as your journey – and that’s OK!
We All Have Different Gifts
We’re not all traveling down the same path of life. And that’s a wonderful thing! We all have different gifts to share.
I have a strong drive to lower our household waste. Others may have a strong drive to serve on committees or beautify their cities. All worthy causes.
But because I strive so hard to lower waste, sometimes friends & family feel they’ve fallen short when using disposable napkins or plates when I’m present.
But make no mistake: THAT’S NOT TRUE! My journey is simply different than theirs.
My Early Path To A Lower Waste Life
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my low-waste/no-waste journey. I’ve been on this path for quite a few years. I was environmentally sensitive since way, way, way before it was the ‘in’ thing to do.
I started off by reducing my trash and redirecting appropriate materials into the recycling bin instead of the landfill.
Then I started eliminating plastic shopping bags by taking reusable bags to the grocery store. Let me tell ya, that baffled many a cashier back then!
That was followed by learning to compost, cook from scratch and repurpose things.
Over the years I’ve worked into the stage I’m at now, purposely refusing single-use items when possible and pushing for PRE-cycling before recycling.
Each Family Has Different Needs
I’ve always felt that each family is in a different place, with totally different needs than another family might require.
When I was a young mom I worried more about PTA meetings & homework schedules than figuring out how to get my groceries home without a plastic bag.
And I was more focused on getting my kids fed a well-balanced meal back then than trying to figure out how to repurpose a tin can.
I worked into my current level of environmentalness one step at a time. Gently as my life situations changed, I changed too.
Still, several friends & family members sometimes bristle with discomfort when they’re doing their own thing in their own home!
They often apologize for using plastic or disposable items when I’m visiting.
What? Do they think I’m judging them? Hopefully not!
We All Have Specific Limitations
Even now after all these years on this path, our home is certainly not waste free. I’m as limited as anyone else by either location, availability, financial aspects or something else.
We’re all just doing the best we can within our own specific set of limitations, right??
We’ve all seen ’em – those amazing zero-wasters who keep a year’s worth of trash in a tiny glass jar. That’s certainly not me!
Oh sure I’m encouraged and inspired by their journey, and there’s always room for me to improve. But I don’t obsess about every tiny thing.
I’m not gonna lose sleep because I had to buy bread this week or couldn’t figure out how to repurpose yet another bread-bag twist tie.
How To Have Impact In Your Own Area
Although I’d love to be able to bring NO trash at all into our home, living out here in the boonies means I don’t have a fantastic bulk-food store around the corner.
And driving to those places in faraway cities every time I shopped would do more environmental harm than buying what’s available from our local grocery store.
Plus, shopping locally also supports our tiny town’s small businesses. That’s important to me too!
So I typically grow as much as possible in our garden, preserve as much as I can from its abundance and buy the rest locally in as waste-free manner as possible.
My Home Is Not Waste Free
That means yes, I actually buy my milk in a plastic jug and my coffee in a plastic canister. I sometimes buy veggies in a can or frozen fruit in a plastic bag too. Heck when it’s too hot to bake bread, we buy it. In a plastic bag even!
We still have a recycling bin. And even though our tiny waste basket only needs to be emptied about once every 2 weeks, we still produce trash.
I Promise, I’m Not Judging You!
But sometimes when someone brings something to me in a plastic shopping bag, they stammer on about how they will be happy to take that bag away so we won’t have plastic in the house.
Their discomfort makes me uncomfortable as well.
I’d certainly never pooh-pooh a gift of home-grown veggies because they’re gifted to me in a plastic shopping bag!
Heck I’ve already got plastic in the house. Our toilet paper is purchased in large plastic bags. Those bags are carefully opened, then repurposed for wastebasket liners when empty.
And various things come to me in plastic shopping bags which are also repurposed to wastebasket liners. Other plastic shopping bags are reused to gift veggies from my own garden to someone else.
If something has served its purpose & is destined for the landfill, you know I’ll do my best to repurpose it first that’s for sure!
My Journey May Not Be Your Journey
But this push toward waste-free living, it’s my journey, but maybe not a journey for those closest to me.
I certainly don’t expect them to be forced onto the same path I’m on just because they’re my friend! (Any more than I want to be forced onto their path due to our friendship.)
We’re all different, and isn’t that a wonderful thing?? I’ve often said many different flowers makes for a more beautiful bouquet of life…
Using Your Gifts To Better Your World
You’re interested in the school board? Children’s summer camp? Adult literacy? Opening a dog park? Awesome – what great causes worthy of personal action.
My energy is funneled elsewhere but it takes all of us living the life that speaks to our hearts to make the world go ’round.
We each need to pursue those causes we’re passionate about & offer our efforts & talents to those causes to make the world a better place #amiright?
Live The Life That’s Best For YOU!
So if I come to your house for supper and you reach for a paper towel – really there’s no need to stammer an apology or think I don’t approve.
Your home is your home, and your journey is yours too. I’m just happy to be joining in for a great meal, wonderful conversation and more importantly the special personal connection.
I promise I’m not judging your level of environmentalness based on my own journey!
Other Humanity Posts
- Why Can’t We All Get Along With Our Fellow Humans??
- Many Flowers Make For A More Beautiful Bouquet
- Generosity Shouldn’t Be Judgmental: Just Show Love
- My Journey May Not Be YOUR Journey: And That’s OK!
- Learning To Say “NO” To More Commitments
- Snap Judgement: All Is Not Always As It Appears
- The TRUTH Behind Perfect FB Posts
- Dealing With Gossip So No One Gets Hurt
- Why Doesn’t Junior Want Grandma’s Fine China?
- September 11th – Where Were You?
- The Fast Life: Slowing Down & Living MORE
- Simplify Your Estate – Document These Numbers NOW!
- Learn To Recognize Stress In Your Family & Seek Help
Other Inspiring Posts
- But… Don’t We All Want To Look Younger??
- How RancherMan & I Keep The Spark In Our Marriage
- My Journey May Not Be YOUR Journey: And That’s OK!
- The Importance Of The Family Supper Table
- The Power Of Love: Helping Neighbors In Need
- Paying It Forward, In REAL Life
- The Ripple Effect: How You Affect Others
- Pursuit of… HAPPINESS
- The Garden That ‘LOVE’ Planted
- Living Life With NO Regrets
- A Comforting Tradition When Times Are Tough
- Showing Love In A Time Of Sorrow
- Meal Ideas When Bringing Food To A Family
- Finding Time For Your Partner In Busy Days
…and MANY MORE!
C’mon by & sit a spell! Come hang out at our Facebook Page . It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea. There are lots of good folks sharing! And you can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram
If you’d like to receive an email when a new blog post goes live,
subscribe to our Blog!