In early October, I attended a talk at the sustainability group of my University by a woman that was leading a zero-waste lifestyle, which I’d never heard of before then. She told us how she lived the way she did, and why. For three weeks it was the only thing I thought about; it’s like when you learn a new word, and then suddenly you hear that word everywhere, but in this case instead of a new word, I was learning about all the ways in which I was negatively impacting my world.
Before that day, I’d spent my time thinking about things like whether I had finished that assignment for that class, whether I needed to buy toilet paper, usual things. But since then, all I could think about was the rows of rubbish bags on the sidewalk on trash day, the bins overflowing with empty pasta cups, the floor littered with plastic cutlery and food wrappers in the evening, and how all of these things would be on our Earth forever.
Fast forward a few weeks to October 24th, to me sitting in my kitchen watching The True Cost, a documentary about the detrimental effects of the fashion industry. With the zero waste talk in the back of my mind, as well as these images in front of my eyes of all the waste that the fashion industry alone was producing, that’s when I decided I wanted to do something to help what we were hurting. I wanted to stick posters in supermarkets, start protests, tell everyone in the street what we’re doing to the world. Then I did what every millennial does when they’re upset about something; I tweeted about it. My sister (the artist.) had read the tweet and messaged me, and before long, we had decided that together we were going to design stickers to help inform other people of this thing we were so oblivious to the month before.
We’ve all seen those videos on Facebook of turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses that we quickly skip over because ignorance is bliss. Well, that night I decided not to block out the information. Instead, I looked it up, I watched videos, I read articles, I scrolled through peoples’ posts, and I realised just how blissful my ignorance wasn't. When you throw something away, you never really think about where it goes, you don’t ever see landfills heaping with our rubbish, you don't really see the effect we have on the Earth. Sometimes you hear about global warming, but it always seemed to be such a huge thing that I, personally, couldn’t possibly have any effect on. I’d never thought of the effect of my sushi boxes, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, disposable razors, sponges, or anything else I’d ever owned and thrown ‘away’. I’d never thought of it until now. And now, it was all I could think about.
And so, I started my low-waste journey, and, with my sister by my side, decided to make a positive impact on the world from now on.