In the very beginning, I was empowered with an aura of invincibility in regards to not creating waste. I could do this. No problem. However, as I went through the first few weeks of limited waste, unforeseen ambiguity reigned.
Does a limited waste lifestyle include water, fuels and toilet paper? To be frank, I’m still not sure.
One of my biggest challenges was how to deal with the gifting clause of the original contract. If I get a gift that happens to come with trash, than I still can accept the gift. My original intent was in regards to Christmas and birthday gifts. But if someone buys me my favorite type of chip (dill pickle. Holy moly, do I miss that vinegary goodness) because I cannot buy if for myself, I begin to question if I am still in the clear. Technically, yes. Morally… maybe?
Other challenges include toiletries. I still grab my toothbrush warily twice a day and shave with a razor that comes with disposable blades. Sinful.
However, I have found myself going beyond what is necessary in other matters. Even though I could buy a bottle of milk that comes in a recyclable container, I feel so guilty gazing at the bottle that I don’t want to. Recycling in general now gives me a slight case of the willies. I am beginning to suspect it is just an excuse to waste more without the guilt of throwing it away. Don’t get me wrong, I still am a huge believer in reusing rather than trashing. However, the extra shipping, processing and redistribution of recycling still causes extraordinary waste and pollution. So the milk stays on the shelf.
A word about cheese. Some people find comfort and meaning in life from chocolate, others, more snooty and posh, from wine. I however, am passionate about cheese. Growing up within a ten minute walk from the border of Wisconsin will do that to a person. However, in my humble, small Minnesotan town where I now reside, I cannot find cheese without packaging. Anywhere. Despite the fact that the largest dairy in the state is a mere two miles from my abode. And now that I’m too guilt ridden to buy milk, I can’t even make my own. I am devastated.
What is sacrifice? No cheese is sacrifice.