Before you hand over your credit card, ask if it’s possible to not print a customer receipt.
Before you order a drink, ask for no straw or cocktail napkin if possible.
Before your first item is swiped at the grocery store, ask for no bag.
“Just say no” and “refuse” waste sounds so negative. I want to change that. I understand that Refuse is one of the most important pillars of a zero waste lifestyle. But we can do better than that. These days I hear a lot of people talking about “self care”. I’m not really sure I’ve figured out what that means to me, or anyone else for that matter. But I’d like to think about “refuse” in similar terms as “self care”. So let’s refer to “refuse” as “preventative care”. Because when you take preventative measures in situations where you know you would like to refuse waste before the waste is created, then you take care of the person you’re engaging with. What I mean to say is that we shouldn’t be going around and refusing trash left and right. We should be walking around this world and taking preventative care of our fellow men, the people who help us at grocery stores or restaurants. We should help them understand us. Not only in our “what” but in our “why”. To go around and refuse straws once they have been placed on the table, while it may be following zero waste guidelines, doesn’t really follow my personal guideline of preventative care. If I forget to mention something to a waiter then of course I’ll cover my ass retroactively, but my point is that being prepared and aware of others and their actions is also a huge part of a zero waste lifestyle. No moment wasted. Use your moments wisely and help the people who are helping you… help you.
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