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When Going Green Takes Too Much Green

Kathy Dixon

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about plastics, zero waste, sustainable fashion, and locally sourced items recently - mostly revolving around my New Year’s Resolution and my own home and business practices.

As I get further along, I’ve been really paying attention to costs - time and energy as well as financial.  And I’ve realized that frequently I wander away from my New Year’s Resolution (and the other reduce, reuse, recycle goals that I didn’t codify by turning into an actual resolution, but still am working toward) because of one of these costs.  

I see all the pretty Instagram and Pinterest images posted around zero waste and sustainability - and then I look at the community I live in. I live in a beautiful city -  but one with exorbitant housing costs and a very sharp divide between financial classes. If I am hesitant to spend my time, energy and money for green, sustainable, or zero waste products - how much less likely that someone struggling to afford housing and basic necessities is going to opt for these products?

I don’t have any great answers. I’m learning to look past the pretty images on social media and instead look TO the past (in as much as it is viable). My grandma used a single piece of tinfoil for months, she had glass refrigerator containers with lids rather than plastic, she used her clothesline when it wasn’t snowing, and she put on a cardigan instead of turning up the thermostat. My grandma didn’t work outside the home, so I realize that I can’t do everything like she did, but I can implement some of her practices.

I’m also doing most of my shopping at thrift stores (ok this isn’t new - I’ve ALWAYS done most of my shopping at thrift stores).  The items there - even if they aren’t green, sustainable, or locally sourced, have already been produced, purchased, used - and are now ready for another round. If that’s not reducing, reusing, and recycling - I don’t know what is! And here’s a tip for free: you can frequently find those high ticket zero waste items that someone else decided they had the finances for - but not the time or energy! 

Kind of related, I’ve just read a couple of articles that I found very interesting and thought I’d just leave here in case you want to read them as well!

 Bloomberg article

Green Is Not the New Black


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