I have never claimed, nor will I ever claim, to be perfect. The Eco Society is a place where I share our journey to try and live more sustainably. It is a journey of a lifetime, one that will evolve and change as we change - there will be times we don’t always live up to our values, but that is part of the journey, and quite frankly, life.
It was recently brought to my attention by a follower that the image below, which I shared on my Instagram story, was not eco-friendly. The photo was taken at my friend’s house, where we had nibbles before going to the community house for our pottery workshop.
My first reaction was yes, you’re one hundred percent right, there is plastic waste in this image! Which I am more than happy to own up to that, as it’s part of my life, and it shows that it’s not always possible (or easy) to go plastic free. As it turned out, however, the issue wasn’t really about the plastic, but rather about the meat and cheese, I was about to eat. Without going into detail, it was implied that I couldn’t be considered ‘eco’ when I was eating meat and dairy products.
But this got me thinking, is there only one way to be considered eco-friendly or sustainable? Do you have to cut out all “non-eco” products and lifestyle choices to really make a difference?
Now, in one of our more recent blog posts, I talked about “Why we choose to eat less meat in our journey to live more sustainably“. I understand where this person was coming from - meat and dairy arent good for our planet, which is one of the reasons why we have started to make changes to reduce the amount of meat we eat. We still have a way to go, but it's a start.
As I’ve stated multiple times, for me this is a journey of discovery and learning. Every day, through research or interactions with other people, I learn more about how I can make a positive impact on the planet without having to give up all the things I love.
One thing that I loved about the photo above, which I should maybe have shared, is that even though there is plastic waste, my friends had made a conscious effort to use food already in their fridges and pantries, and made sure that they recycled what they could, including the soft plastics. This is the kind of thinking and actions that I hope to inspire through sharing my journey.
Part of my ethos is to not force my values on others. Everyone has different drivers for why they do what they do, for what is important to them. For me, plastic waste is a big issue. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about other things, just that I might focus more on this aspect of my life. While I will remind my friends and family to try and reduce their plastic waste, I accept that it’s not always possible or practical, and that is okay. In fact, there are times where you will see me with plastic for this very reason - I still share this moment as it is real and part of my journey.
Sometimes we are just too tired, lazy and unorganised (and often hungry) so we fail and get something in packaging, which often means plastic. Sometimes we are with friends where we end up making decisions that don’t always align with our sustainability values. If we are with a group of friends and get takeaways, it will most likely be in plastic containers. Sometimes this is just unavoidable, especially in big groups – we always try to reuse them, however, and a friend even recently sent me a photo of them re-using our plastic takeaway containers! When in a situation like this, you can to small things to reduce waste like asking for no cutlery, getting it in a cardboard box rather than a plastic bag or not getting a drink to avoid plastic straws and a plastic lined cup.
Even though I talk about this with my friends I'm not going to force this on them. However, I will tell them that every little thing they do can make a big difference, especially when it inspires others to make a change. Sometimes we eat vegan meals, sometimes we eat vegetarian and other times we have meat. In all honesty, I sometimes forget that I am trying to eat less meat and dairy because this is new to me, and something I am still working on.
The journey to become more sustainable is a big one, there are so many aspects of it, and everyone has different perceptions and ideas of what this means, which I respect. I'm showing my journey and all aspects of it, “good and bad”. I'm not here to judge people's choices, but rather to hopefully inspire people to make a change for the positive.
Something that is very important to me is that I don’t ever want my family, friends or followers to feel bad about their choices. I show life as it is, so others can see that we are not perfect, nor do we have to be perfect in order to make a difference.