Oftentimes the narrative around waste reduction or other sustainability goals revolves around individuals and what we can each do. And it can feel like we're letting everyone down when we're struggling with our mental or physical health and aren't able to follow our usual sustainable habits.
I’d like to remind us all that waste reduction is a lifelong group project. We work together to make a big impact and if a large enough group of people are contributing, it allows each person to take a break when they need to.
Most of an individual’s waste comes from food packaging, so when we aren’t able to shop in bulk or cook from scratch, the garbage can fill very quickly. And I know it’s easier said than done, but we shouldn’t feel guilty about prioritizing our health over waste reduction, even if that means taking a break from our usual habits. Sometimes we have to rely on convenience in order to feed ourselves, which is not exactly an optional activity!
Try to focus on the fact that, when these daily habits are interrupted, we probably still have some longer term habits that aren’t affected by a temporary break. Maybe we’ve purchased a lot of our furniture second hand, maybe we have a compost system set up that can be easily used while we’re under the weather, or maybe a lot of our toiletries are low waste options.
Whatever we’re having to change while our physical or mental health needs attention, know that it’s not the end of the world. Our health is just as important as the health of the planet.