As we’ve discussed numerous times here, I have been doing my zero waste project pretty much undetected by the majority of people I know in real life. Or even by strangers. I’m more of a lead by example kind of girl than a shove-it-down-your-throat type, and I’m just not comfortable talking about it in a general sort of way. (Ironic, since this is my 67th post on the subject.)
Unless someone asks me about it. Then just try to shut me up.
But I’ve been working at being more open about it. I’ve initiated a conversation about going zero waste with coworker (well, it’s not like he’s never seen my reusable containers and cloth napkins), I met a friend’s boyfriend in the bulk aisle and told him I was a zero waster, and … um, okay, just those two times.
I’m trying. Owning the title is a big part of being successful — that’s what I discovered when I started my minimalist journey. It’s a lesson that spills over into this area of my life, too.
That’s a long intro for a short story:
This weekend, I was in the bulk aisle, filling my jars and minding my own business when an older lady spied what I was doing. That’s a really good idea, she said, and I said, oh, yeah, it’s much easier too when I get home — I just have to put it away. She nodded (grabbing another plastic bag) and said, I have a friend who does that, but I’ve never SEEN her do it. That’s interesting.
So here’s the part where I could just nod and walk away, but instead I said, well, I’m trying to reduce my trash, so being able to use jars really helps with that, and she was like, YES, that’s what my friend is doing! I’ve just never made the connection.
Then she was like, you should put something in the paper about that, which took me by surprise at first (I’m sure she didn’t know I actually work for our newspaper) but then I realized she meant a letter to the editor or a press release.
So I was just like, well, I could, I guess, and she started saying things I couldn’t hear, so I asked her to clarify (my hearing is terrible, I really should not have blasted New Kids on the Block on my walkman in 1988. You were right, Mom!), but she just waved me off. No, she said, I’m just taking to myself. You’ve made a connection for me. I’m getting it now.
And I was like, oh. Awesome!
So that made me happy. Maybe we’ve got someone else on board now.
It seems like a little thing, I’m sure, but I was proud of myself, for continuing to talk and helping this nice lady make the connection between what her friend has been saying, and what she’s been actually doing.
(And what would I write about the topic for the newspaper? She did make me think about that. Imagine the irony of writing about a minimalist, zero waste lifestyle in, say, a home and garden tab … where the emphasis is getting people to buy stuff. I’m not sure how that would go down at a staff meeting, to be honest.)
How do you initiate zero waste conversations? Or do you take a similar backdoor approach? Do your friends and family know what you’re doing … or are you trying to let it sink in through osmosis?
Next up: Start thinking about your zero waste holiday gift plans now, because I’m going to ask that you share them with the group on Friday. 🙂