A few thoughts ::
1. The journey toward zero-waste (and a lot of other compassionate, values-driven living) is rocky. There is a lot of choice...but few perfect choices. If there was a perfect zero-waste shampoo option for everyone, all zero-wasters would be using it...and it would be so much easier to convert everyone else. As it stands, some use water only + look like disney princesses. (Others would look like they'd just stepped out of the rain.) Some are happy to mail bottles back + forth over the miles as their "waste-free" alternative. Some have access to bulk shampoo + some purchase the whole bulk jug. All are reducing waste + have found what works for them...for now.
2. Our choices are not one-size-fits-all, because our priorities are not one-size-fits-all...though we find our common ground in the desire to decrease our waste production. Our priorities may be similar overall, but their order may shift according (partially) to how we came to zero-waste in the first place. Some of us found our ways to zero-waste through the DIY community + love using five products to concoct one product. Some of us stumbled upon zero-waste through the frugal community + like the idea of spending less by creating buying groups + splitting real bulk quantities periodically. Some crossed paths with zero-wasters via the desire to remove unwanted chemicals from the things they use. Some found it via minimalism or an affinity to organization or a love of the outdoors or travel or the desire to exist outside the influence of big corporations or the objective of greening up a company's image or a corporate design perspective or catching the next market wave or concern about climate change or making one's own clothing or trend hopping or personal aesthetics or growing food, herbs or plant-based dyes. What's most important to each individual might be understandably, slightly different. It's amazingly exciting thing to think about the fact that all of these interests can come together under the umbrella of a desire to move toward zero-waste!
3. Looks can be deceiving. There are those who post pictures of items they use, but admit later that they only chose to include the aesthetically pleasing items. There are those who dump out all of their half-used, non-zero-waste items in one fell swoop + stock up on all the latest recommended zero-waste swag. Do all of these zero-wasters stick with their switches forever? Do they never find a caveat or that performance is less than optimal?
When I started writing in this space, I decided that I was going to be honest about the journey...our entirely imperfect journey...the mess, the struggle + the stumbles. I have a family + I want my choices to have an impact on their thinking as well as on the earth. If I make their lives an exercise in suffering, I would not blame my girls for wanting to get as far away from the zero-waste movement as they could in the future. As it is, they know the reasoning + they also know that there is grace in the big picture.
Sometimes we learn things as we go along...and we still have to make choices. A product I use has synthetic fragrance in it, but an alternative gives me a choice between natural juniper or lavender fragrance...to both of which I'm allergic. My soap contains fair-trade palm oil + some of the profits go to reforestation. The alternative soap is half the size, melts quickly, costs three times as much, and needs to be mailed to me in packaging. I will keep searching for better alternatives, but in the meantime choices must be made.
One of my priorities is to make as little waste as possible. One of my priorities is clean hair. One of my priorities is living within our means. We balance many priorities at once...like spending more on organic produce + spending more on a good cello teacher. I personally can't spend more on both of these while also spending more on clothing with traceable origins + more on...everything else too.
This space is about choices + compassion + encouragement + options + gratitude + simplicity. I want my choices to come ultimately from a place of joy...not guilt. I want that for those who visit this space as well.
Let's keep learning. Let's do the best we can. Let's encourage one another...cheer each other on. Each piece of trash kept out of a landfill is a victory.