Thank you, Emily Gilmore.
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
My previous post was all about how grocery shopping works for me, but I left out the key factor, patience. Obviously this is an unorthodox way to buy groceries, and many of the employees have never seen it before. Having patience and being kind and understanding (which should always be a given, but for many people is not) makes this process run smoothly.
Normally I do not grocery shop on the weekend, but decided to tonight on a whim. Super thrilling Saturday night, I know. There was a new worker at the meat counter who had never sold package-free meat before. I waited until he helped the other people in line, and then explained how it worked. He was understanding and helpful, and is now prepared to do it in the future. In the end, the wait was beneficial, because the guy in line behind me was interested in bringing his own containers in the future. He is one of many people who have stopped me in a store to talk about their interest in using their own containers while shopping. How exciting to share this with others!
Running into a new cashier may also add a few minutes to your usual checkout time. By being patient and giving them time to learn how to subtract tare weight, they will understand their part of the process and be eager to help you in the future. If it is your first time shopping with your own containers, check in with a manager or cashier prior to shopping to make sure it’s permitted there. People want to be helpful and they want you to be happy so you continue to shop there in the future.
Let’s move on to our next area of shopping, clothing. When I landed my first job 5 years ago, I adopted a clothes shopping addiction. I always felt the need to add new things to my closet (things I NEEDED, of course). My check might as well have been direct deposited to Gap. Fast-fashion and their constant release of new clothing convinced me I needed to be shopping every weekend so I didn’t miss any deals.
Speaking of deals, any coupon lovers out there? Never before could I resist a coupon. My parents raised me to shop sales and not pay full price for anything, which is wonderful.
Unfortunately for me, that meant anytime I had a coupon, I felt the need to take advantage of it while I could. Whether I needed anything or not, I did not want to miss out on the discount. This lead me on a path of over-consumption.
Overtime, I realized that every time I walked into my closet, I felt like I had nothing to wear. What a stupid problem! Anyone with me here? This ridiculous feeling would inspire me to go shopping again (especially if I had a coupon burning a hole in my pocket), and it was a never ending cycle...until Gilmore Girls, “A Year in The Life” came to Netflix. Emily Gilmore inspired me to read the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and I became obsessed with the idea of only having possessions that bring me joy.
*Reads ‘Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ once and donates half of her possessions*
Donating any unwanted belongings to charity has always been my go-to, and let me tell you, my original shopping addiction was enough to fill the store, I’m sure. It feels so good to give things I no longer need to someone who could use them more.
But what about those items that are worn out and will no longer benefit anyone else? Like, I’m sorry, but…underwear with holes? Okay, no, socks. Socks with holes. If you are like me, you deemed them unusable and tossed them in the trash. One-way ticket to the landfill. Turns out, most materials are actually recyclable, even the weird holy, stained, ripped articles of clothing.
Steps I have taken to go from shopaholic to zero-waste:
1. Quit supporting the fast-fashion industry, with countless seasons each year. I keep an ongoing list of exactly what I need in my closet or home and shop secondhand to fulfill those needs. If anything is not accessible secondhand, I will make choices to purchase items made with materials that are sustainable, compostable, etc.
2. Resist coupons. Saving money to buy something you do not need is not doing you any good.
3. Donate items in good condition that are no longer being used. Give your unwanted items a chance at a second life!
4. Place all “trash-worthy” clothing in material recycling. This step is so important for our environment.
Because I knew nothing about textile recycling prior to going zero-waste, many of you may be in the same position. Here are a couple helpful resources I came across:
The following article from the Kansas City Star discusses why textile recycling is important and helps connect you with donation sites near you:
If you don’t already have a donation drop off site that accepts textiles, check out Planet Aid.
They collect and recycle used textiles to “protect the environment and support sustainable development in impoverished communities around the world.”
Click the link below to find a bin near you. If they are unavailable in your location, there are other options for you. Let me know if you need help researching available drop-offs. Do not give up!