When you have a goal, you don’t necessarily need a flawless plan, nor to read 10 books of research. Often, you just need to get going. You want to get fitter? Then get doing some exercise, any kind, today - and don’t follow it up with a 14” pizza. You want to want to sort your finances? Just spend the 20 minutes to find an account with a good rate and apply. If you want a cleaner room, just do 5 minutes. 5 minutes can make a big difference in a lot of rooms.
Going Zero Waste is a big goal and it’s a counter-cultural one to boot, with almost anything we do producing waste of some kind. So where do you even start?
Somewhere. You start somewhere.
I know. That might sound like a non-answer, it might be faux-zen koan wisdom, or it might be valuable. If you have 100 habits or needs that produce waste, why not just pick one, the very next one you can do and change it? It’s almost so trivial as to be condescending, but so big that it has to be said: so many things are never finished because they were never started. We get intimidated by the whole marathon so instead, just run the first mile. You’ll get to the next one soon enough. That’s why often, anywhere is a good place to start.
Another quote, apparently from General Creighton Adams is also useful here:
Break your big goals up into smaller, achievable bits.
So, for example, with Zero waste, our ‘start anywhere’ was at a zero waste shop, the kilner heaven that is The Clean Kilo in Birmingham. We got our toothpaste, floss and mouthwash from there.
And then we took our next step in Zero Waste living: Tea & Coffee.
Brits in ‘Tea Dependence’ Shocker, full story p5.
Why tea and coffee? Well, first, we drink a lot of it. Naturally. Second, most commercially available, fair trade teabags still contain plastic, and plastic is what we’re trying to avoid. A lot of coffee comes in vacuum-sealed plastic bags too. So obviously we wanted to avoid that.
Thankfully, many shops, independent and mainstream, sell loose leaf tea and will grind your coffee for you. Just take along your own jars and you have zero waste tea. This was the simplest thing for us, zero effort to go zero waste. We head to the shop regularly, but not every day - it does make us a bit more mindful of how much tea and coffee we use, but that’s been valuable too. We’re lucky to live within walking distance of a place that does this - obviously it’s not as convenient as bulk-buying 500 tea bags at a time (which is what we used to do…) so it isn’t the cheaper option either, but we’ve found that going that bit out of our way to do something for the planet feels like a fair trade. Everyone’s got their own mileage, though, obviously.
And of course, being us, we also slyly diverted some of our tea towards making Lapsang Souchong syrup for Old Fashioneds, Earl Grey Bitters and Earl Grey Liqueur. Leaves very well spent, in our opinion.
The easiest, most achievable thing for you might be completely different, but if you want to start on a goal, today is a great day to do that first thing.
Do you have any goals you want to work towards? What are you going to start doing today?