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Zero waste is weird even on Earth Day

When it’s your first time to ask someone to put that half kilo of swordfish into your own tupperware it feels strange. But it’s the good kind of strange.

I prepared my grocery bag as usual with an unusual addition of a tupperware in case I needed to get something from the fishmonger’s or any wet and slimy stuff that I will not put straight to my grocery bag. And get it I did. I saw this tuna-looking fish (apparently it was swordfish) and asked the girl manning the stall to put it in the tupperware. I honestly felt embarrassed to do it actually, but surprisingly this girl did not even flinch an eye or bat an eyelid at the idea. It felt alien because I never thought of doing it but the moment she put it in I felt relieved.

But that’s just one potential plastic bag! you’re being overly dramatic!

It’s true, it might just be one plastic bag that I avoided that day. But it’s one plastic that will outlive me, my kid, grandkids, great grandkids and great great grandkids.

Not such a great thing is it? especially if I keep that mindset. Definitely not the mindset of this lady in the haberdashery. I bought needles and tailor chalk the other day and kindly asked the lady to just remove the small plastic packaging she put it from. I said small because it’s 60% the size of an iPhone 5s. And what did she say? “One less plastic”. YES. One less small plastic.

This reminded me of another lady in Marks and Spencer. She was about to give me this large plastic bag when I said I’m just going to put my item in my bag. She said “But it’s free”. Ermm, no, it’s not free. I might not have paid for it personally in pounds but it definitely costs something, and it’s more important than money.

It’s weird because our lives are so plasticised that we don’t even have any second thoughts when we pick up that item in a plastic packaging in the grocery store. I’m guilty of this, and just throwing it in the general rubbish to be potentially left for years in landfills.

I’m not a tree hugger. It’s weird to hear someone say I’m ‘very environmentalist’. But why does that feel weird? why does it feel derogatory even? It’s because at this point I’m still embarrassed by my contribution to this growing environmental issue that I don’t want to consider myself one until I’ve actually done something to change that. But here’s the thing, I can’t change that. I can’t recall the countless plastics I just mindlessly throw to be left existing in the world for hundreds of years. I can’t get back the food I wasted just because I forgot about it. I can’t take back the countless times I said to someone, those who tell me to not waste my food because some people are hungry, that me eating it will not feed the hungry. Now thinking about all that I feel a lot weirder. Because I don’t know how I was able to just live like that.

Maybe I do want to be a tree hugger. Maybe I do want to be an environmentalist. But right now I’m still just an ordinary person living with plastic stuff but trying to be more conscious of my choices in the future. One weird step at a time.

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