Tips for living with someone who isn't "Zero Waste"
First of all, I'm verrrry far away from living a Zero Waste lifestyle. However, I did substitute some disposable items for reusable ones. (I also made a video about it, which you can watch over on YouTube.) And I plan to keep eliminating as many disposable items as possible from my everyday life.
This means, I have to radically change many habits I've had for years, maybe my whole life: getting used to handkerchiefs instead of tissues, putting fruits and vegetables in my cotton produce bags instead of grabbing those flimsy plastic bags at the supermarket, etc. etc.
It ain't easy. And, at times, embarrassing.
And I won't lie to you, it is even harder if your partner/flat mate/family member doesn't live a Zero Waste lifestyle. The picture right here above is very accurate. Every day, I have to resist the old habit of just grabbing a paper towel to wipe the table or use as a napkin. Would it be easier if there just weren't any paper towels around? Sure thing.
So, here are some tips how to resist (and how not to fight with your boyfriend every day).
1. Don't announce a big and massive lifestyle change!
It will freak the other person out. And most likely it will lead to a huge fight ("you want to control my life/you want to change me/etc.") Instead, just do it! Start using tote bags, stop buying packaged food, etc. If the other person asks what this is about, you can just explain the Zero Waste thing shortly (and not preachy!) 'cause...
2. Don't preach! (Very important!!)
Don't make the other person feel like (s)he is a shitty human being because (s)he doesn't live Zero Waste. Don't try to convert anyone. (You can't.) Just lead by example. And if the other person is interested in that lifestyle, (s)he will start adopting it, too. But don't push it!
3. Don't make exceptions!
It is hard to have all these disposable product you've been using forever right there in front of you and, yet, go the extra mile and grab that mason jar instead of the plastic zip bag to store your cheese in. It is tempting to just go for the easier option. Don't do it! Especially in the beginning of you Zero Waste journey! One exception usually leads to another and another and another...
I find, the most important thing is to relax. I tend to get overly eager with things I'm very passionate about. I want to change everything up, right now, tell everyone about it, make other people be passionate about it too, etc.
I had to learn to calm down, go step by step, don't feel offended if not everyone is as passionate about something as I am and just let them be. That's important: different things work for different people. You're no one to judge. I'm no one to judge. You do you and if you partner/friend is interested in your way of doing things - if it is something that could work for her/him, too - (s)he will let you know. :)