By Tara McKenna
When I tell people about low-waste living I often get responses that the lifestyle must be hard or that it’s restrictive.
And yes, in many ways low-waste living can be hard and restrictive, if you choose to view the lifestyle through that lens. I prefer, however, the approach of ‘choose your own adventure’ – not every aspect of low-waste living is going to work for you, so pick what does and go all in on that!
And leave the rest.
Additionally, I believe low-waste living - as informed by minimalism - can be about living your best and most authentic life. It’s not always about ditching the plastic straws (although that’s important too).
Quite often we’re living on autopilot, letting society set the stage for the lives we’re living without us pausing to question the path forward.
Low-waste living (and minimalism) gives us the opportunity to question the status quo to determine if perhaps we want a different path, a life that we design and define as the best for ourselves.
Surely most people would agree that they have too much stuff (the popularity of Marie Kondo’s book would confirm that) – but how many people stop to wonder how they got there in the first place?
Mindless consumption is how we got here. It’s why we have too much clutter, too many clothes yet nothing to wear, more debt than we can keep up with, and a lifestyle that we can’t afford.
Mindful consumption is the best antidote to these problems. It's about consuming less, but better – I talk about this a lot in my book Don’t Be Trashy. And not in a way that’s depriving. Instead, it’s about choosing to consume stuff that you’ll actually use and love. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Beyond that, low-waste living is about more than consumption. Consider these questions:
What does living your best life really look like?
What hobbies and activities do you enjoy outside of work?
Do you feel driven towards a specific purpose?
With these questions in mind, reflect on how you want to spend your time and live your life on this planet - and in ways that don’t involve shopping. While this approach may not be someone’s immediate thought of what a low-waste lifestyle is about, when you dig deeper, that’s the true essence of the lifestyle.
Low-waste living isn’t about deprivation. It’s about authenticity to live your best life on your terms.
With all of this in mind, would you consume less but better and define your best life for yourself?