This was supposed to be the blog that I described the strange, frustrating and comic reactions of our friends and family to our zero waste life. The blog that I lightly lamented the close relatives who took two years to realise we don’t use a bin. Or the friends who removed the plastic casing before giving our children gifts.
Then a few weeks ago, we got a life-changing medical diagnosis out of the blue after a routine test. And the world and the plastic in the ocean, and our fierce zero waste lifestyle, its implications and social awkwardness shrank away.
Obsessed by the need to clean and clear our home – to protect my family unit from the bacteria and viruses that, in the middle of a global pandemic no less, present us with such new dangers that we are weighing up new shielding measures just as the rest of the world is emerging from them – I’ll admit that I unearthed our long forgotten wheelie-bin.
For the first time in years I used it, discarding a handful of items – mostly broken glass that I still can’t take to the recycling centre thanks to lockdown and had instead been storing in corners of our home collecting dust that suddenly seems sinister to me.
I gave up. I needed an easy solution just this one time and I binned them. And you know what, it was a relief.
But last night, in our small, unremarkable garden I found myself searching for some tiny sign of permanence, of significance, of life I guess. It was there. Of course it was. In amongst the ‘wild’ patch of weeds and the aspirational rows of already half predated veggies.
There is, buried somewhere under all the polluted air and the layers of plastic and the landfill and the weedkillers and pesticides and the other toxins we use to destroy the world we inhabit and ourselves along with it, a solid foundation. Something real worth protecting because that’s really all there is when life boils down to basics.
I have always wondered how we would deal with our zero waste life when things got tough. At the first sign of challenge, would we give in and revert back to an easy, ‘normal’ life?