I see you. You feel the stress of the garbage in our oceans, the broken system we call recycling and the complexity of how to best dispose of the waste we have in our lives. You are cutting back where you can and doing your best with what you have, but you always feel like it isn't enough. The eco-anxiety is real. There is shame and guilt around what you take to the curb every week, but herein lies the problem: shame and guilt lead to feeling overwhelmed and the overwhelm leads to helplessness and helplessness leads to very little action. I know this because I have been stuck there before.
It's time to put a stop to the shame and guilt.
You need to know that the entire system is broken. Somewhere we took a left turn when we should have taken a right. This proclamation isn't to add to the overwhelm, it's to let you know that you are not to blame. You are one person operating in a system that doesn't offer environmentally responsible choices. Our world is not set up to reduce your packaging waste or your carbon emissions for that matter. In fact, plastic offerings and consumption just keep growing. None of this is your fault.
What package-free, reusable options do your local grocery stores offer? I bet, not a lot. Can you get the pasta you like, the cereal you like, the cleaning supplies you like without packaging? It's doubtful. We are not yet living in a reusable economy.
Some of you may be lucky enough to live near a zero waste store and may have the time to shop there. We commend you for all the packaging you are keeping out of our broken systems, and yet we know you too are challenged to keep your packaging under control.
Thank you to each and every one of you who are doing something, anything, to reduce your waste. Every package not sent to the landfill or recycling depot is one less package our world, our children, will have to deal with later. But now it is up to the innovators, the educators, the politicians, and the large companies to create better solutions for you. It's time they get to work.
My hope is that you can continue on your personal path of waste reduction and let go of the guilt. Do what you can when you can and hold those in positions of power accountable to make systemic change happen.
At Jarr, we believe that we can do this work together, without shame, blame or guilt so that we can get unstuck, take action, and change our broken systems for good.
Emily Sproule is the founder of Jarr, a mom of two young school age children and an environmentalist doing the best she can with the time she has. Emily lives in East Vancouver, is passionate about business as a force for change and is excited to bring package-free grocery delivery to the city she lives in.