In my efforts to live more sustainably and become more plastic conscious, I often feel overwhelmed when it comes to purchasing products and making decisions for my family. A single trip to the grocery store can put me into a deep dark place where I fear for all of humanity and the giant amassing of landfills and garbage that is filling up our oceans. I have ended up not being able to make any decisions, being completely frozen, and just leaving the store. According to Google, I may have Decision-Making Anxiety: This causes people to feel frozen in fear because they can't seem to land on what is right or they get downright depressed because the fear of making the wrong decision shuts them down and makes it almost impossible to make a move. The link above explains this condition and showcases ways to deal with this type of anxiety (I have successfully used these techniques). I used to think of this as Eco-Anxiety, guess I learned something.
I try not to feel bad when purchasing food at the grocery store, everyone’s got to eat. I just try to purchase things with the least amount of plastic. But every other purchase I make - I second guess myself:
My clothes (synthetic fibers eventually break down into microplastics that end up in the ocean);
My Starbucks purchase (plastic cup and or lid, says it's recyclable but do I trust that it is actually being recycled?);
My magazine subscription (do I really need the physical magazine when I can purchase the same thing digitally?).
I have a reason for each answer because honestly, I have spent way too much time thinking about this:
I purchase as many clothes as I can second-hand. That way I am keeping them out of the landfill, supporting local charities, and purchasing preshrunk blue jeans is awesome;
I have gotten my habit under somewhat control and only allow myself one drink a week;
I can’t quite figure out how to stop this one. My current reasoning is that I can recycle it, eventually. I just LOVE holding it in my hand. The computer can’t give me what holding that magazine does, but I am not renewing my subscription.
With these small decisions, I hope I can make a tiny difference. I had thought I had the entire world figured out when I purchased mesh produce bags until I realized these are just STRONGER non-recyclable plastic. The companies “tricked” me into thinking I was doing better for the environment by purchasing yet another product. Not so, once I thought about it more.
So you may wonder what the point of this blog post is, besides possibly depressing you, and I’ll get to it, I promise. I’m not the only one who gets depressed and stressed out regarding issues of purchasing better for the environment. If this resonates with you, I hope you remember that no one is perfect and we are all learning and hopefully making better decisions. We’ll all get there together.