Valérie Leloup | November 2016


Adopting zero waste shopping habits is one aspect of the zero waste lifestyle, but there’s so much more to it!

When you become highly waste-aware, you start questioning the very activities that produce waste. You ask yourself: do I really need yet another pair of shoes? Does it fulfill a fundamental need of mine? Will it make me happier? Shoes are beautiful, and there is no doubt that buying a new pair gives me a feeling of intense short-term satisfaction. But that’s about it. Owning this pair doesn’t make me happier, nor does it make me less happy for that matter. It is just completely irrelevant to my happiness. So why did I buy it?

That’s the problem with mass consumerism. It makes us believe that stuff is the key to happiness, when in fact, what makes us thrive are life experiences.

On my journey towards a zero waste lifestyle, I have realized that there are few material goods that I truly need. I don’t need a big house and garden that will take me hours to maintain. I don’t need a walk-in closet of clothes. I don’t need complicated kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets. But I do need human interactions and discoveries.

This year, I’m spending Christmas with my sister and her family in London, England. I have two nieces and one nephew and there will be no presents for them. Well… not the usual stuff.

My eldest niece loves theatre, so I’m going to watch a play with her. My nephew is interested in politics, so I’m going to do something political with him – I’m sure we can find some anti-Brexit march to join somewhere! My youngest niece is rambunctious, so we’ll get outside and do something physical. Spending time outside the house doing something they enjoy will be my Christmas present to them. I’m curious to see if they will like it, or if they will miss the usual plastic toy.

Living a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean consuming less. It means consuming differently, and “collecting moments, not things”.  

Wishing you a happy (maybe zero waste?) holiday season,