We live in a world of piles of waste. In the words of Pope Francis ““The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”
In order to combat the huge piles of waste that we create just through our normal way of life – we do need a ‘war on waste’, we actually have the fight the system. We have to look for ways to simplify our lives.
All great spirituality is about letting go. Francis of Assisi profoundly understood that. He let go of his life in the upper class and joyfully lived in solidarity with those at the bottom, the sick and the poor. But you and I have grown up with a capitalist worldview, not a Franciscan worldview. That doesn’t make us bad or entirely wrong. But it has blinded our spiritual seeing. We tend to think that more is naturally better. Spiritual wisdom reveals that less is more. Jesus taught this, and the holy ones live it.
If something is working, you don’t need another one or a higher one or a better one—which is what a consumer culture builds on. If something is already making you happy, you don’t need more of it. The fact that we need more and more and better and better of almost everything tells me that the commodity culture isn’t working. (Richard Rohr)
Don’t just buy and buy and then recycle. The first step is REDUCE
here are a few tips:
1.. Never buy bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle and if necessary get a filter for your tap.
- Buy your honey, pickled veggies, syrup, nut butters, and other wet foods in jars you can reuse or return to the merchant.
- Buy a foldable shopping bag so you can keep it in your handbag or car and never forget it.
- Buy from farmers markets as much as possible and buy in bulk where possible.)
5.Ditch the processed, packaged food altogether. Make your own soup, yogurt, salad dressing, ice-cream and other foods that come in cardboard, aluminum, and plastic packages. Batch cook on weekends with friends to make it easier. You’ll save a ton of money, and eat much, much healthier this way too.
- When you eat out, politely ask your server to take away any paper or plastic napkins, placemats, straws, cups and single-serving containers, if you can. Be sure to explain why and leave a nice tip for their trouble!
- Don’t buy anything that comes in wasteful single-serving packages, like sweets, gum, granola bars,, etc.
8.. Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and read them online or at the library.
- Do your best to stop your junk mail.
- Use both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it or making it into upcycled crafts.
- Use old clothes for rags for cleaning around the house, instead of paper towels.
- Don’t use throwaway plastic razors and blade cartridges. Consider an electric razor or waxing with cloth if you are a woman, or using an electric razor or a straight razor if you are a man.
- Don’t buy anything disposable. Look for durable goods instead or borrow what you need. Paying a little more up front often means things will last much longer for you.
14.. Avoid buying anything in packaging (and count the money you save because that means pretty much buying nothing unless it’s second hand). You can also borrow things like tools, strollers and gardening equipment.
- List items you no longer need on gumtree or ebay.
- Make a game with your housemates or children to see just how little trash you can create, and how small you can make your garbage bag every week. Reducing our waste footprint can be a lot of fun!