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  • 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:00,000 Hey, guys.

  • It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet,

  • and this week's video is brought to you by Curiosity Stream.

  • And this week, I wanted to talk to you guys about a phenomenon

  • that we've all probably come into contact

  • with on our social media feeds and in real life, which

  • feels like one of those things we should all be doing,

  • but often is much more complicated

  • than the simple narratives would have us believe.

  • And that is zero-waste and/or eco-friendly Products

  • We've all grown up having what we can refer to as the three

  • R's drilled into our heads--

  • reduce, reuse, and recycle.

  • But we know now that recycling itself

  • is an insufficient solution to the environmental problems

  • that we face.

  • And more importantly, the action that must be taken cannot be

  • left up to individual consumers.

  • Many of the changes that we have to make

  • have to be systemic changes--

  • changes that are imposed on the corporations which

  • are the leading drivers of carbon emissions,

  • for example, or on governments which

  • can compel all of its citizens to comply,

  • rather than requiring each individual

  • to make the choice for themselves, not only because

  • on the individual level, it can often

  • be hard to know exactly what the best choices we can make

  • are, but especially because, depending

  • on your socioeconomic bracket, making the eco-friendly choices

  • can often be very difficult or prohibitively expensive.

  • For example, if you are one of the millions of Americans

  • who lives in a food desert, where

  • you have insufficient access to things

  • like fresh produce and comprehensive supermarkets,

  • buying higher-quality local foods

  • is going to be difficult, if not impossible, for you.

  • Or, making sustainably produced clothing item choices,

  • which are often many, many times the price of fast fashion,

  • is just financially not possible.

  • In fact, when it comes to individual choices

  • versus corporate responsibility, here's

  • a pretty jarring statistic.

  • Just 100 companies are responsible for 71F00:01:53,490 --> 00:01:54,809 of global emissions.

  • And when we think in terms of scale

  • about choices that are easier to make, rather

  • than convincing the billions of people on the planet

  • to make different choices, we could focus our attention

  • on those companies and their practices.

  • But because a lot of the systemic changes that

  • need to be made for us all to move toward a more

  • environmentally sustainable future

  • can feel overwhelming, many times,

  • the individual consumer choices can become incredibly popular.

  • In fact, in many ways, this zero-waste eco-friendly trend

  • has become kind of a brand unto itself,

  • exploding in popularity on social media

  • and creating entire mini-subgenres of consumerism.

  • And while everyone being more conscious of their carbon

  • footprint and reducing the consumption of things

  • they don't need is undeniably a good thing,

  • it's a practice that, in addition

  • to being somewhat privileged-- as I've outlined--

  • and an insufficient solution on a global scale,

  • it's also inevitably going to be a somewhat hypocritical

  • lifestyle, as it's impossible for most modern people

  • to completely escape from making choices that

  • aren't exactly carbon-friendly.

  • In fact, some of these zero-waste

  • slash eco-friendly products and trends

  • can be kind of problematic.

  • And more importantly, putting such a hyper-focus

  • on individualist consumer choices--

  • and in some cases, even making it into a personal aesthetic--

  • lets off the hook the major corporations and governments,

  • which are hugely responsible in driving these climate issues.

  • And while we would never advocate

  • to be apathetic about these choices,

  • or say that because some of these eco-friendly items

  • and choices are a little bit insufficient or problematic,

  • that the entire movement is without merit,

  • it's important to remember that things which

  • can look on the surface like a meaningful change

  • are often more about aesthetics or, quite

  • frankly, feeling good, rather than actually doing

  • something meaningful.

  • Although they may have started with the best of intentions,

  • these seven eco-friendly habits are often

  • much more a waste of money.

  • Number one is all-out plastic phobia.

  • Now, in many zero-waste circles, the concept

  • of zero waste and zero plastic are conflated.

  • The truth is that, while plastic containers are not

  • always the desirable options when

  • compared to things like glass or aluminum containers, many of us

  • already have quite a lot of plastic Tupperware,

  • or tend to get them when we order things like takeout food.

  • And encouraging someone to get rid of all their plastic

  • only to replace those items with more eco-friendly options

  • is not only financially not a great move for many people.

  • It requires getting rid of what you already have.

  • Many of us have kept the same Tupperware items for years

  • and, occasionally, even generations on end.

  • And as I mentioned, often these reusable plastic containers

  • come with food that we happen to have already ordered.

  • They may even come from items that you buy in the store.

  • Focusing on being diligent about reusing your plastic items,

  • and not seeking out more of them when possible,

  • is a much better solution than avoiding plastic at all costs

  • and getting rid of all the plastic that you have.

  • Yes, bringing a Mason jar salad to work

  • every day is a lot more aesthetically appealing

  • than a Tupperware salad, but ultimately, they

  • serve the same function.

  • And while some of your plastic items you

  • may want to avoid putting in the microwave, for example,

  • they're perfectly acceptable storage units

  • for food on a day-to-day basis.

  • Ultimately, if you are looking to be

  • smart about the kind of storage you're

  • using, making the most of what you have

  • as a first step is a much better move than going out

  • and replacing it with what may be ultimately better items

  • for the environment.

  • You're much better just washing out

  • that old jar of peanut butter and using it for storage

  • than going out to buy a brand new, beautiful set of Mason

  • jars.

  • Number two is needing a one-to-one replacement

  • for everything.

  • Often, the bloggers and websites and influencers

  • who are teaching you how to create a more sustainable,

  • eco-friendly slash zero-waste lifestyle

  • will offer lengthy lists of all the items in your life

  • which should be replaced with much more sustainably produced

  • and reusable items.

  • But in many cases, you're much better

  • off using one item for several purposes

  • than specifically going out and buying

  • a more eco-approved replacement for the item you're

  • getting rid of.

  • For example, you don't need to be replacing plastic forks

  • and knives with a set of bamboo cutlery

  • you bring to the office every day.

  • You can just bring silverware from home.

  • You don't need to have a different thermos

  • or jar for your water, coffee, tea, smoothie,

  • et cetera every day.

  • You can use one transportable cup for everything.

  • You don't have to go out and buy a set of cloth reusable

  • napkins.

  • You can bring cloth napkins or small kitchen towels from home.

  • The desire to go out and buy these beautifully designed,

  • aesthetically pleasing, and eco-friendly items

  • to replace all of the different items

  • in your life that may not have been ideally produced

  • is understandable.

  • Much ink has been spilled on the popularity of things

  • like those beautiful faux-bamboo swell bottles, for example.

  • But if you still have that Nalgene from college

  • that you used to drink liquor out of,

  • that thing is completely fine.

  • And that brings me to point number three, which

  • is buying all of your eco-friendly products online.

  • Now, it's very easy if you're following

  • some of these offer mentioned zero-waste bloggers

  • or influencers or Instagrammers to want

  • to order the things that they're recommending.

  • But researchers at MIT found that online shopping in general

  • generates about five times as much CO2 emissions on packaging

  • as brick-and-mortar shopping.

  • And delivery even on standard online shopping

  • produces about 0.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions-- twice as much

  • for rush delivery.

  • Now, obviously, depending on where you live,

  • sometimes buying online is going to be your only option

  • for certain products.

  • But the popularity of the digital zero-waste community

  • can sometimes be kind of paradoxical,

  • because the items that they're promoting for you to buy

  • through their blog or website or YouTube channel

  • are often going to have a much larger carbon footprint,

  • simply because you're buying those items online.

  • Taking the time to actually go to a brick-and-mortar store

  • to pick up items that you may have been looking at online

  • may a less convenient choice for you personally,

  • but ultimately, if the goal is to reduce your carbon

  • footprint, is going to be the better one. m it gives you

  • the opportunity to connect with local artisans and shop owners

  • rather than buying all of your stuff from some nameless brand

  • online.

  • Number four is buying the same stuff you used to, just

  • with better packaging.

  • It can't be ignored that many companies understand

  • that presenting themselves as more

  • friendly to the environment is a good marketing tactic.

  • And for these producers of consumer products,

  • getting you to still buy the product,

  • but feel better about it because the packaging is less

  • damaging for the environment, is a much, much better goal

  • than you realizing that that may be an item that you don't need.

  • Rather than focusing on just continuing

  • to buy the exact same items, but reducing their packaging

  • impact, a better question to ask yourself

  • would be how to reduce the overall number of items.

  • For example, switching to corn starch--

  • which you already have in your kitchen--

  • over dry shampoo, using your bottle of conditioner

  • to shave your legs, paring you a variety of cleaning products

  • down to a few all-purpose cleaners,

  • repurposing old T-shirts and socks for cleaning rags,

  • or challenging yourself to see how

  • many of your day-to-day makeup items you can combine or get

  • rid of.

  • If you can challenge yourself to more radically pare down

  • the number of items you're purchasing,

  • rather than focusing on each of these many, many items being

  • packaged in the smartest way, you

  • won't just be making a better overall choice

  • for the environment.

  • You'll be saving yourself a lot of unnecessary spending.

  • And similarly, number five is being overly focused

  • on packaging.

  • Ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing

  • all play huge roles in the items that we're buying.

  • And while the packaging is the easiest place

  • for the brands selling these products to market

  • the difference, the packaging alone

  • does not tell the whole story.

  • For example, is it better to buy a plant-based mayonnaise

  • in a glass jar if that mayonnaise was

  • made with palm oil?

  • What about buying bulk agave or almonds?

  • Now, you'll never be 100% perfect in trying

  • to focus on the most environmentally

  • friendly purchases.

  • But it's important to remember that there's

  • so much to consider beyond just the packaging alone.

  • A product that has a much bigger negative impact

  • on the environment as a product, or has

  • way worse production, sourcing, or manufacturing standards,

  • should be weighed justice heavily

  • as having glass or paper versus plastic packaging,

  • even if they make the packaging look so cute.

  • Number six is being unwilling to compromise.

  • Now, if you've followed a lot of the online movements

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