A Zero Waste Mindset

Sometimes, life’s problems encroach on you like a pack of angry dogs, but you never have enough time, money, or energy to fight back. Instead, you subdue them with juicy handfuls of dollar bills. You order another time-saving appliance, you download another finance app, and you procure an expensive jar of powdered superfood.

But just as subduing a pack of dogs with treats will attract more dogs, subduing your problems with money will likely create more problems. Each new thing in your life is another thing to lose, to break, to feel guilty about, and to inhabit some part of your limited mental capacity.

Problems are opportunities to simplify, and more often than not, throwing money at them will only complicate. You simplify by saying no, but “no” is a muscle. Effective sorting through the wants, the needs, and the clutter takes practice.

In our consumer culture, you get many chances to practice. Businesses and individuals market “solutions” to problems that we don’t even have yet. But every purposeless thing you own becomes physical and mental clutter.

The zero-waste niche sells alternatives to commonly wasteful items. Many of these alternatives- like reusable coffee cups and titanium sporks- really are solutions. But even zero-waste products with good intentions can become physical and mental clutter if you don’t really need them.

A zero-waste mindset is that of knowing what you want and need, and saying no to everything else. But adopting zero-waste mindset is about as easy as adopting a zero-waste lifestyle- it’s not easy. It takes slow, deliberate steps and critical thinking. With practice and perseverance though, your life will be simpler, your mind will be freer, and your problems will back off.

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