6 Tips to Win Your Friends & Family Over to Zero Waste Living
Have you tried hanging out with your friends since you became a zero waster? Suddenly you’re the stranger in the group and they’ll rather not have you rub your eco-righteousness in their faces every time you reject a plastic spoon or insist on taking your own container to the restaurant.
Well, it’s very normal.
Your friends and family are just in that same place you used to be before you knew better. You caught up, so they’ll catch up too. All you have to do is to keep living your best zero waste life and inspire them all the way.
The tips that follow will show you just how to do that. .
Zero Waste Friendships—6 Tips to Win Your Friends & Family Over to Zero-Waste Living
1. Don’t Pressure them
It’s not pressurizing them with every chance you get. It’s not also about calling them out as inconsiderate of mother earth. Even if you live in the same house and you make all the rules and decide what comes into the house; what happens when they leave the house?
Zero waste living is a huge lifestyle change and, in most cases, people are just afraid of what that change will mean for them. Maybe they still have lots of questions. Maybe they just want encouragement or guidance. Allow your friends and loved ones to ease into zero waste living.
Either way, one long conversation or documentary won’t do. You simply can’t force it on them. If you try to, they’ll possibly revolt and you’ll lose your chance of winning them over.
2. Tell them why you’re doing it
Another indispensable tip for inspiring your family & friends to become zero waste is to tell them why you are a zero waster.
You may not know this but they’re probably wondering why you came home one day and ordered all plastic and environmentally bad products out of your life. Sharing your motivation will help them make sense of it all.
They’ll know that zero waste living is not just about product swaps and cleaning out your closet. They’ll see that you simply chose a way of life that’ll make the environment better for everyone.
Since it’s not a selfish reason, they’ll hear you out more often and possibly decide to make the transition because the truth is that other people want a cleaner and healthier environment too.
3. Try to explain your lifestyle without being judgmental
This tip here is really important because you don’t have to fight with your friends and loved ones over your lifestyle.
For instance, when you ask a bike ride instead of driving, when you refuse to go to a specific restaurant that wraps everything in plastic, when you refuse paper towels, when you refuse to go shopping for clothes you don’t need, when you refuse Christmas gifts that are not zero waste; try to be polite and attach a little/short explanatory sentence/note. Never try to make it about yourself or make them feel bad about not being zero waste or not knowing you enough to suggest only the things that work with your lifestyle.
When you’re telling them about your lifestyle, don’t forget to point them to a great zero waste store with minimalistic and eco friendly packaging like TEYGA.
If you keep at it, they’ll start learning more about zero waste living and green choices.
4. Find out why they are not doing it and help in any way you can
Don’t even forget this tip. This is where you get to ask them, ‘why not?’
Ask them why they’d rather not reuse, recycle, reduce or refuse what they don’t need. It might be that the recycling facility is far away or that they’re worried about cost or they feel their life will become all about waste obsession.
From their answers, you’ll know how to help them and what suggestions you should offer them. Offering to do some of the chores like taking soda cans to the recycling facility will go a long way.
5. Lead the way and they’ll follow
Yes, lead the way. Your family wants to see how long and how well you can live zero waste. They want to see how it works and what benefits you derive from your new lifestyle.
6. Always keep them in the loop by sharing
Last but not least, keep your family in the loop. Share your experiences— the things you’ve learned along the way, the benefits you’re deriving.
Tell them about the new zero waste restaurant or gift shop you just discovered. Tell them about the project you just volunteered for. Share zero waste innovations with them—buy them gifts, suggest swaps, games, backpacking, etc.
Don’t cut yourself out. Make your family and friends see that there’s a zero waste family/friendship way too.