Is Our Convenient Life Damaging the Planet?

Feb, 17, 2017

By Fredrica Syren:

One of my favorite things to do when shopping is to snoop and see what everyone else is buying. Lately itplanet has made me sad to see that most shopping carts are filled with convenience items such as processed and prepared foods, and disposable goods.

Companies and manufacturers have done an excellent job convincing us that we have no time to cook or reuse things so we all think we need to buy their cheap, disposable products; that we no longer have time to cook food from scratch, and we should be grateful there are companies manufacturing prepared foods in plastic and mixes so all we have to do it put it in the microwave or just blend it quickly and — voila!— we have dinner or a baked goodie … That everyone can be a master chef with a frozen meal. And they convince parents that they need the best diapers to keep baby safe and dry, and jarred baby food because making your own might risk your baby’s health.

The problem with this way of thinking is that all these products come with a hefty price to the planet’s health and ours. Processed food and disposable products use lots of resources to produce them: water, electricity, fuel. And the food is usually in disposable packaging, which is mostly plastic. I already have talked about the problem with plastic and its damage to nature, water, wild life and our own health.

Once my family committed to a more sustainable life, conveniences went out the door and were replaced with my cooking from scratch, therefore avoiding disposable packaging. Someone once stated that it must take so much time living my life like this. The funny thing is that cooking a meal from scratch really does not take longer than cooking from a mix or reheating a pre-packaged meal. My meals take 20-30 minutes max to prepare and cook. And reheating might take 10-20 minutes, depending on what it is. We use cloth diapers, which — yes — I have to wash. But since I already do laundry, it’s not too much extra effort. Instead of disposable plastic wrap, we use bee wax wrap that I just wash and reuse. We use cloth instead of paper towels, and a reusable diva cup instead of disposable tampons. The reward is that that we have reduced our trash to one bag a month, we know our food is healthy and contains zero preservatives and tastes great. Best of all, I know this is causing way less damage.

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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