The journey to going green isn’t easy, the steps you can take are simple but, as with any journey, you will face challenges along the way. I’ve only just started out and already I’m finding difficulties I did not anticipate! Here is the 5 main challenges I have found so far:
1. Getting friends and family to be more conscious.
I’ve just had a birthday and not one present was green! I do commend my boyfriend for using recycled packaging materials and for making a handmade card but most other presents were not so conscious. It’s not easy explaining to loved ones that you intend to buy second-hand or upcycled items instead of brand new things, or using less harmful products and fairly traded items. Most people do not think twice of looking at labels to see where the item was manufactured or the materials used. Don’t even mention getting my boyfriend to use the compost bin! I have found that everyone is supportive of my personal green journey but most people can’t be bothered to implement it into their own lives just yet.
2. Finding affordable green products.
Green is expensive! Organic produce means less mass-produced and less out of season items. Ethically made often means handmade and fairtrade means at a fair price to the producers. All this means more expensive! You may praise Primark and Aldi for their cheapness, but don’t forget that cheap and cheerful for you doesn’t necessarily mean fair and ethical for those on the production line. I’m always on the hunt for cheaper green things and I’ll post on the blog as and when I find a good source of affordable green products!
3. Deciphering the good from the ‘pretending to be good’.
The green craze is really starting to take off, which is great! However, as with any bandwagon there is always someone trying to jump onto it. Be wary of shops using the organic, fairtrade or ethical labels in vain. Through my blog I’m looking into the shops who claim to be sustainable and ethical traders (see my first fashion focus post on H&M here). Not all are out to get you but just be careful not to fall for the traps laid out by the big conglomerates trying to make money out of conscious consumers.
4. Being outdone on Instagram!
You only have to type in ‘ethical’, ‘organic’ or ‘zerowaste’ into Instagram’s search function and you will be inundated with inspirational posts of beautiful women and their awe-inspiring green lifestyles! “Mary juggles a high-powered career, 6 kids and only produces a thimble of landfill waste a year.” This is a great target to aim for but don’t be too disheartened if your journey isn’t Instapicoftheday just yet. We all start out at the beginning!
5. Feeling guilty when you’re not green.
By far the worst for me is feeling guilty when I’m not being green. As I have said before this is a journey and I am looking at making the change to green wherever I can but this does mean using up old products which are not so kind to the environment, using chemicals before I have found suitable and effective cleaning replacements and before I set up my compost bin this week I felt a pang of guilt every time potato peelings or tea bags went into the kitchen bin. But never fear, with every day comes progress!
Hopefully this list will somewhat prepare you for the challenges you face. Let me know if you’ve come across any others in your own green journey!!