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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
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
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
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
toward these very environmentally
friendly purchasing choices, you may
find that many of the thought leaders in this space
can be rather uncompromising.
And the attitudes around these consumer choices
can be quite shamey, and often don't
take into account the practical lives that people lead.
There can be many items for you that,
for financial or practical reasons,
are just not possible to swap out with a better alternative.
And just like with making better budget or dietary choices, one
of the worst things we can do, psychologically speaking,
is to make the perfect the enemy of the good--
to become hypercritical of ourselves
about making all of the perfect choices,
rather than being realistic about what we can and can't do.
Part of the reason why so many people are turned away
from movements like this online is
because they sense that judgment or that unwillingness
to compromise-- that focus on everyone
proving just how perfect and pure in their choices
they can be, rather than focusing on where everyone can
realistically do better, and making sure
that the focus on sustainable changes
is much more at a systemic level than it
is at an individual level.
Because, as I mentioned up front,
the chance that any of us are going
to be able to make across-the-board perfect
environmental choices with our purchases
is basically literally zero.
There are always going to be compromises,
and there are always going to be failings.
And the more we put that pressure on ourselves
to make every choice perfectly, the more likely
we are, like with a diet, wake up one day
and say, well, screw it.
I ate a pint of ice cream last night while watching TV,
so I may as well never be on a diet again.
Being realistic about where you can make improvements
and turning the focus beyond just yourself
and your individual choices is a much better path.
And number seven is being way too focused
on consumer choices.
Yes, it's great to get to a place
where all of the items in your wardrobe or your kitchen
are sustainably made and as low carbon footprint as possible.
But the things that we buy are only
ever going to make up part of the impact we have
on the world around us, particularly
from an environmental perspective.
And so much of the online movements
around these eco-friendly life choices
can be hyper-focused on purchases because,
A, that's where people can make money off of it.
But B, that's also because it's where
we can most effectively show off at how good we're being.
Look at the shirt I'm wearing, or the bag I'm carrying,
or the bottle I'm drinking my water out of.
These are all good choices.
What we don't see are all of the choices
that we make around our purchases.
For example, are there places that you drive where you could
be taking a bicycle or walking?
How often are you ordering takeout
from restaurants that happen to have switched
to all-paper packaging, instead of just cooking at home where
you could be using no extra packaging at all?
How often are you buying more eco-friendly products online,
rather than just repurposing items you have at home?
How often are you buying new books
instead of using the library, or your Kindle?
How often are you going out of your way
to buy that super sustainably produced meat
instead of going meat-free for a few
more meals, which will always have
a much better impact overall?
And, perhaps most importantly, how often
are you turning the conversation beyond just
your own individual choices to a more
sustainable and systemic-level change?
How informed are you on the environmental records
of your local politicians?
How involved are you in local efforts
to greenify or repurpose public spaces?
How much are you working with your community
to make sure more people in it have access to things
like fresh local produce?
Buying the right items or cutting poorly-produced items
out of your life is always going to be
a great start, and the one you can most show off on Instagram.
But ultimately, our lives are comprised of many, many choices
beyond what we just buy, and our world and its environment
are comprised of many, many choices
beyond the ones we make as an individual.
Being part of a much bigger tapestry of systemic change
and focusing on every element of your life,
rather than just the ones you buy,
are a much better way to look at it.
And if you've been wanting to learn more
about the world around you in an incredibly fun way,
one of the best places to look is CuriosityStream.
CuriosityStream is a subscription streaming service
founded by the creator of the Discovery Channel,
and made for those of you who have
no shame in your nerd game, with over 2,400 documentaries
and non-fiction titles from some of the world's best filmmakers,
including exclusive originals like The Grammar of Happiness,
Conscious Capitalism, or Birth of the Internet.
And you can get unlimited access starting at just $2.99 a month,
and for TFD viewers, the first 31 days are completely free
if you sign up at curiositystream.com/tfd and use
the promo code Thefinancialdiet during the sign-up process.
So check them out at the link in our description,
and get ready to learn.
As always, thank you for watching,
and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button
and to come back every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
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7 “Eco-Friendly” Habits That Are Mostly Just Money-Wasters | The Financial Diet

9 Folder Collection
jeremy.wang published on March 30, 2020
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