Bamboo toothbrushes in ceramic pots, the sun coming in through the window and onto the plants. Clothing in earth tones with natural fibres, simplistic wardrobes. No sideboard full of products, only the essentials for a simple life. Zero-waste, plastic-free, reduce, reuse, recycle. This is the romanticism of sustainability. That thing to strive for, the ultimate way to say, here we are, doing our best for the planet.
Surely, then, there’s no way that sustainability, or sustainable choices, can ever be a negative thing. You can’t go wrong with sustainability, can you?
If you’ve been practising sustainability for some time then you’ve likely had a bamboo toothbrush in your collection at some point. Bamboo toothbrushes and natural toothpastes are more accessible, and even more affordable, than ever. There’s one problem: they’re not always as sustainable as we’d like them to be. The majority of bamboo for toothbrushes is imported and transported from far across the world, often sourced from China, meaning that the carbon footprint of a bamboo product may often be less sustainable than we’d hope. Plus, while it has a higher chance of biodegrading than plastic ever does, if not disposed of correctly it can take over ten years to biodegrade.
Sustainable products being transported for many miles is a consistent problem, as is sustainable consumerism. Sounds like a contradictory phrase, because it is. But big ‘sustainable’ brands are finding new ways to encourage us to buy more of their products, ultimately leading to an outcome which isn’t as sustainable as we would hope. We have to remain aware of our purchases, and conscious of our choices, in order to avoid the inevitable lure of marketing.
Then there’s the price and convenience. Sustainable products often come at a price much higher than their non-sustainable alternatives. This leaves the sustainable option as inaccessible to many people, and as a last-thought even for those with a steady income and financial stability. It can be harder to choose the sustainable option, so many people simply don’t
Despite all of this, we should consider sustainable options. Where possible, we can find the resources to research sustainable choices, and we should choose them.
Do you find that making sustainable choices is difficult? How have you found ways around this?
Featured image: Nacho Fernandez via Unsplash.