Gratitude – An Unexpected Benefit of Zero Waste

It is normal to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any significant life decision before committing one way or another. For me, the potential positives of Zero Waste far outweighed the potential negatives.

But the greatest outcome for me has been an unexpected one — gratitude.

I did not expect that the act of learning to live simply would have such an impact on the level of gratitude I experienced.

Gratitude for life, gratitude for nature, gratitude for finding my purpose and the unexpected places this discovery has led me. Gratitude for the opportunity to stay at home with my kids, gratitude for being able to enjoy the simple things I no longer buy, such as nachos when dining out or bakeries that put eclairs and chocolate cake into my containers.

Gratitude was nowhere on my radar when deciding to go Zero Waste. My motivations were simple: the environment, my children and my finances. Looking back now it seems obvious that making the conscious decision to live with less would naturally boost my level of gratitude.

You see it’s not about the nachos – not really. It’s about is the realization that we live in an on-demand society that places too much emphasis on things instead of people and experiences. The notion that we can “have what we want, when we want it” permits us to rush — we are not savoring moments, food or people as we should.

Zero Waste has taught me to evaluate my options and make choices based on my values. For the first time in my life, my values guide my decisions. On a smaller scale, Zero Waste has given me an appreciation for the simpler things – like that plate of nachos at the neighbourhood pub or a hike in the forest with my children and our dog. Taking pleasure in the simple things, the things I used to take for granted has helped to quiet the consumer noise.

This video is one of my favourite Ted Talks. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Melody Beattie