Working in a food caravan means that I’ve looked through all the packaging and cutlery available in the bulk section of Moore Wilson’s. There are many disappointing plastics. But what’s also disappointing is to see products made out of wood or sugarcane that are in an outer wrap of plastic. Even though we buy non-plastic packaging to avoid plastic, we still can’t seem to escape it. The non-plastic packaging is still packaged in plastic.
The first brand I called was BioChoice, which sits under the great umbrella of Bonson. Bonson also sells plastic packaging, so I wondered how receptive they would be.
I currently have two main jobs. I work part time as a librarian at a university. I work casually as a kitchen assistant at a food truck. I also do odd writing jobs and work contracted as an editorial assistant at a poetry magazine. Which one of these is a real job?
Whenever I tell people where I work, their reaction tells me a lot about who they are. My favourite reaction is from my friend Danny, who said to me, “That’s so indie!”. And some truly find it inspiring that I work to fit different interests in.
But some people look down at the food truck job. They say, well, if you can get that library job, then why would you work somewhere like a food truck? Get a real job. For them, having a hospo job means that I’m uneducated. And having an office job means that I’m educated. And because of these two facts that they hold in their mind, they can’t seem to reconcile the two. They can’t figure me out. (It's almost like all humans are multi-faceted individuals!). And the conversation dies down pretty quickly after that.
When we were organising our zero waste challenge, my friend and I agreed to just collect the trash we produced during the month. We wanted to see how much we could reduce, rather than trying to collate all the things that we bought before the challenge (although I will also talk about that later).
Before the challenge, I thought I was already pretty good at reducing my waste. But holding myself accountable has helped me to create many new and valuable habits. However, in the first week, I did start to feel pretty stressed. I was thinking of all the things I would have to implement, and I felt like I was carrying this great overwhelming responsibility. But once I took it easy, telling myself to focus only on a few urgent things at a time, I was able to work through the challenge better.
I am always, incredibly, preoccupied with trying to remember everything.
I have journals dating back to the start of 2014. I have an entry for every day since that beginning. Each entry details my favourite things that happened that day, as well as a rating of the day out of 5. When I’m too busy to write in my journal at the end of the day and have to wait until tomorrow, I start to feel a little stressed, because some part of me is scared that I’m going to forget everything. I look back at the things that happened on the same day, one year ago, three years ago, five years ago. It is strange because I only write down my favourite things, and so everything is automatically romanticised. The only hint of something beyond this are roughly drawn stars, some not even close to 5, that remind me that there are many things unwritten. And when I look back, I feel this great bittersweet every time I do so. But also a great relief, that the memory is still there. And I feel like my memory is actually better because of how I write all those moments down.
The first red flag that told me that this book is not quite right, was the header at the back:
Feel fabulous? Such a phrase reduces the environment to something trite, like a trendy jacket that you can throw on. It sounds like a phrase that an Instagram influencer would spout out, not an environmentalist.
And as I continued reading, these red flags just kept coming up. Another sign was this disclaimer at the front of the book:
“I have come to believe that we… do not know what business really is, or, therefore, what it can become” writes Paul Hawken in his Preface, “the ultimate purpose of business is not, or should not be, simply to make money… the promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy”. It is in the first page that Paul delivers this little nugget, a perspective so unlike what the world has ever suggested to me about commerce.