I am probably going to make myself really unpopular by saying this, but I am going to say it anyway.
This morning, I posted a photo on our social media account of a natural deodorant. The photo showed two candles behind (obviously, as we make candles too!) and within seconds, a comment was posted " Ironic that you hash tagged zero waste and then put photos of plastic electric candles in the background" A quick look on our page would clearly show that we make candles. Instead of doing a bit of background checking, the comment was made flippantly and quickly retracted when we put the poster straight. We make candles. We are trying to be a plastic free company. Showing plastic or electric candles just wouldn't be us because well, it goes against our ethos and we don't use them because we have candles in abundance in our workshop! How dare anyone pass judgement without doing a little investigation. The comment was taken down very quickly once they were set straight, which is really sad because my reply gave some really good insight in to what we do and how we do it and that is generally trying to cut out plastic and waste from our products and company. That was never seen or read by the poster; i guess they didn't want to open their ears to bit of education around the company.
Last week, I had to defend myself and my company on a zero waste parenting group on Facebook, as a comment was made that "this company seems dodgy to me - I've looked at the reps photo and she doesn't appear to be the sort of person who is a zero waster" How dare anyone make such a judgmental and flippant comment on a reps looks. Is it really ok to cut down a person or a company with such damaging comments without even getting to know us or ask us any questions first. Do you know how upsetting it is for someone to be told that their face doesn't fit their ethos. How crazy is it that an opinion can be formed on what a person looks like in one photo!!!
More and more I am seeing posts of people pleased to show off the changes they are making to reduce their waste and more and more I am seeing comments that are belittling, rather than encouraging and supportive.
Who cares if john still uses tea bags, but has changed to a biodegradable toothbrush?
Who cares if Brenda still washes her hair in shampoo that has come out of a bottle, but she takes her own bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic carrier bags.
Whose journey is this? yours or theirs? If you don't like my company - don't use us! But if you haven't used us, how can you tell the world that we are "dodgy?" If you don't like that John still uses teabags, how about congratulate him on his efforts so far, maybe offer some advice, but cut him down? Thats just not on.
There is far too much superiority in zero waste groups and whilst some people has spent time educating themselves on the east ways to avoid waste, what they are failing to see sometimes is that their superioirty can come across as really negative. We are all trying to fight a war against waste together and in the battle field, we need to build each other up, not tear down our fellow comrades. Wars like this are won by many people doing the best that they can, but no one can be perfect. Show me someone living a zero waste life and I will show you a liar. Because I am not perfect, my company is not perfect, John and Brenda are not perfect. We are all just trying to do our best.
So next time you feel the need to post a negative comment that could potentially bring down a small business, or give Brenda a mouth full because her face doesn't fit and her hair is not washed with the urine of a zero waste guardian angel, just remember, everyone starts somewhere and everyone can easily go AWOL from the zero waste war because of your comments. Be kind and supportive.
From now on, we will be using the hashtag myzerowastejourney on all of our social media posts, because zero wasting is personal to us all. This company is MY journey to help do my bit, not yours. Your journey is yours too. Doesn't make either of us right; it just makes us soldiers in the same fight, just taking a different route to the battle.
Please stop to think about how your comments towards small businesses and new zero waste individuals can be as damaging as the plastic we all are fighting to rid the planet of.
I choose zero waste, kindness and positivity. What do you choose?