Ra-ra-ra-ra-ra (Part One of Five)

Tuesday, September 05, 2017
Photo: Pinterest

The book I’m currently reading is Mari Kondo’s TheLife-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far, it seems like the first few chapters are in line with living the zero-waste life. In one part of her book, she talks about discovering that the secret to tidying up is not to store our belongings properly, but to actually get rid of the things that we don’t need or that don’t spark joy, and to not accept things just because they’re free. (Sorry for the spoilers!)

Unfortunately, I’m such a sucker for freebies. Most of the time, I accept free things that come my way, whether it’s a cute bookmark from an event or a hand-me-down dress from a relative. Oftentimes these things rarely see the light of day and end up taking space in my life. Don’t get me wrong, one-third of my closet is probably made up of hand-me-downs that “spark joy at the touch”, but really, the secret to having less (but better) is accepting less (but better).

The first tenet of zero-waste according to zero-waste goddess Béa Johnson is refuse. She says that “Whatever you bring in from the outside into your home will become your problem.” So I believe a good way to solve whatever potential problem is to just. Say. No.

Refusing things that could be potentially wasteful will also cut down what you actually throw out. For example, refusing a plastic straw means you don’t have to throw it away when you’re done using it. Hurray for the animals who would potentially ingest your plastic straw! Aside from plastic straws, this includes plastic or paper bags at the grocery, especially those that they put your meat in, because right after you use it, it gets thrown away and lasts longer than your great grandkids’ great grandkids’ lifetimes. Combating this starts with making the smart decision – take only what you need, and refuse what you don’t.

A big challenge for all of us would be to be more discerning about the things we accept. I’m not saying that all non-biodegradable items are bad. We just have to be more conscious about how they are used.

This would prove to be a difficult, since there aren’t many package-free items available in Manila. Like I mentioned in my earlier entry, if I could go straight to the sources of the things I consume to refill my bottles of Brand X skincare, I totally would. We can’t change everything in a jiffy, but we can start by refusing.

I am challenging myself - and anyone who wants to join me - to count the times I refuse something that will most likely end up rotting in a dumpsite for a thousand years, and to count the times I didn't. I want to create a baseline of some sort for how much garbage I actually consume, and this would greatly help. Anyone out there with me? Comments are most welcome. No shaming!


  1. Practically speaking, how can I refuse single use plastic at the grocery? Thanks!

    1. You can bring your own reusable plastic or glass food boxes/Tupperwares or bags so you can refuse the single use plastics. I have yet to be successful on this though. Watch out for my entry on the 3rd R!


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