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How to talk trash with your loved ones

How do you talk about waste and sustainability to your family, friends or colleagues?

How to talk trash with your loved ones

So you’ve made steps to reducing waste in your own life and want to inspire others to do the same. But how do you talk trash to your family, friends or colleagues?

Sometimes it can be hard to talk to the people closest to us about things that matter to us, particularly if we think they feel differently. But starting conversations to those we love can help motivate them, build connection, help confirm our own ideas and reflect on what we’ve learnt.  

When we want to raise awareness among our social circles, starting a conversation about the subject is often our first step. The way to start this conversation can differ depending on the person and what you think will inspire them. It can be…

Factual: Giving the facts about trash impact in our case may help them to acknowledge the issue. Take a look at “The trash stake in 10 statistics” article to get reliable data to talk to your entourage.

Passionate: As an activist, we sometimes feel emotionally involved when speaking about of an issue like waste reduction. But emotion isn’t a bad thing – it shows you’re passionate. Be personal. By showing our emotions to those who care for us, they may understand the scale of the issue.

Fun: Sometimes it will help not to be too serious. Show them how being part of the sustainability movement can be fun!

It is possible that none of these perspectives will make your social circle motivated to change their behavior towards waste. Priorities are different for each of us and for some people other preoccupations won’t allow them time and mental space to consider the environmental stakes.

Don’t force discussion or rush them. . Not everybody’s ready to hear about these issues and  the goal is not to make our loved ones feel bad. So, don’t feel discouraged, there are still other options!

One of them is to change the nature of the discussion. Indeed, if they are not sensitive to these issues, there are plenty of other reasons to adopt the “Trash Hacks”!

  1. Money: Packaging and branding are making the products more costly. Going into Zero Waste is a good way to get more qualitative products for cheaper. What’s more, there are multiple products which you won’t have to pay anymore in your weekly grocery shopping. Say goodbye to paper towel, cotton buds, disposable razor, poor-quality sponges…
  2. Comfort: Anybody having tried the reusable hygiene products – makeup removal pads, menstrual panties, panty liners… – would tell you about this point. Today a variety of options are being developed and the price of these products is also decreasing.
  3. Laziness: We can argue that there will be less trash to take out! ;)

If talking isn’t your thing, you can watch a documentary together, offer a book on the subject, or recommend a podcast…

Another way to get our friends, family and others to change their behavior is to inspire them. Let’s act and they’ll follow. You may have already heard the following quote from the Nicholas Klein “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”

This is particularly true for the environmental issues. Show to your social circle the trash hacks you’ve implemented in your daily life. Feel proud of each new step and share this action around you.

We can build projects  and invite our social circle to take part to them. That may be sharing a compost with your neighborhood, implementing waste sorting bins at home with explanations on how to use them or teaching some recipes to your friends.

 There is no secret recipe on raising awareness among those closest to us. We have to take into account diverse backgrounds, goals, biases, priorities and personalities.  The most important thing is not to force the issue and to go step by step.  Don’t get too disheartened if you don’t see eye to eye in the end. And always remember to congratulate yourselves for taking part to this public issue!

Planning to talk trash to your loved ones? Remember to reflect on what you’ve been doing and to share your experiences with the world using #TrashHack!