Probably the kick up the butt to start my own personal zero waste journey was on Pinterest. Oh man I LOVE an aesthetic zero waste photo. Or at least, I used to.
As I've gotten deeper and further into my own journey to reduce waste, I look upon those images with a bit more critique, an understanding of how unobtainable #zerowaste is and with privilege in mind. And that brings me to the zero waste fridge images. Check out zero waste fridge on Pinterest and you will see some *shockingly* filled fridges...
It's so so satisfying on a primeval level to see a zero waste fridge, no plastic in sight, with oat milk and fermented homemade treats in jars. And as much as I applaud the creaters for putting inspiring content out there, I just cannot get past the stink of privilege that showcasing a full fridge of healthy food brings up.
These feelings first came about from when I saw a photo about 18 months ago from a very prominent zero waster from the USA who lives with her husband. Her fridge was completely FULL of produce. Somebody commented underneath about how on earth would they eat ALL that fresh food between two people!? I thought to myself WOW we'd be so lucky to be able to afford that much food. It was way more food than two people could eat. This photo was clearly a set up shot (#farmersmarkethaul).
As the zero waste scene has gotten bigger and bigger and we have less and less money- I've started feeling more strongly about these images. Because it's not just showing off the huge hauls of food (that alone is a incredible privilege) that make me feel personally a little gross, but it's the engrained privilege that comes with this whole image that I question more and more.
Getting your produce 100% plastic free is really really challenging for most people living outside of a major city. For those living in a major city- they're likely buying imported produce. Of COURSE growing your own food is also a huge challenge- I'm simply breaking down location is hugely dependent on choices you have for shopping. And that where you live is hugely dependant on what you can afford... And if you have the choice to shop at those shops- well you get the picture.
I also do wonder if these full fridge photos is mostly showing off. If showing these full zero waste fridge shots is like a millennial version of buying a Porsche and driving it with loud music down the high-street. Showcasing wealth and privilege. The fact that you can afford that much food paired with the fact you've done it plastic free, locally etc is an incredible privilege.
So again, although I do love an aesthetic image I do want to address the privilege of these photos. And also make the point that OUR fridge is often sparse, with left overs in old plastic Tupperware that's stained, some healthy food in plastic with some unhealthy food package free. We do not represent these incredible perfect images and do not feel anxious, shame or panic if you don't either. But if your fridge IS full (you might have 8 foster children for all the internet world knows) and you've done it ethically, voice your privilege! Celebrate gratitude for having the privilege to buy healthy, ethical food. Talk about how that fridge *FULL* of food will last you 3 weeks.