Buying New

Dated June 27th, 2016.

I looked everywhere. Everywhere.

I couldn’t find a used kayak that was small enough for me to carry, but big enough to be a stable multi-purpose watercraft (I want to be able to at least do overnight trips, aka bungee straps on the front/back and a watertight compartment). So I just did it. I bought new. This is the first really big rule of being zero waste that I’ve broken, and you know what? I’m not even sorry. That’s right, you heard me. I’m not sorry.

And while I’m at it, I’m not sorry for driving my vehicle to work/ the city to get groceries/tools/my precious baby (i.e. kayak). And its sort of funny, because I can’t even come close to mustering the pang of guilt I feel when I accumulate a piece of waste.

After some thinking, I finally figured out why. A kayak, a vehicle, these are definitely material goods from a consumer culture, but they stand apart in that they are not a one-time use technology. Both are huge investments that sort of come with the tagline of “maintenance” because you don’t put that kind of money into something you’re just going to throw away.

I really think that’s at the heart of it for me, and in terms of the experiment I’m doing right now, I’m acutely aware of opulent waste versus footprints of existence. As long as I’m alive, I’m going to be leaving some sort of impact- I’ll never be able to get that down to zero. That’s the logical standpoint. But my own personal interpretation of zero waste doesn’t involve a suicidal conclusion, rather, a brutal honesty with myself about things I want so badly I “need” them, and going about fulfilling that need in a sustainable manner.

I have been wanting a kayak for a very long time, but my want had never passed into the realm of “need” until this summer, when I realized that my personal quality of life could be vastly improved by purchasing something like this for myself. I can now connect with nature in my usual quiet, but  physical way, and I can spend more time immersing myself in the environment that has pushed my entire waste free initiative. In some sense, I even want to talk about the fact that I purchased a boat without a motor, but at this point I think I’m just stretching.

And so, two months in, the first amendment to zero waste has been made: Sometimes buying new is okay.

All the best,
The Dirt Mouth

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