One of the most difficult parts about having a Zero Waste lifestyle is when you invite other people into your home who do not share or might not understand your values and way of living.
It’s best to prep them for their arrival by letting them know the rules of your household. Don’t feel obligated to push your values to the wayside just because you have guest. Our experience has been a welcoming and understanding from those visiting us. By educating them on why we are living a certain way, we get respect and can continue to maintain our lifestyle even with guests.
I find it is no different to ask guests to leave the plastic items at home than it is to ask them to take off their shoes when entering your home. You have the right to live in a certain way and your guests will understand, even if they may not follow those guidelines in their own homes.
Let them know in advance
It’s best not to surprise your guest with an announcement of what they can and cannot do when entering and staying at your home. Before my parents visited our apartment this past summer, we let them know we were living plastic free and the ecological reason for this decision. We offered them reusable water bottles on their arrival and made sure they had the same comforts they expected to find, but in full knowledge their visit would not mean incrementing our production of waste.
Be prepared to make sacrifices
Your expectations for your guests should not be as strict as the ones you have for yourself. Be prepared to make adjustments to accommodate them. After all, you should not force anyone to follow your lifestyle.
There are ways you can still be sustainable (or low waste) and meet their needs. Zero waste works best when it is flexible and not extremely rigid.
My mom didn’t like the taste of our filtered tap water so we bought 6L bottles for her of mineral water. We reduced plastic by buying a large container, but also make our guest quite happy.
Provide solutions for your guests
Be sure to have all of the tools available to help your guest live zero waste with you. Extra napkins, cloth bags, water bottles, stainless steel straws, etc.
Making it easy for them might even help them to make small changes in their own habits when they leave your home.
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