If I told you to picture the home of a zero waster or minimalist, what would you see? Mason jars full of bulk foods neatly labeled and stacked in a pantry? Bamboo bowl, plates, and utensils? Stainless steel lunch boxes? A home full of only neutral colors, natural woods, and metals? Plants everywhere?
What I just explained to you is the aesthetic of zero waste and minimalism.
Aesthetics, or esthetics, is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art. It examines subjective and sensory-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. It has also been defined in recent years as a certain look that is pleasing to a person and that they want to achieve.
I personally find that the aesthetic for zero waste and minimalism is pretty similar in color palette and materials that are used, which is why I’ve lumped them together for this rant. The most important thing that I want to point out is that trying to fit into the aesthetic of these movements can be very dangerous when it comes to your finances and also to the planet itself.
The big change when becoming a minimalist or zero waste is learning to turn off your consumeristic instincts, that need to buy everything that you like. Minimalism and zero waste are very similar in their principles of minimizing and reducing what you consume. For many people, their emotional outlet of buying things all the time is not really ever shut off, but instead is shifted towards other things. This is why a lot of people when they decide to pursue one of these lifestyles actually end up giving away a lot of their stuff but buying even more of the “minimal” or “sustainable” versions, especially to conform to their new aesthetic and ineffectively try to fit in.
The huge thing that bothers me is that having the aesthetic is not the point of the minimalist or zero waste movements. The point is to slow down your personal consumption and vote with your dollar for companies that are creating quality products that are better for the environment. Minimalism and zero waste are not trends to hop on and off of because they have a serious message of trying to affect change and save the planet.