The zero waste community (ZW) community on Instagram is a group of individuals who intend to lessen their environmental impact by utilizing precautionary consumption (PC) to avoid generating waste. Public figures in the ZW community advertise ZW as a simple and efficient method to take action against the ever growing plastic waste in our society. In this paper, I perform a virtual ethnographic analysis of posts shared on Instagram within the ZW community to illustrate the way in which ZW places responsibility at the individual level in order to reduce plastic waste. Next, I compare levels of industrial waste to municipal solid waste to highlight how ZW’s fascination with food plastic packaging is an inadequate approach to their environmental goals. Next, I apply a lens of precautionary consumption (PC) to examine why women may identify with the ZW community, what kinds of women are most prominently represented, and what this representation says about ZW as a method for eliminating plastic waste from our environments. In this way, I ultimately conclude that the PC utilized by the ZW community is an ineffective method to eliminate plastic waste from our environment.
"Zero Waste on Instagram Through the Lens of Precautionary Consumption,"
Gettysburg Social Sciences Review: Vol. 3
, Article 3.
Available at: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/gssr/vol3/iss1/3