Why is it so hard to go green when you're disabled? — Scope | Disability forum

Why is it so hard to go green when you're disabled?

Tori_Scope
Tori_Scope Posts: 6,632

Scope community team

Taken from The Metro, written by Samantha Renke: 

I have a huge amount of traffic that comes to my door – bulk-bought items like loo roll and cat food or essentials such as my prescription and weekly food shop.

Although trying to navigate my life in a disabling world is a justifiable reason for why I have everything sent to my door, as I look at the pile of cardboard boxes littering my flat, a pang of guilt often washes over me. ‘This really isn’t great for the environment is it, Sam?’ I chastise myself. 
Love them or hate them but companies such as Amazon have been a real game changer for me – being able to get almost everything I need without relying someone else not only makes me feel in control of my life, but I don’t feel like a burden on others – a feeling many disabled people internalise. 
I think the luxury, yes for me it’s a luxury, of popping to your corner shop for some milk – or in my case, wine – is lost on most non-disabled people. If I run out of something I can often feel trapped, waiting several days for someone else to get it for me. The pandemic added to my use of door-to-door services without a doubt. I shielded for the best part of a year and a half, rarely leaving home. I actually looked forward to the daily interaction from the postman. 
Honestly, as a wheelchair user I’ve always relied on the convenience of door-to-door service I’d be lost without it. Mostly because many shops, roads, pavements are inaccessible – treacherous with potholes and lack of drop curbs – and navigating these obstacles can seem too much trouble and unsafe. 
I know it’s bad for the environment. Like many, I have really been emotionally affected by the images from around the world of the effects of global warming. I’ve tried to implement small changes within my home to become more eco-aware such as using rechargeable batteries and a water filter instead of plastic bottles. 

But the more pressure I feel, the more I find that being environmentally friendly is really rather difficult – moreover, the incentives and expectations are often ableist in the sense that they are not designed with the disabled community in mind.
Disabled people are often vilified as a drain on society and have been as far back as time but the pandemic seems to have made it worse. So much so that I have avoided sharing my consumer habits for fear of being shamed. 

I want to become more self-sufficient. The pandemic has highlighted how my safety net can be taken away in a heartbeat. The less I need to rely on others to maintain my independence, the less frustration I feel when I’m let down.

I feel there should be more done to encourage the use of products that are both environmentally sustainable and super handy to me as a disabled woman. 

Have you faced barriers in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle because you're disabled? Do you have any tips for other disabled people regarding 'going green'?

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Comments

  • Anni
    Anni Member Posts: 16 Connected
    I have tried reusable sanitary products and cannot deal with them. My hands don’t work well enough to use a mooncup and can’t find any washable pads which fit the underwear I can wear. Also, the way I walk twists them 90 degrees, which renders them completely useless! I feel kind of guilty for the environment (although I know it’s not my fault).
  • SOUFIEGAL
    SOUFIEGAL Member Posts: 12 Listener
    Pedestrian areas are all well and good but 20metres feels like a marathon (yeah, I know it’s a huge exaggeration so bite me). 

    I’ve tried shopping centres but I’ve spent way too much time perching precariously on the edge of a sloping seat to want to put myself through that particular form of torture but all the flexing has worked wonders on my glutes and abs.

    On a more serious note it appears that planners only envision shopping or entertainment venues for those without disabilities. 

    I never see images of disabled people on the hoardings around developments. I do believe the disabled are forgotten. Retailers and developers are missing a trick and pounds in their tills.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,632

    Scope community team

    It's not your fault @Anni, and we can only do our best. Hopefully as environmentally friendly sanitary products become more widely available, a greater number of accessible products will become available. Have you ever considered trying period pants? I've never tried them, but I have a few friends who use and love them. It could be worth checking them out online, there are a few brands that make them now. 
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  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    Anni said:
    I have tried reusable sanitary products and cannot deal with them. My hands don’t work well enough to use a mooncup and can’t find any washable pads which fit the underwear I can wear. Also, the way I walk twists them 90 degrees, which renders them completely useless! I feel kind of guilty for the environment (although I know it’s not my fault).

    My daughter uses knickers which absorb all periods out pour. They are advertised on tv. Look them up....very good for the environment.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,632

    Scope community team

    Great minds think alike @pollyanna1052 :) 
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  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,632

    Scope community team

    You're right that accessibility too often isn't considered at the design stage unfortunately @SOUFIEGAL, and that it can be considered as an add-on or afterthought rather than something that should be considered right from the start. 
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