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Happy Zero Waste week!
For anyone who has never heard of the phrase “zero waste” - it is an approach to the drastic pollution problem we are currently facing. Zero Waste is attempting to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce through shopping and living smarter, such as buying fewer packaged products and using reusable cups, containers and bottles over single-use plastics.
If you’re someone who has heard of Zero Waste, who has maybe no idea where to start or has started and given up just as quickly due to frustration (guilty) then keep reading; this post is not about to send you into a guilt ridden, eco-anxiety panic!

Zero Waste is a process and we are all learning off each other’s experiences. It’s ok to be imperfect but what matters is making that first package-free choice!

Here are 5 Zero Waste FAQ’s answered by our favourite Zero Waste bloggers to support you...

How did you get into a zero-waste lifestyle?

Bianca - Zero Waste Path: I got into the zero-waste lifestyle thanks to an article about Lauren Singer, I wasn’t very active environmentally but was starting to be interested. I decided to give zero waste a try, and well, I loved it!

Celia - Litterless: I started going zero waste because though I'd always considered myself an environmentalist, I wanted those values to be reflected more in my day-to-day choices, rather than just feeling like I was signing petition after petition and not really helping to make a difference.

Anne Marie - Zero Waste Chef: I went plastic-free in 2011 after reading about the devastation that plastic is having on our oceans and wildlife. I wanted to reduce my contribution to this disaster as much as possible. Zero waste was the next logical step (more like a half-step).

Was a zero-waste lifestyle an easy change for you to make?

Bianca: It’s a slow process, not an instant change, and I’m not completely zero waste today either. So for me, it’s more of a mindset to be less wasteful and create less trash while accepting the limits of living in a linear economy.

Celia: Though transitioning to a lower-waste life took a long time, the changes themselves were fairly easy. It was just a matter of working through my old stock of plastic toothbrushes, paper towels, and other disposable products before allowing myself to purchase the sustainable alternatives!

Anne Marie: It was a challenge at first but an enjoyable one. I like problem solving. I found personal care the most difficult change to make—toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. I make my own toothpaste and deodorant and either wash my hair with either baking soda or a shampoo bar, followed by a vinegar rinse (and I make the vinegar). When I cook, I rub olive or coconut oil onto my hands to keep them supple.
Over the years, I have found the most difficult part of zero waste is other people. My loved ones, while they do not complain much about the lifestyle, they do not embrace it as wholeheartedly as I do. When you live with other people, you have to make compromises—whether you live zero-waste, are vegan or you practice a religion to which they do not subscribe.

How would you recommend people start zero waste living?

Bianca: The two most important things, in my opinion, are to take it slow, some swaps will require years (use what you have first!) and forgive yourself for those occasions in which waste is unavoidable.

Celia: I always advise people to choose the very easiest place to start that they can. You don't need to overhaul your entire lifestyle in a month; instead, it can be more impactful to gradually add one change at a time so that each one really sticks. Some ideas: setting up a composting system, bringing your own reusable coffee mug for your daily cup, or switching to cloth napkins in lieu of paper.

Anne Marie: Cut processed food and learn to cook (sort of a double recommendation). A huge amount of waste comes from food packaging, and much of that comes from processed food, which isn't healthy for us or for the planet. So cut the shiny packages and you not only eliminate a ton of trash, you improve your diet and health. And your food will taste better. I’d like to stress that going zero waste is not about self-denial. Quite the opposite!

Where do you get your inspiration to promote zero-waste?

Bianca: I love being able to interact with people that share the same values as me and are going through the same journey! Knowing that something you do or say has helped someone else making more sustainable choices is one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced, and that’s why I like to promote zero waste living with my account and my business.

Celia: I'm most inspired when I meet students who are acting on environmental issues. I've gotten to meet high school students working to implement composting in their cafeterias, small business owners working to cut the waste out of their operations, friends who text me about the small switches they've made in their lives. It's a movement!

Anne Marie: My kids inspire me to promote zero waste. They will inherit this mess and I want to be able to say to them that in my own small way, I'm doing what I can.

What impact do you want to have on your readers/followers?

Bianca: I want to help the people that follow me to make more sustainable choices, it can be hard to distinguish greenwashing from truly sustainable products, and to remember to “check” all the details (material, production, disposal and so on). I share my personal experience and errors in the attempt to help others implement zero waste habits in their lives more easily. 

Celia: I want everyone to know that they're welcome in this movement. No matter how much they are able to (or choose to) participate, I hope to be the first person in line offering encouragement and celebrating small wins. 

Anne Marie: I want to provide readers with solutions. People are just now becoming aware of the problem of plastic pollution (thank you David Attenborough!), they want to get off the stuff, they feel overwhelmed and they don't know where to start. I recently facilitated a workshop for sewing cloth produce bags at our library. There were 30 spots available and 144 people registered. That's encouraging.

Thank you so much Bianca, Celia and Anne-Marie!



1 comment

  • Gennie: March 04, 2020

    Great article! Thank you :)

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