Before we dive in, we want to get to know you! Can you share with us:
Typically, black coffee or, if they have big tea cups, an Almond Milk Cappuccino, but it’s really dependent on it being the right type of cup.
I’m always reading about 4 books at once. I really like to bounce around.
- Currently reading: Give: How to Manage Your Money and Make a Difference for the sustainability focused book club I run
- Just started: Code Name Verity
- Halfway through: Piranesi
- Just finished: The Paris Apartment
Heading down to the bookstore tonight to pick up my copy of Intersectional Environmentalist.
Wait 30 days for any unnecessary purchase. Sustainable living isn’t about buying all new fancy things, it’s about buying less. When you start waiting before you buy, you realize how many of your purchases are for things you don’t need that would just cause clutter down the road.
It might be surprising but I didn’t start going zero waste because I loved the planet. I actually started practicing many of these habits out of financial necessity and for health reasons.
I had a pretty major hormonal imbalance in college which led to a lot of pain, doctor visits, full-blown cystic acne, mood swings and mental health issues. So, I started reducing my exposure to endocrine disruptors which are found in a lot of products we come into daily contact with.
Making these changes coupled with switching out disposable products with reusable ones, i.e., cloth towels instead of paper towels — saved me a lot of money!
It all clicked for me when I moved to California that the changes I was making for my personal health weren’t only better for me, they were also better for the planet.
I started my blog goingzerowaste.com because I wanted people to know they could save money, be healthier AND be more eco-friendly. It seemed like a no-brainer and I wanted to help people make this transition easy and fun.
To me it’s just about wasting less and being a good steward of what I have.
Buy fewer items. Use that last drop of shampoo. Upcycle your glass salsa jar to store leftovers. Reuse that promotional cotton tote until the straps fall off and then stitch them back on. Invest in products that will last a lifetime. Focus on timeless things that bring you joy rather than trends. Shop secondhand. Eat fewer animal products and more plants. And, remember it’s not about being perfect.
We need to hold corporations and legislators accountable to ensure safe access to clean air, clean drinking water and a safe environment for EVERYONE.
There are so many things! Host a free talk at the local library, call your local newspaper and ask about a column or an article on zero waste living, show a documentary at a community space, grab a table at the local farmers market to educate others, host a clean-up, get involved with your local government, go to city hall meetings, talk to local businesses about implementing a “straw on request only” policy, get local coffee shops to incentivize bringing your own cup.
And, sometimes one of the most important things we can do is have hard conversations with friends, family and neighbors. Talk about the problems and talk about solutions.
Living a zero-waste lifestyle has saved me a lot of money, streamlined my time and allowed me to be a happier person. It’s proven that focusing less on material objects and more on the things that truly matter in life makes you happier. Approach your talks from that perspective. Share about how you’ve benefited from making planet friendly changes in your life.
I recommend that everyone start with the big four.
- Say no to straws. If you need straws or like them, try to opt for a reusable one. My personal favorite is glass.
- Ditch the plastic water bottles. Did you know tap water is more regulated than bottled water? If you don’t like the taste of your water, invest in a filter, you will save so much money in the long run. I prefer an insulated water bottle that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
- Bring your own bags to the store. If you tend to forget, get a couple that fold up real small and attach to your key ring so they’ll always be with you.
- Avoid coffee cups, which are actually lined with plastic and unrecyclable in most places. The lids aren’t recyclable either. If you have your handy-dandy insulated water bottle on you, you can grab your coffee, or ask for it in a real mug to stay.
When we talk about living a more sustainable life, so much of the global conversation revolves around emissions. Which is really important but for someone who wants to start changing their daily habits: trash, waste, compost and recycling is something tangible where they can visually see success. It’s a wonderful and easy place for people to start.
I had a fantastic meeting with Glad, where they asked me to help educate their customers and audience on “doing more to waste less.” I absolutely love that tagline, and it really resonates with me and my mission to help people live a more sustainable life and to reduce their waste in every sense of the word.