Our YOGA + ZERO WASTE SPRING CHALLENGE starts today! We’re starting our challenge with this week’s blog post, an interview with Shia Su, the author of “Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash.” We’re so grateful to Shia Su for taking the time to answer our questions and do an interview with us. We’re proud to support her and carry her book in our eco luna boutique!
1 - Why zero waste?
According to the most recent IPCC (UN) study, we only have until 2030 to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. We are running out of time, simple as that. Zero waste is certainly not the only way to shrink your environmental footprint, but it is one that most people can integrate into their daily lives. Don't let the "zero" in zero waste scare you off. It really isn't about perfectionism. It is about being more intentional. We are so used to seeing our food packaged in plastic, and we're all buzzing around checking things off our to-do lists — we rarely take the time to take a step back and to see our seemingly mundane daily choices for what they are. What we chose to buy (and to not buy) has an impact. Many things come at a price, but often it's not us who are paying for it. I started the journey because I didn't want to live at the expense of other humans, animals, and our whole eco system. Zero waste helps you build sustainable habits that are both good for you and this precious world we all have to share.
2 - How much of an impact can one person make?
One of the things people throw at me all the time is: "Isn't what you do only a drop in the ocean?" Well, personally, I believe one person can have an enormous impact. But you don’t have to be a Nobel Prize winner to make your dent in this world. Statistically, every Canadian produces 720 kg of trash every single year. That’s almost 3 metric tons for a family of four! Just by adopting a handful of zero waste hacks can easily cut your family’s waste by 50%. That’s almost 1.5 metric tons of trash! Besides, I have found that what I do rubs off on the people around me over time, many of whom had very strong negative reactions to zero waste at first!
3 - What are the top 3 changes people can make in their lives to help reduce waste?
Buy only what you need. This is where you will safe a LOT of money! The mountains of trash we as a society generate every day are also a symptom. The cause is overconsumption. Plastic is made from fossil fuels, which, as we all know, are not renewable. Even if we swapped all plastic packaging for packaging made from renewable materials, we’d still consume the material faster than it can regrow. Consume mindfully. Buy only what truly adds value to your life. And if possible, buy only to replace, not to add to your inventory. Before you buy something, ask yourself: “Do I really need it? Like really, really need it? Or is this just an impulse buy?” Put it back and give yourself seven days. If you still want it, go for it. But chances are you’ll have forgotten all about it.
Opt for package- or plastic-free whenever you can. I love going to the farmers’ market. Yes, it is more on the pricey side. But what you save by consuming mindfully usually more than balances this out. I bring a laundry mesh bag to the market to buy produce, and my own containers, jars, and cloth bags to the bulk section to buy dry goods. We eat a lot of oats, so our local, owner-run health food store ordered a 12kg (paper) bag for us. This is a great way to support your local economy while cutting down on waste and saving money at the same time!
Choose reusables over disposables. This is actually a very simple, one-time project. Use up whatever you still have, and swap them for reusable alternatives, e.g. (tea) towels or rags instead of paper towels, washable cotton pads instead of make up wipes, a cotton cloth (e.g. from an old towel) instead of a dish sponge, a tea strainer instead of tea bags, use a French press to make coffee instead of Keurig pods.
Blogger Shia Su started her zero waste journey in September 2014. Lacking self-discipline and being a fun-oriented hot mess, she only ever intended to be ‘a tad more conscious’ when it came to reducing waste. Little did she expect that it could be so easy, doable and, a shameless amount of fun! As a very vocal person, she simply could not shut up about her lifestyle, which led to her sharing her thoughts and tips on her blog Wasteland Rebel.
Learn more about zero waste and connect with Shia on WastelandRebel.com. For a daily dose of zero waste inspiration and a glimpse into the everyday life of a vegan, palm-free ad plastic-free waste minimalist, follow @_wastelandrebel_ on Instagram