A couple of weeks ago I got to spend the day with my virtual BFF Andrea Sanders from Be Zero. Andrea and I quickly bonded after a skype call in 2016, and thus our 30 Day Zero Waste Summer Challenge was born.
On a rainy day near the end of February, Andrea and I met at Asha Tea House in Berkeley. It was the best day ever. We got tea, then we went out to lunch, we browsed through thrift stores and finished the day at a bakery with chocolate macaroons. We got them to-go in our own cloth napkins in true zero waste fashion.
It was like we had been best friends for years and we didn't miss a beat.
Andrea runs the non-profit Be Zero. She started Be Zero in early 2014 as a simple way to share her own zero waste journey.
She has lived a zero waste lifestyle since 2008, but questions and curiosities from friends and family inspired her to get back to her roots in environmental education and share the zero waste mindset on a public level.
Be Zero became a nonprofit in late November 2015.
Something I've always admired about Andrea, is her understanding and approach. Everything we do is interconnected, and she really approaches environmentalism through this lens.
Connection is something we're deeply missing. We're not connected with our trash and where it's going. We're not connected with our surroundings and our local habitats. We're not connected with ourselves and others.
Sustainability is very individual depending on where you live in the world. Currently in the Western World, we can get anything we want any time we want - want a tomato in December, fly it over. But, tomatoes shouldn't be growing in December in Canada and the US. We've lost this connection with the earth.
She's very methodical and thoughtful, in trying to help others understand connectivity on how to improve both themselves and the planet. For daily tips make sure you're following her on Instagram, but here are a few tips Andrea sent over to help you make less trash.
The three jars on the right middle shelf belonged to my great grandma. Those jars are over 70 years old. For me, our pantry is a tribute to my grandparents. I curated and based this pantry on those three glass jars (the jars have been everywhere I’ve lived during my young life). The rest of my jars were gifts from our wedding (almost 4 years ago). The esthetics of this pantry is a mere footnote. If you’re looking into reducing waste or simplifying consuming - remember it’s not about changing one type of consumerism for another. Get resourceful and thrifty. Whether it's old pickles jars or something you choose to fit into your system - it always boils down to functionality, durability, and your own simplicity. Find your OWN systems. Create your own beauty and functionality. Love what you have. Use what you have. Be thrifty, don’t toss everything of value that you already have to look like something/someone else. My shelf (+life) has its own unique story and your shelf will have its own unique story too. #BeZero #natural #greenliving #eco #simplify #organized #inspiration #plasticfree #zerowaste #bulk #bringyourown #refuse #reusable #green #mindfulness #makelesstrash #circular #createchange #homemade #love #lifestyle #lesswaste #lessismore
1. REFUSE + BRING YOUR OWN
Refuse single-use disposable items. This is anything you use just once and toss. From plastic-lined coffee and beverage cups, straws, plastic bags, and utensils.
- Bring your own thermos to the coffee shop. Many coffee establishments will even offer you a discount for bringing your own cup!
- Bring a reusable cloth bag for groceries and produce.
- Ask for no straw next time you order a drink. (you may still get a straw, but at least you tried!)
- Refuse freebies/giveaways
2. GET THRIFTY & RESOURCEFUL
- Rethink and simplify your consumer wants and needs. What really provides you value? What do you really use?
- Share! Sharing communities are popping up all around the U.S. and the world. From transportation sharing to household tools and instruments. Check your local community for tool libraries, car and bike sharing programs.
- Shop second hand first. Visit your local thrift stores for gently used household goods and clothing.
- Learn to make simple household cleaners from inexpensive ingredients. Check out Andrea's cleaning tips here.
- Composting is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Get Andreas, composting tips here.
3. TAKE OWNERSHIP
Put value back into the things you own by taking ownership of your belongings.
- Repair or mend your possessions before tossing and rebuying.
- If an item is beyond repair, ask yourself if the item can be repurposed into another application (example: old t-shirts into reusables tissues).
- Responsibly dispose or recycle items that are fully expired.
If you liked these tips, don't forget to follow Andrea! You can connect with her through her blog and her Instagram.