The Method team are a diverse bunch. We hail from different corners of the globe, we enjoy different pursuits, yet we all have one united interest: making a difference. Josephine, our Auckland Sales & Sustainability specialist, is particularly dedicated to doing good, moving towards going completely Zero Waste while emboldening others to do the same.
With today being Waste Free Tuesday of New Zealand's Recycling Week, it seemed the perfect excuse to sit down with Josephine and hear her story.
Hi Jo, let’s start at the beginning. What first made you interested in moving towards a Zero Waste lifestyle, and since then how has it evolved?
I was inspired a year ago by Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers and Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. Bea Johnson and her family have been living waste free since 2008. Lauren Singer is in her 20’s living in an apartment in New York and managed to reduce 4 years of landfill trash to a medium size mason jar!
Inspired by these two women I decided to take responsibility for my actions, so to tie in with Plastic Free July I embarked on the 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge as well. This meant for one month I only had a small jam jar for my landfill trash and could only recycle cans and glass. I had to compost my food scraps in my worm farm and take my commercially compostable waste (this includes compostable packaging) to the actual plant so it would break down in the correct process.
My Instagram following is still very small but it has evolved into an educational platform and I have been asked to do a few talks about the why and how of my Zero Waste lifestyle choice.
What’s one thing people often get wrong about Zero Waste?
It’s too hard! Until June 2017 I was an over-consumer - it just took some organisation, and personal motivation to leave no trace, for me to embark on this new lifestyle. I wouldn't go back to my old habits now, my new lifestyle is actually quite fun!
Zero Waste is defined as a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. In theory, no trash is sent to landfill or incinerators. I interpreted this as:
- Reducing overall consumption
- Bulk buying
- Home composting
- Recycling cans, glass and paper only
- Only accepting commercially compostable packaging and taking this to the commercial composting plant
- Using mindfulness
If I can do it so can you!
"I wouldn't go back to my old habits now, my new lifestyle is actually quite fun!"
What would your advice be for people that would like to go Waste Free? Where do you find your inspiration, and what would you recommend to others?
Start a compost!
Diverting your food scraps from landfill will help the planet reduce the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. If you don’t have a garden there are plenty of online resources.
Reduce your overall packaging and single-use plastic consumption.
Invest in an essential Zero Waste kit! This includes the BIG FOUR: reusable bag, reusable cup, reusable bottle and straw. I don’t think the straw is essential but it’s creating awareness around the fact these are not recycled and end up in landfill or flying off into our oceans. You could also add a reusable container to this so when you fancy sushi, for example, you take this as your takeaway container rather than having to use unnecessary packaging.
Check out where your nearest bulk food store is.
I actually have such fun taking my glass jars or reusable bags to get refilled for my weekly shop and overall it’s cheaper!
If you work in a corporate environment and want to recycle or compost food scraps then talk to your facilities or office manager about implementing an office recycling solutions in your office, I’d say Method bins are the best but I’m biased!
How does working for Method align with your passion for sustainability?
Working with Method has given me an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand's waste industry and makes me even more passionate about encouraging workplaces to better recycle and compost with Methods good looking internal office recycling bins.
When I embarked on my Zero Waste challenge I set up a Method station at home. These wonderfully coloured Method bins enabled me to keep a track of my cans, bottles, paper and commercially compostable waste. They are easily portable and meant I could take these to the commercial compostable and recycling plant once I had finished my challenge to really find out what happens behind the scenes.
My workplace had a Method station and their service provider is Reclaim so this was great as I could compost at work and recycle without having to take this home.
What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?
Place smaller pieces of plastic into bigger pieces of plastic. For example, plastic rings around milk bottles need to go into the larger plastic item to actually get recycled otherwise they fly off into the ocean or landfill.
Check numbers on plastic containers and try and buy PET #1 plastic, as this gets recycled in New Zealand. If a container doesn’t have a number on it and it's the size of a coffee cup lid or smaller as far as I know these won’t get recycled in New Zealand.
Where do you see yourself on this mission in the future? What does success look like for you?
I would like to inspire others to do the same and educate those who are unsure about how to even start. Success would look like reducing my landfill waste to a mason jar over 2018!
Watch this space or follow my journey on Instagram @zerowastejosephine.
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