Talk us through your day – what get’s you out of bed?
· By day, I am an IT manager that oversees a team of people who administer ERP Applications for an outdoor recreation company. I’ve been in IT my entire career and have always been fascinated with technology and how it shapes our world. Other than my job, my two-year-old tends to keep me pretty busy especially now that potty training has begun. Please, help me.
What was the last meal you ate and how did you prepare it?
· Now that it’s cold and snow is covering the ground, I gravitate towards soups, stews, and chili. Last night, I made a very simple vegan chili. I used crushed tomatoes that I canned from last year’s tomato harvest, onion, peppers, and beans, lentils, and spices from the bulk bins. It’s such an easy recipe to make without any waste.
When did you decide to go zero-waste – and what inspired you?
· I went zero waste about 4 years ago around Earth day. After doing a neighborhood cleanup, I was quickly discouraged with the amount of waste I had collected. Once I had returned home to dispose of the waste, I realized that my garbage bin was overflowing with waste. Sadly, I was just as wasteful. How could I call myself an environmentalist when my garbage was brimming with takeout containers, plastic bottles, food waste, and more? I knew I needed to make a change and that initiated by journey to lessening my impact.
What was the most difficult part on the journey to being zero-waste?
· Food. I was accustomed to a certain diet. Growing up in the Midwest, we are pretty partial to our meat and potatoes. A lot of the recipes I prepared not only contained meat and dairy, they also contained copious amounts of packaged, processed ingredients. I knew that all had to change. I had to change my diet and retrain myself how to cook and eat. It was frustrating at times but ultimately, one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Now, I not only eat plant based, whole, and package free foods, I have healed my digestive system and allowed my body to enjoy food without the guilt and consequence of over consumption.
What does your friends and loved ones think? Do you live with others who agree or disagree to your lifestyle?
· I’ve been fortunate that my friends and family have been extremely supportive. I feel that my zero waste journey is just that – my journey. Though I’d love to see everyone stop what they are doing and join me in my zero waste endeavor, I feel that the best way to influence anyone is to simply live by example – humbly. Because of that I have influenced so many of those around me, even those who I never in my life would succumb to anything related to environmentalism. It’s been simply amazing.
If you can change one thing in the world, what would you change and why?
· Our addiction to wanting more. Most of our environmental issues is a product of over consumption. We are human. We are easily influenced by marketing ploys playing on our desires for the perfect life and as a result we continually think we need more.
What’s your favorite part of being zero-waste? Is it the mason jars, or the composting – what makes you happy that you are living a sustainable lifestyle?
· I live life with more intention. The food I eat, the possessions I own, the stuff I purchase, all have purpose and are acquired mindfully. I’ve retrained myself to prioritize what truly matters. Stuff no longer owns me, the food I eat no longer causes me guilt, I no longer find myself wasting precious time and money on things that not only hurt the environment but never truly caused me joy anyway.
I’m always asked, “What’s in your bag” - so what essentials do you take with you in your bag?
· It really depends on where I am going for the day but the items that always remain in my bag are my keys and wallet, a hankie, my reusable utensils, a metal straw, some lip balm, a menstrual cup, my computer, my phone, my planner, my thermos, and reusable grocery bag. I carry a backpack every day since I am required to have my PC on me at all times for work.
If someone wanted to start today in this very moment, what tips or advice would you give that person to sustain this lifestyle choice?
· I always suggest going slow when starting a lifestyle change like this. It can be very overwhelming – at least it was for me. Zero Waste isn’t about making no trash, it’s simply about doing what we can to make a positive impact. We need to be gentle and patient with ourselves. We will inevitably make waste so focus on the successes and learn from opportunity, always.
So, I love food and grew up around my father who was always cooking – describe your dream dinner in detail and guests that would join you?
· I know I should probably come up with something extravagant and magical but honestly, give me tacos on the beach with those closest to me and I’d be a pretty happy girl.
Any big plans coming up that you want to share? Goals for this year?
· My goals are simple. I just want to keep spreading eco-knowledge in the hopes that more people jump on board to reduce their overall impact. I’ve always felt that bloggers and social media influencers have such an important role as the true bridges between true, credible information and the people. We are educators for an important cause.
What does the future look like?
· The future, though it can seem scary at times with the recent statistics and news stories depicting our eco fate, is bright in my eyes. In just the last few years, people have rallied behind the idea of sustainable lifestyles and are making true change. It’s rather exciting.
Who would you like next to share their story?
· I’d love read Anne-Marie Bonneau’s story as her old fashioned and beautiful approach to food and zero waste living inspires me daily. If only I could bake a loaf of sourdough like her!