Earth Day is almost here! And whether you’re the gardening hippie type, or brand new to celebrating, this day is for all! Earth Day is this Monday, April 22nd, and is a global holiday that asks us all to take a step back and look at our environmental impact. It’s a great time to go green! Re-dedicate yourself to environmentally friendly lifestyle choices or volunteer for local environmental organizations. Here at Soul Strong Yoga, we do our best to reduce our waste through providing compostable cups and reusable hand towels. However, we’ve got the magnificent Jackie Cawthon, also known as @thegirlwiththecarrottattoo, on our team to inspire us to always go the extra mile! I interviewed her about the increasingly popular zero-waste movement, as Jackie is always deepening her sustainable lifestyle. Check out the interview below for inspiration on how to reduce your daily waste, buy second-hand, and more!
CLARA: What exactly is the zero-waste movement? How did you become interested in adapting zero (or low) waste practices into your life?
JACKIE: I'll start by saying, I wish it was more popularly known as the "less waste" movement, due to the discouragement of how difficult a zero-waste lifestyle is to live, but I understand that ideally, we do want to eventually live in a 100% zero-waste world. I think the zero-waste movement is about making more conscious decisions about what you buy or accept and also how you dispose of things that you no longer need or want. We are working towards loving this planet a little more, by being more mindful of how we treat it.
I think the first time I was ever exposed to this idea was when I watched an interview of this woman who kept all of the trash she produced in a whole year, and it all fit into a small mason jar. I was absolutely blown away that that was even possible, seeing that I created more trash in a day than she did in a year. Honestly, this didn't encourage me enough to actually make any changes in my life right away, but I was immediately actually aware of the trash I was creating. It was not until some time last year that I got a lot more serious. Seeing photos of beautiful beaches destroyed by empty Hot Cheetos bags and single-use cutlery broke my heart. I noticed even in my own city, trash cans overflowing with waste. Trash trickled down the streets. It’s repulsive. And even worse, I realized I am part of the problem. I decided enough is enough. I no longer want to participate in the destruction of our home, so I started doing research on zero-waste and found so many helpful hints on Google, Pinterest, and Instagram.
CLARA: Why live a zero (or low) waste lifestyle? What are some of the benefits, both for the environment and for you?
JACKIE: Oh there are so many wonderful reasons to work towards zero-waste, and I continue to discover new benefits all the time! I'll list a few of the first ones that come to my mind:
a. Cost: I've saved a ton of money by cutting down on paper towels, making more food at home, and buying only what I need, instead of making impulse purchases. b. Power of making a difference: It just feels good to know you are changing the world.
c. Growth: You can learn new skills to fix broken items and get creative to make your own supplies (Makeup, cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc.)
d. High quality: When you give each purchase you make a little more thought and consideration, you will usually go with high quality items that will last longer.
e. Avoid chemicals: You'll begin to notice how much crap is in everything we buy! When we make our own, or opt in to buying local, there are usually fewer fillers and toxic ingredients.
CLARA: What are the easiest ways to reduce waste in daily life? What are some of your other favorite ways to reduce waste?
JACKIE: Some of the easiest ways to reduce waste in your daily life will probably depend a lot on your kind of lifestyle. For example, I eat at my job mostly every day, but our kitchen only has plastic, single use utensils. One of the first and easiest things I did was simply bring my own silverware and ceramic dish from home to keep in my desk. For traveling and going out, I bought an adorable bamboo travel cutlery set off amazon for $9. I will include a small list of some of my other favorite ways to reduce:
a. Second-hand shopping: I've always loved thrifting and treasure hunting, so this is a breeze. If I check all my favorite second-hand stores and do not find what I need, I will ask friends, and as a last resort, I will buy new, high quality items. Favorite stores include: Revival Vintage, Uptown Cheapskate, Goodwill, Room Service Vintage, Savers, Plato's Closet and Salvation Army.
b. Reusable bags: Grocery shopping is so much easier with your own sturdy bags. I can get at least 4 or 5 plastic bags worth of groceries into just 1 of my reusable bags. I try to have at least 2 in my car, but if I forget, and only have a few items, I will refuse the plastic bag and just carry my items out in hand.
c. Ceramic coffee mug: I love Starbucks. I try to make my own coffee at home, but occasionally I'll treat myself to a cup of joe in my reusable ceramic starbucks mug.
d. Stainless steel straws: AMAZON! I keep a handful at home and one or two in my bamboo travel cutlery set.
e. Paper towel replacement: I use worn out hand towels to clean up messes in my kitchen and have switched to cloth napkins for meals instead of paper towels.
CLARA: Any last tips? Things for folks to remember as they move towards reducing their waste?
JACKIE: Don't stress about being perfect. There's no need to beat yourself up EVER. This movement is all about love and respect - not only loving and respecting your planet - your home - but showing that same love and respect towards yourself. Just do your best and know that you are making a powerful difference.
Inspired to make a difference? Keep reading about the less-waste movement by checking out the links provided below. Ready to learn more from Jackie? She teaches the Beginner’s Flow at 6:30 PM at Soul Strong Sanctuary and 8:00 PM Power at the Soul Strong main studio every Thursday. Jackie also has an inversion workshop coming up! Learn to take flight and sign up HERE!
All photos in this post are by Jackie Cawthon. Follow her instagram @thegirlwiththecarrottattoo. Did you know Jackie is also a yoga photographer? Check out her gram and schedule a session with her!