Going zero waste: where do we start?

Going zero waste: where do we start?

People are increasingly concerned with the weight of their ecological footprint. Composting, buying organic and local food and reusable packaging are all the rage.

For those who admire people living in 100% zero waste houses and who would like to try to imitate them, we take advantage of the 21-day plastic-free challenge to present the testimony of Jolyane Morin who now lives a zero waste lifestyle.

Jolyane says she has always been very environmentally conscious. Her family used to make compost when she was a child and her mother would qualify as a "granola," she laughs.

It was when she saw the Bea Johnson's interview on Everybody's Talking About It and read her book that she decided to change her lifestyle to become zero waste.

Where do we start when we want to become zero waste?

"It can get a little crazy! It can be scary when you see everything you need to do, all the packaging you have at home.", Jolyane exclaims with a laugh. That's why Jolyane advises changing your habits gradually, one at a time. For example, when she’s finished a product, she wonders what she could replace it with. Is it possible to make it home or buy it in bulk? In the end, it took her two years to become almost 100% zero waste and to find all the alternatives to the products she had been buying before. As she explains, "It takes a lot of trial and error to find the recipes that work for us for products like shampoo or shower gel."

And her children?

At the very start of her transition, Jolyane herself claims that her children had experienced some grief. The contents of their lunch boxes were verry different from those of their friends. For example, they didn't have individual yogurts packaged in their small plastic container. The important thing according to Jolyane, is to explain to them why we must limit waste and instead use reusable packaging. She made them listen to documentaries so that their actions become concrete. In addition, it allowed her to do new activities with her children. For example, she created a homemade advent calendar for them using a reusable calendar: "They thought it was funny because it contained a lot more chocolates than their friends' business calendars. For Easter, they made their own chocolate which they poured into bunny-shaped molds. "It was like store-bought chocolates, but homemade! "

What are the tips?

Jolyane says: "I buy as much as possible in bulk if I cannot make it myself. However, she continues to go to the big box grocery stores for fruits, vegetables, milk, as well as some canned products." She explains: "I don't want to go crazy, I still make certain concessions, especially because of my children."

She also admits that living in an area quite far from the nearest major urban center is complicated. She takes advantage when visiting big cities to stock up on products that she finds less easily near her home. 

As advice for people who want to limit their waste or even go zero waste, she reiterates the importance of taking it one step at a time, at your own pace. For example, buy washable and reusable bags for your fruits and vegetables. Once this step is integrated into the routine, you can move on to a second step. Don’t hesitate to experiment with replacement products that suit you best. She says the Internet can help a lot.

You can find many online resources both from websites and the growing number of zero waste groups on social medias.  

The process is not easy, you have to make concessions. But as Jolyane concludes: "The result is worth it."

By Mélissa Rodriguez


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