Alex and Delia are the Directors of Zero Waste London, a community organisation that has over 1,800 members and which organises zero waste related, talks, workshops, social events and activities. They also promote the events and activities of other sustainability-related organisations and act as a platform for everything to do with zero waste in London and beyond. Find out more by visiting www.meetup.com/zerowastelondon. They also have a very active Facebook group where members share lots of zero waste tips, advice and information: www.facebook.com/groups/zerowastelondon. You can also follow them on Instagram:@zero.waste.london
What first started you on your ethical journey?
About 5 years ago, I was working in the travel industry and I decided I wanted to work out what I was passionate about. I started to look at what made me angry and I remembered that when I was at school I used to get very angry when I saw people littering, but I didn’t really know why. So I spent some time looking at that and then discovered the zero waste movement. I suddenly remember thinking, “this is what I have been looking for!”.
The lady who started Zero Waste London was called Maria, she started the group by running small workshops in her flat in West London showing us how to make zero waste bathroom products like toothpaste and deodorant. To meet someone who was so passionate and was really living a zero waste lifestyle was very inspiring.
So when Maria and her husband decided to move back to their native Chile, Delia and I (who had met at a couple of Zero Waste London events) asked Maria if we could take over the group because we felt that the group was very much needed in London and we took it upon ourselves to grow the zero waste community and to organise as many events as possible to appeal to a larger audience.
Since then, Zero Waste London has grown to almost 1,800 members and I now run a sustainability events and workshops company called Zero Waste Mindset, while Delia works for OLIO the food sharing app, so we feel that this group influenced our lives more than we could have imagined.
What’s your number one tip for how people can start to help the planet?
Start educating yourself about the impact humans are having on the environment, read online articles, books, watch documentaries, go to talks and then tell as many people as you can about what you find out.
Do you have any recommendations that would help people just getting started on their own journey?
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (she is the founder of the Zero Waste movement). War on Plastic, BBC three part documentary available on iPlayer. Wasted!, a documentary on how our current practices surrounding food production and food waste contribute to climate change can be rented and streamed through various online platforms. Cowspiracy, a documentary about how animal agriculture is the biggest contributor to climate change. The World We Made by Jonathan Porritt (describes a planet that is green, fair, connected, and collaborative).
Do you have anything you’ll never leave the house without?
A clean cloth handkerchief and my re-useable coffee cup!
Tell us more about the zero waste movement
I feel the zero waste movement is a really important vehicle for helping people make real, tangible changes in their lives. We hear a lot of depressing news about all of the environmental challenges in the world, but this news is not always accompanied with ideas for solutions and actions people can take to make a difference. So I think the zero waste philosophy overlaps with and complements a lot of other sustainability initiatives like the plastic free movement, the climate breakdown agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals campaign, etc.
To get involved and find out more about the different events we organise and promote, people can visit our Zero Waste London Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/zerowastelondon/). I’d also recommend our Zero Waste London Facebook group which has loads of advice and tips that people share about how to live a zero waste lifestyle, it’s a fantastic resource (https://www.facebook.com/groups/zerowastelondon/)
We need to start getting not just angry, but outraged about what is happening around issues like climate breakdown, food waste, plastic pollution. We then need to channel that outrage by participating in movements and with organisations who are taking significant and concerted actions on these issues.
There is a good quote a read recently; Words are good, Actions are better.