MLLW Episode 1 – Starting a Sustainable(ish) Life with Jen Gale  

Aaaaand finally, we have launched the More Love, Less Waste podcast! Thanks for joining us. 

‘The greatest human driver of the climate crisis is now the high levels of consumer consumption’. That stat is so important because it reminds us of the impact that each and every household has on the planet. Yes it’s true that governments and corporations could be doing more, but how and what we buy as individuals really makes a difference. 

This week I’m talking to Jen Gale about how we’re buying more than ever when really we should be slowing down. Jen is an ordinary, knackered mum of two whose life changed when she challenged her family to attempt a year of not buying anything new. She is the author of The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide and The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting. Jen has also nurtured an online community of people living sustainably, having founded The Knackered Mums Eco Club and provided advice on her blog and podcast. 

Jen Gale, Author of The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide

We discuss how our habits are perpetuated by the convenience and cheapness of Amazon Prime and “fast fashion” brands, and how we can tackle this issue by empowering people to feel excited about making small changes in their lifestyles. Core to my discussion with Jen is how people often feel guilty of their typical routines and are daunted by the term “sustainability”. Jen suggests handy and simple tips so that you can help the planet just one step at a time!

Here are some of our favourite moments and stats from this week (you can find the full script at the bottom of the page):

‘Over 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions are a result of household consumption’.

‘You can still have an impact even if it doesn’t feel like you’re ticking off as many things so quickly’.

‘Sometimes we don’t realise how powerful we are as individuals, as consumers, as influencers. We don’t even need to be on social media, as we are influencing people within our household and influencing people we work with, with the choices that we make and the conversations that we have’.

Takeaways and tips:

  • Sustainability needs a rebrand! People really do put the shutters up when sustainability/eco-living is mentioned. 
  • Once you start making changes it’s easy to do more – and really hard to go back – so just start with the small things until they become habits.
  • Convenience is King – brands need to make things as easy as possible to help people switch to better options. Or we all need to slow down a little to at least change our mindset, then habits, then routine (we know, easier said than done!)

If you enjoy the podcast, help a girl out! Please leave a review and share with your friends.

Like what you heard? You can also click here to Tweet about the podcast and click here to pin it.

Episode 1 (Script):

Carley  0:01  

Okay, so I don’t want to go all Jennifer Lawrence on you from Don’t Look Up. But let’s be real and except that we create a huge amount of waste. And it’s a major reason that climate change is hurtling towards us, just like that comet. And when I say we, I mean each of us as individuals, which actually is a really positive thing, because it means that each of us can make tiny changes that really will have a huge impact. If you haven’t watched the film, go do it. But first hit the Follow button so you don’t miss an episode or any of our amazing guests who are going to help us make small changes, and live with more love, less waste. Here’s a quick summary of what that even means. Sustainability seems scary, right? A struggle expensive. Surely, we can’t do what’s best for us and the planet. Actually, we can a lot of the time and it doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down, or tackle all aspects of this huge topic. I’m going to chat with business leaders and experts about how and what we buy, all with the goal to lower waste. Because it’s no secret that we can’t just keep taking and taking from the planet. I’m particularly passionate about this as Y’earn is a rental marketplace. And we’re a community that helps each other through the big, expensive and often wasteful life moments. We’ll give you some tips to ponder and easy tips to take away in the knowledge that each of us really has the power to change the world. It feels lofty, but it’s true and it should make us feel good. So no judgement, no eco bashing, just easy wins. Please hit the Follow button, write a review, tell your friends or come chat with us and get daily tips in our more love less waste Facebook group. That can be your first small step on this journey that I hope you’ll join us on. I couldn’t be happier that Jen Gale agreed to be my first guest. If you’re already on your sustainable journey, you will no doubt have heard of her sustainable(ish) blog, podcasts and books. And if you haven’t, don’t worry, I’ll be sharing links. I want to start by saying I love the sentiment of sustainable(ish), which Jen says is doing what you can one baby step at a time. No preaching, no judgement, no expectations of eco perfection. But I mostly love her commitment to helping people understand that each of us really can make a difference in tackling climate change. We’ll talk about how it started SPOILER ALERT Jen through herself and her family in the deep end with a year of buying nothing new, how the world looks different once you start living more sustainably. For me, that seems like unnecessary plastic is jumping out at me everywhere I look. And we’ll dig into why over 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions is a result of household consumption. And how that means that we really can make a difference. I think it’s a perfect opener to explain why the more love less waste podcast exists. 

So Jen, thank you so much for joining. I can’t think of a better person to be our first guest on the show. You’ve obviously been raising awareness about sustainability for some time. 

Jen  2:43  

Thank you for having me really excited. 

Carley  2:45  

No, of course. Could you tell us about your journey? Obviously it started with a year and you were blogging about your experience about not buying new and it moved on to podcasts and the books. Will you tell us about that journey and why you started? 

Jen  2:58  

Yeah, I’,  never entirely sure why. So for us, it started with a year buying nothing new. So that was September 2012. So nearly 10 years ago now isn’t it. And we’ve got two boys, they were quite little they were sort of four and two at the time. And I just read an article about somebody doing she was doing something she called her secondhand Safari, and she was sort of partway through it. And I thought it sounded quite fun. And sort of mentioned it to my husband. And he did that thing that I think probably lots of partners do that kind of yes dear, you know anything for a quiet life and fully expected me I think to sort of get distracted because I have a lot of amazing ideas, you know, air quotes, amazing ideas. And I sort of didn’t get distracted and we sort of embarked on this year. And I still wanted to blog about it. And genuinely, it was quite naive. I hadn’t like I thought we were pretty green because we were doing our recycling like surely What else can we do like this is this is what we have to do to be green, we’re doing our recycling. Well done us, really hadn’t joined the dots at all between kind of what we were buying, and the climate crisis and what we were buying and what we were throwing away hadn’t really ever thought about what we were buying other than where we could get it cheapest when there might be a sale on. I don’t think either of us were either myself or my husband were bought up sort of particularly thrifting and shopping in secondhand shops and things like that. And I always found tourist shops a bit not daunting but frustrating like I you know, sort of go in and have a bit of a desultory flick of the rails and never really find anything and wonder out again and so it really opened a can of worms and I think probably anybody who’s started on on a sort of sustainability journey. That thing where you know, you start learning all these things and then you kind of wish you hadn’t.

Carley  4:48  

Last year even I’ve been going to my boyfriend’s house and he’s now terrified every time I go to the fridge because I’m like, Why? Why are there three packs of tomatoes like why didn’t you look before you do your food order and everything Feels like plastic is jumping out at me. Looking at this the last year or so I probably was terrible prior to that, but so you hinting that it wasn’t this fun journey that maybe you imagined. 

Jen  5:13  

So yeah, it was it was fun, and it was less, the actual buying bit was less of a challenge than I thought it was going to be. But I guess in terms of almost a sort of sudden immersion into all things, sustainability, and you know, consumption and all that kind of thing. For whatever reason, I felt like a lot of us and certainly I was it before that year, subconsciously looking away, I kind of you know, this was nearly 10 years ago, there wasn’t the awareness, the coverage and things that there was then but you know, we still well, I guess, we’ve all been aware, do you know, and this idea of kind of not wanting to look and kind of, well, it can’t be that bad, because otherwise, the government will be doing something about it, you know, fast fashion, is that bad And yes, they’re allowed to do it. And all those that was a real, I don’t know, a baptism of fire. But you know, I think it’s the same for everybody. As you said, once you start to learn about these things, you suddenly realise there’s more to learn. And there’s more to learn. And there’s more to learn, and it can quite quickly become quite overwhelming, I think. 

Carley  6:12  

Yeah. And so you had your year, and I guess it becomes it, it does feel now like a lifestyle change? And was that part of the reason that you decided to carry on with the blog and the podcast around raising awareness to other people because of that realisation that maybe we are able to do these things when we shouldn’t on the government. Is that was that the next stepping stone? 

Jen  6:37  

Yeah, definitely. And, you know, it’s like I said, What, 9? 8-9 years ago now. And so it’s been a really slow progression, I guess. So that the blog, I decided, when we were doing the year, for some reason, I was going to blog every day for the year, and that was actually the hardest bit. And but with, through doing that, and through, you know, sharing on social media and things, I met this whole community of people who felt the same way I did. And, you know, certainly, what I was doing was very alien to the rest of my family, to, to friends, things like that nobody else really sort of got it or understood it and feels really lonely sometimes. And I think everybody will appreciate that, that that sense of God, it’s just me doing this. And it’s only me who worries about it, and then actually finding this whole community online. And, you know, My biggest learning from the year was this power that we have as individuals actually to make a difference. And, you know, I remember people saying to me, at the end of the year, what are you gonna go out and buy? And I was like, I can’t really just unlearn all this stuff and go out and buy something. But also, I couldn’t just then turn my back on this community that I’ve sort of found and this community that I built up around the blog, and the feeling that maybe it was making a difference, even if I was just reaching one or two people or whatever, and changing their, you know, that is this idea of this ripple effect. So I sort of dialled back on the frequency of the blogging and that kind of thing and had a bit of a break. And I also discovered, that you know, I really enjoyed writing, and I really enjoyed being able to express myself in that way. 

Carley  8:08  

Yeah, I feel that I’ve had such a nice, I mean, this is the first episode, but we are in our first week of recording. So brought in a couple of people to talk to and it is really nice, as you say, speaking to other people that have an interest and not feeling like you’re banging banging the drum too much, or crosswise with family that buys things left, right and centre. And thinking that I’m a complete Scrooge half the time. So it’s nice to see other people that that as you say get it. So I’m sure there are so many stats, I’ve become obsessed with stats and shake my head all the time. But is this something that still fires you and makes you want to keep trying to tackle the problem and raise awareness to other people? 

Jen  8:50  

Yeah, I think it’s, it probably still is consumption, it feels a little bit like the elephant in the room like we don’t… it’s a very countercultural message to slow down or to, you know, dare we say decrease consumption. But one of the stats I came across for the first book was from a study in 2015. That said, over 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions are a result of household consumption. So on the one hand, that’s like, Oh, my God, but on the other hand, that that’s the stuff that we’re buying, the food we’re eating, how we’re travelling, things that we have direct control over, we don’t have to wait for the government to legislate. We don’t have to wait for businesses to grow a conscience and do things properly. This is stuff that we’ve got direct control over. So you know, and reducing consumption will save us money, but it’s completely aspirational, completely goes against the grain of the 1000s of messages we’re bombarded with every single day. And I can understand why it’s not necessarily a message that people want to hear. But does that mean we shouldn’t say I don’t know I still you know, all this time later can’t get my head around how we talk about that without people getting defensive and almost protective of their right to, buy what they want when they want. 

Carley  10:05  

Yeah, I mean, I’ve we’ve been talking and writing a blog too and having this discussion. And even when we’re talking about Christmas and gifting and Halloween, there’s this, there’s this element of buying shows that you care and needing all of this stuff but actually saying the opposite. It’s that you’re taking away people’s expectation and joy around showing that and I believe you can show it in other ways, you don’t always need to buy something. So definitely feeling that when whenever we’re trying to kind of show alternate options, then one, one of the biggest options is just don’t buy stuff. It just does get this reaction from people, which is like, oh, and then almost switching off. 

Jen  10:48  

I’ve been reading a book called The day the world stop shopping by a guy called JB McKinnon. And he talks about consumption in there. And the idea that actually, you know, consumption has now overtaken population as the number one driver of the climate crisis and the mess that we’re in. And the idea that actually consumption is greater now than it was 20 years ago. So at the start of the millennium, yet, I didn’t feel like we weren’t consuming particularly quickly, then do you know, so it’s, we were not necessarily asking people to stop consuming or to, to suddenly go back to the Middle Ages. Actually, can we wind our consumption back to how it was in the 2000s? Like, can we do that? I don’t.

Carley  11:32  

I’m feeling slightly from the fact you said 20 years ago was the millennium. Where did the time go? Yeah, I think it is that there’s that I keep talking about the you know, the fast fashion Amazon Prime mindset is this you know, immediacy, I can have it. It’s disposable. And it’s, it’s that shift. So yeah, you’re right. It’s not even about like, don’t buy anything, it’s just, you don’t need so much so quickly with this, throw away more. Buy things that will last, buy things that you need, buy things that don’t hurt the planet. 

Jen  12:12  

And I get it. It’s hard, isn’t it? Like, you know, I don’t know how deep it goes back. But there is something about the acquisition of stuff that we all enjoy. We all get that dopamine hit or whatever, when you know, when we buy something new, but yeah, I don’t know how we gently start to challenge that and wheel it back. 

Carley  12:31  

Why don’t we move on to eco bashing? There’s a slight link in there. So you want something that you do you know, the sustainable(ish), I love that sentiment is all you know about small changes. We’re saying, you know, we’re a rental marketplace, we’re helping people live sustainably connect their community, save money, all those types of things. But actually, we created the blog and the podcast to give busy people information and options to try and make it a little bit easier. Yeah, but the eco bashing kind of does happen. And I get it there are people that are really passionate, really see the problem really are trying to change it. So it’s frustrating. And sometimes that kind of comes across as a little bit of judgement and anger and finger pointing and and do you think some of that contributes to why maybe people aren’t making changes that it’s this. I mean, I think we’re very much like an all in and if we don’t do all of it, then we failed that people don’t want to feel like they failed. Whereas actually what we’re saying is it’s these small changes, and it’s positive. But sometimes I feel like the perception around an eco lifestyle, living, and then the perception, those people that are living like that sometimes push out, and create barrier, which really the other people that most want to invite people in.

Jen  13:50  

I think there’s still a lot of stereotypes around, you know, green living, eco living being, you know, being sustainable. And, you know, I always talk about the fact that, you know, you don’t need to live off grid and make your own yoghurt, and that kind of thing. But there’s a lot of judgement. And I’ve had people leave Amazon reviews and stuff to the books and I can’t believe she can wite a book about this and not be vegan. So I think, you know, anytime we see anybody making an effort, we ought to be encouraging them and praising them and there’s so many different shades of green. And you know, one of the other reasons I think that puts people off is it’s so it can get so complicated. So you say okay, right, okay, so we’re going to start kind of, like you think about clothes, okay, so we want to be a bit more sustainable. I’ve heard that cotton’s really bad or Well, I’ll look at organic cotton and then you get people going oh well no organic cotton’s really bad and maybe bamboo and then oh, no bamboo is really awful, you know? And so you can understand why people just go, do you know what I’m not even gonna bother. And I think the fact that a lot of these discussions are happening online doesn’t help because it’s so difficult to interpret. I can’t remember what percentage of human sort of interaction is body language rather than the spoken word, and you know when that’s written that’s even harder to interpret tone, you can interpret things, maybe differently to how they were meant. Or maybe maybe they were when meant judgementally, we don’t know. But it’s very easy to interpret them as that. And I think if these conversations were happening face to face, maybe we wouldn’t quite, I hope we wouldn’t have quite the same level of disagreement, maybe.

Carley  15:26  

There’s probably also an element on my side of thinking, Oh, God, I was, I was probably one of the least environmentally friendly people a couple of years ago. The guilt and the overhang from that, and the personal kind of pressure on it. 

Jen  15:39  

What was it? What was your I’m always absolutely fascinated by this. What was your epiphany, your kind of turning point?

Carley  15:45  

My worst moment and probably thought I was never going to share this. I lived in New York and me and my boyfriend worked at the time was super lazy. And I ordered orange juice from Amazon Prime. Because it would come in an hour and my apartment was above a Waitrose. And it was just one of these. Like, we’d slowly been using Amazon Prime for everything. And we did everything. And one day, I think we were just hungover and I was like, God, I really want some orange juice, and it didn’t have any. And he just said, Don’t worry, and ordered it. And it felt like a weird shift for me, because it was the most oh my god, somebody has gotten on a bike. Look at this box, which I was already getting quite stressed about. You know, you said about this looking away, the boxes started stressing me out. And that moment of utter laziness. I think for me, it was more an awareness of the laziness and lazy actions take an impact creatiing this impact. And that, for me was more of the mind shift. So that was, that was the big thing that I was like, oh my god, I’m contributing to this in a in a way because of my laziness. And actually, and that’s a shopping habit. So the consumption aspect was more about last minute purchases on Amazon Prime. Rather than purchasing sooner.

Jen  17:02  

It’s convenience, isn’t it? Like we’ve been sold this dream lifestyle, whatever of convenience, having what you want, when you want it for the price? You want it? You know, it’s everything that Amazon tells you is absolutely okay. And actually, convenience has become I interviewed a guy called Martin Dorey, who founded two minute beach clean for the podcast. And he talked about this idea. You know, convenience is King convenience is king in our society. But we can push back against that and actually stopping and thinking about what’s our personal why I think we’ve lost a lot of that. Certainly, before we did our year buying nothing new I bought stuff very unconsciously, very undeliberately, very unthoughtfully. And, you know, if you’d said to me, do you care about the planet? I’d say, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. But there was this big disconnect between the values that I held and the actions I was doing. And I feel like that’s a place that a lot of us are in, and because we’re so busy, and we don’t have time to stop and to think and sometimes we don’t know that there’s a different way of doing things. And we fall into lots of these habits that are convenient, whether that’s the food, we’re buying how we’re buying our clothes, all those kinds of things. Because we’re busy, and we’re tired, and we’re knackered, and, you know, our brains naturally go down the path of least resistance, but some, there is something that and for some people that was lockdown, you know, that first lockdown, that just forces us to stop and to take stock and to think, am I living a life that’s in line with my values, and I don’t, you know, I still a work in progress for me. But I think that’s, that’s really important as well to now talk about making better decisions more of the time. And sometimes you just need a bit of headspace, though to be able to do that.

Carley  18:38  

Convenience completely is a driving factor. The fact that we have gone down this path where everything’s immediate, in it takes away that thought process, even whether you are deciding that you know, the hierarchy of needs, which obviously talked about as well in your book, and do we need it, can we borrow it all those types of things, you don’t even get to that stage when it’s say like I can have it now I can have it now.

Jen  19:04  

Yeah that’s the thing I found during the that year buying nothing new was it was like a little switch had gone off in my head. And because I just knew, like we couldn’t buy the new stuff. And it does take longer you know, I think the sad reality is that to get the things we want that either cost money or time a lot more people now have a lot more disposable income than they might have done, say 50 years ago. And we live in this increasingly busy pressured world. So you know, time is the thing for a lot of people that is the thing that they’re they’re short of. And I guess sometimes, you know, if you can just order something online and it’s done, then you don’t have to keep thinking about it. Whereas you know, if you think oh, well, yeah, okay, now, I do want that. Well, when am I gonna be able to fit in a trip to the charity shops or when can I be able to, you know, is there somewhere I can rent? Is there someone I can borrow it from you? You’re still having it’s still that mental load. You know, it’s still there, isn’t it? 

Carley  19:56  

Yes. Although I think with more apps available becoming more the norm. I’m hoping we get the stage. Rather than the default when I want something that you don’t have new and all those kind of things isn’t I want it I buy it, it is I want it, there’s an option to rent it to borrow it to swap it.

Jen  20:15  

And I think that’s that’s going to be the challenge for the, you know, for businesses like yours. And for all the rental and sharing models that we see is how do we make it as convenient as Amazon Prime, you know, I was on a webinar earlier this week talking about preventing waste, and person from the Waste Authority was saying, you know, we need to make it, whatever the the option for reducing waste is more convenient than the been, you know, and it’s like, it’s almost say that the challenge for anybody looking into alternative ways of consuming stuf not necessarily owning stuff, whatever it needs, it’s almost it needs it. That’s your bench line, isn’t it? How can we make this as convenient or more convenient than Amazon? 

Carley  20:51  

Yeah, I mean, we’ve so as a marketplace, ours is slightly different. Because if you think of it, like Airbnb, you have people that create listings, and we call those Earner, they make money and people that want stuff as Yearners. I had lots of people feedback and say, Well, why are you doing the pickup and the cleaning and the drop off? Because you could just open marketplace and let it go?

Jen  21:11  

Right and also what you’re giving people a guarantee, do you know, like, if you go and pick something up off Facebook marketplace, or you order something off eBay or whatever, you don’t really know what condition it’s going to arrive in, do you know, and you’re taking, and so that puts a lot of people off thinking, Well, you know, I can just pay another X amount, and I know exactly what I’m going to get. And I know it’s going to work and it’s going to fit together and it’s going to be clean, and it’s not going to smell and all those kinds of things. And if you guys have kind of done that, you know, sort of due diligence for want of a better word that that will give people more trust. I think in that platform.

Carley  21:46  

We’ve said sustainability so many times. It’s such a massive topic, what does it mean to you, when you think about sustainability? 

Jen  21:56  

I feel like we need a new word because it’s dull, isn’t it? The minute you say sustainability, I think a lot of people, the blinds come down, and it’s just, yeah, it sounds really dull, it sounds like you’re going to be told off. It’s about creating something that is sustainable, that can go on. So living in a way that means the planet can go on, but also that’s sustainable for us in terms of our energy, the other challenges that we’ve got going on in our lives. And certainly I think for both, I guess for households as well as but for businesses, you know, it needs to be financially sustainable. So it’s trying to, to juggle all these things, and balancing the budget and trying to do things. I think as parents, we’re very much headed and more aware, but you do I think there is an awareness that comes with bringing a child into the wild, like, Oh, what is their world’s gonna look like in 30 years time? And therefore, what can I do? Or what can we be doing now to improve that?

Carley  22:53  

I like that. And to the point that it is it changes, right? So at the moment what maybe works for you today doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work in six months. And I think that’s something that we say journey and some people kind of talking about words that maybe we should change. Yeah, but it is a journey. And it also it doesn’t mean necessarily that if you stop something that it’s going backwards at times things will be convenient. And sometimes they will be affordable. Whether that’s, you know, because the time because the money is this kind of constant up and down. And so I think for me the bit in it that can be the constant is just that awareness. Make use of it at the time, I think that’s the first step.

Jen  23:35  

Yeah, you know, it can feel a lot like two steps forward and one steps back and I’ve got a membership at a members Eco Club. And you know, a lot of people quite a few people in there have been on this journey. I don’t know how many times we’ve said  journey for a little while and a sort of a sense of frustration of like, I’ve done all the easy bits. Now I’ve done all the low hanging fruit and and what do I do now and then feeling really guilty that they’re not, you know, making this same because I think when you first start, you can, you can make quite a lot of changes quite quickly. And it’s quite, very satisfying. And it’s quite exciting. And then you’ve reached this point where you sort of plateau, and really trying to remind everybody that it feels like you’re not doing anything now because these things have been become your new normal. And that’s amazing to reach a point where this is your new normal, and you’re not even thinking about these things anymore. So you know, you’re still having an impact, even though it doesn’t feel like you’re ticking off so many things so quickly. Like we’re going away next week. And you know, we haven’t got room in the car to take a load of the food and the bits that we normally would with us. So I know that we’re gonna be going and buying a load of plastic package stuff from the supermarket and things and just being okay with that. 

Carley  24:42  

Yeah. I’ve been kind of looking at big brands and industry and things like we’re doing we’ve talked about, like individuals making change. Do you think there’s more that the government should be doing other kinds of groups forums to help kind of raise awareness in the first place?

Jen  25:00  

Yeah, um, you know, one of the things I will sometimes get levelled at me is, you know, it shouldn’t all be on consumers, this is what businesses want or they can be sort of wiggle off the hook by putting all the emphasis on us and things. But also, I think taking control of the things we can take control of, and a lot of those are our individual buying decisions and things but we forget how powerful we are. Sometimes we don’t even realise how powerful we are as individuals, as consumers as the idea that we’re all influencers. So actually, you know, we don’t need to have a, even beyond social media, because we’re really influencing the people in our in our household we’re influence the people that we work with, with the choices that we make and the conversations that we have. But I also think that once we start to make a few changes, and maybe we meet a few other people, whether that’s online or in real life, who are on the same page and realise that we’re not quite certain that gives us maybe the confidence to send an email to a brand or send a tweet or to get in touch with our MP, or it’s completely out of my comfort zone. But you know, maybe go on a climate strike or, but without having made those sort of small individual changes, first, maybe we wouldn’t have got to the, you know, a lot of people would find it very difficult, I think, to jump straight from doing nothing to going on a climate strike or to emailing their MP or whatever. And so there is a huge amount we can do. And absolutely, you know, one of the things that I often put in sort of talks is that actually, we need this kind of Venn diagram where we’ve got businesses and governments and individuals, and we’re all in that sweet spot in the middle overlapping, but we absolutely can influence businesses, and we can influence governments. And even if you think about, say, plastic, that whole plastics movement, we’ve had changes in legislation, we’ve had changes in the way businesses act, we’ve had changes in the way businesses market themselves and things because of individual pressure. And people going this is nuts like this needs to change. So like never, never underestimate yourself. So if you work in an organisation, use your power in that organisation. As a change agent. I always feel like that needs to be a bit like a secret agent or something. 

Carley  27:01  

I used to work in change management. I used to love it when people thought of me a change agent. 

Jen  27:05  

Yeah, so but you know, you can be saying, because I used to be a vet, and I would, I was working in practice, and there was no recycling, and I’d just sort of tutt and mutter and grumble. And then actually when I finally sort of plucked up the courage to why don’t we do any recycling yet great idea, been wanting to get on that for ages, but just don’t have time? Can you sort this out for me, but being the person who asks the question, or who comes up with an idea or a solution, because the more of us that are doing that, the more the more change that will happen. So sometimes it is a case of just being a bit brave. And being that person sometimes.

Carley  27:42  

Do you have at the moment a favourite sustainable brand product service, I’m sure you’ve got lots but anything, anything new that that’s bringing you a bit of joy at the moment?

Jen  27:53  

We’ve just just had as we were either speaking or delivery from something called the good club. And it’s like a zero waste shopping online. So you can go online and so we’ve the guys just come just dropped off a box. And inside there’s lots of little plastic, reusable containers. And I’ve got pasta, I’ve got rice, I’ve got raisins, I’ve got some Herbes, Coco loads of different things. And then so my job this afternoon is going to be to empty them out into all my Tupperware and things at home, put them back in and then just go and drop the I can either just leave it outside for them to collect tomorrow, or I can take it up to my local Hermes or whatever. I think it’s a really great service because it is making zero waste more accessible and more convenient for a lot of people. But having said that, you know, please do remember to support your local independent Zero Waste shop as much as you can as well and some of them will deliver as well. If you have one near you. 

Carley  28:44  

I usually wrap with something that you know that you do that isn’t particularly environmentally friendly, just to show that even everybody that’s coming on and is passionate about it, that we are all human and do things that, at first I was gonna share one each time. I was like no, I’m just gonna keep showing that I’m a bad person even though I’m trying to do good, but okay, Jen hit us.

Jen  29:07  

Well, I wrote a blog post I think it was last year it was like 10 things I do that you know, made me a crap environmentalist. And so yeah, we’re not vegan. We’re not we’re working our way towards vegetarian but you know, trying to get the kids on board with that is a bit challenging at times. And the example I always use and it’s quite a small thing but plastic when you’re looking at you know, reducing plastic everybody’s the, you know, the first tip that any zero waste or plastic free blog will give you is soap like just just switch to soap, it’s really easy, switch to shampoo bars. And like we tried it and I even made our own soap, you know, but it was just, I don’t think the kids were washing their hands. My husband didn’t really like it. I couldn’t I couldn’t find a shampoo bar that worked that I got on with although I have now tried. There’s one called KIND2  so k i n d and then the number two and that’s great. I’ve used that one a few times and that’s really great. But yeah, so now what we do is we buy big five litre bottles of shampoo and shower gel online, get them delivered and just refill our own and then the shower gel does just hand wash and bubble bath and so it’s not you know, again, it’s not plastic free, it wouldn’t get past the plastic free police but it’s a lot less plastic and it’s finding that compromise that works for us as a family and then being okay with that I think.

Carley 30:28

Yeah, like you say, it is a step forward to just be like okay I’m doing my part we don’t have to be perfect. Great, well thank you so much for talking to me, thank you.

Jen 30:40

Thanks so much for having me.

Carley 30:45

Phew, first show done. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you raised an eyebrow, covered your face, shook your head at some point, any kind of reaction. Now after 10 years since Jen did her first year of nothing new, she’s doing it again in ‘22. It might be a leap for a lot of you but I urge you to go check it out, because even adopting the nothing new mantra for a month or just in one area of your life like in fashion, could help you shift to a broader more love less waste mindset. We love reusing, buying second hand, sharing, renting, upcycling, the list goes on. And the point is we can and should break this habit of mindlessly buying and ignoring how consumption hurts the planet. Next time I’m talking with Martyn O’Dell aka The Lagom Chef about food waste because it’s a massive issue but also a really easy one to fix. If you didn’t know 40% of food produced globally ends up in landfill, it’s now the top priority to help us fight climate change above plastic even. We laughed, we winced, mostly him at my obsession with stats, and we agreed that his philosophy of just eat the food you buy really could be the easiest way for each of us to help save the planet.

Hit follow so you don’t miss our upcoming guests, including the founder of No Waste Jose and Olio, and a wonderful array of sustainable businesses that will help us all live with More Love Less Waste.

Y'earn Baby & Kids

Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people and small businesses in your community or make some cash if you have items you don't need right now. We plant 🌲 and adopt 🐝, plus give to children’s charities.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply