Tag Archives: zero waste lifestyle

Loop Coach Programme - Loop Coaches Paola and Aigul at The Green Race

Loop Coach Programme Launches for 2018!

Loop Coach Programme

While continuing to coach private clients, LoopUnite is opening new Loop Coach public group programmes with Dream Impact, our partner sponsoring the venue. There will be three programmes to look forward to this year:

1  Low Impact Lifestyle

Reduce 80% of your household rubbish within one month.

2  Zero Waste Lifestyle

Start your own Zero Waste annual jar and reduce your recyclables and compostables.

3   Circular Lifestyle

Start to think in system, get to know the bigger issues and make a larger impact at a community level.

Our first programme, Low Impact Lifestyle, is ready and currently taking student registrations. The second and third programmes will begin shortly.

LoopUnite Coach Programmes: How to reduce 80% of your household waste in one month

Delighted with the early interest we have already attracted, we are looking forward to more people joining us. If you, your family and friends are interested, please join our FREE intro session on 12 January at Dream Impact co-working space, Lai Chi Kok.

Loop Coach classes are limited to a maximum of 10 students. You can reach a dramatic reduction in your waste in just four sessions with Loop Coach, and be part of our Loop Tribe community. Together we will support each other to live a sustainable life.

We look forward to meeting you very soon!

 

Check out more details of our Loop Coach programme on our Facebook and Eventbrite page.

Zero Waste 2017 and 2018 Goals

Gifts were opened, fireworks died down, and today my jet lag is finally over. The New Year has arrived, but before I embrace it, I’m taking a day for annual reflection and set my vision for  2018. So here goes.

“2017 was undoubtedly an eventful year.”

On the bright side, I married the most amazing man, Adam, and gained a wonderful new family in the UK. We built a comfortable life in Hong Kong and went on some amazing adventures together. I discovered that my passion for environmental issues had been consistent, so I founded an eco-minded startup, LoopUnite. I also met a talented multilingual brand journalist and entrepreneur called Aigul, who became my co-founder.

On the down side, LoopUnite experienced a number of pivots that slowed us down – apparently quite normal for startups! With hindsight, those pivots were valuable journeys which enabled us to find our company’s core value: coaching those interested in living a truly sustainable life in an urban environment like Hong Kong by practicing Zero Waste Lifestyle.

My 2017 Zero Waste Jar

The first of January 2017 was a day similar to that of today. My reflection on that day convinced me I was ready to start my zero waste jar. Not knowing what size I needed, I decided to start with my smallest and adjusted with time. Every time my rubbish outgrew the jar, I moved it to one slightly bigger, until I reached the final rubbish weight on 31 Dec 2017 of 289 gram (not including the jar).

Rubbish for me was waste that I couldn’t managed to avoid or divert from landfill. It’s important to note that I still recycled and composted, confident that my recyclables and compostables were accountably processed to be part of another production cycle. I also offset my other environmental impact with online carbon calculators, especially the flights I took, and contributed to various local charities and social causes, both by donating my time and money.

Whenever I showed the jar and repeated my story to an audience, I saw jaws dropping in the room. Disbelief quickly turned into curiosity and a myriad of questions on how I managed to did it. I realised that people did (and do) care about their environment, but at a loss on how to do better, and that’s how the idea of Loop Coach came about.

My 2018 Zero Waste Goal

Adam and I used the same jar in 2017, but this year we are experimenting with separate jars, to monitor our individual waste. We will also invest in new ways and alternative products to further reduce our recyclables and compostables.

For example, in 2017 we used Nespresso pods and returned them to the shop to be recycled. For 2018, we have decided to keep our machine, but use reusable stainless steel pods and buy coffee in bulk. The coffee waste is added to our compost tumbler to produce even better quality compost. The solution works by having a few reusable pods and load them up once a week for convenience – we will also save a great deal of money in the long run.

Business-wise, Aigul and I believe that sustainable living is a practical skill that everyone can learn over a short period of time, practice for life, and will never go out of fashion. That’s why LoopUnite will focus on developing the Loop Coach Programme in 2018.

Loop Coach Programme

While continuing to coach private clients, LoopUnite is opening new Loop Coach public group programmes with Dream Impact, our partner who sponsors the space. There will be three programmes to look forward to this year:

  1. Low Impact Lifestyle: reduce 80% of your household rubbish within one month
  2. Zero Waste Lifestyle: start your Zero Waste annual jar and reduce your recyclables and compostables Circular
  3. Lifestyle: Start to think in system, get to know the bigger issue and produce larger impact in community level.

Delighted with the early interest we have already attracted, we are looking forward to more people joining us. If you, your family and friends are interested, please join our FREE intro session on 12 January at Dream Impact co-working space, Lai Chi Kok.

Loop Coach classes are limited to a maximum of 10 students. You can reach a dramatic reduction in your waste in just four sessions with Loop Coach, and be part of our Loop Tribe community. Together we will support each other to live a sustainable life.

Have a happy and waste-free 2018!

 

Check out more details of our Loop Coach programme on our Facebook and Eventbrite page.

 

Image of Christmas package using string

Happy Zero Waste Christmas!

So one of the most wasteful seasons is upon us – that time of year when we all feel obliged to buy one another gifts, just because it’s Christmas. So how do we turn our season of goodwill into a zero waste Christmas?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have once again done their evil deed and encouraged most of us to buy things for ourselves, friends and family we probably didn’t really need. Up-graded that smartphone to the latest model when our current one works perfectly well for example. This point was well proven this year as Cyber Monday’s revenue was driven by smartphones with sales hitting an all time high at $1.59 Billion.

Sadly analytics illustrate that in the US alone, Cyber Monday broke all records with over $1 Billion more spent online this year, totaling a staggering $6.59 Billion, while Black Friday online sales were not too far behind at $5.03 billion.

So how do we stop ourselves from being tempted to enter Christmas retail madness? How do we ignore those comical and ‘must have’ gift trends that come and go? Those plastic Fidget Spinners are a classic example, currently the height of fashion, but we all know they will end up discarded and replaced by the next craze on the block.

Enough Is Enough

Long fed up with buying presents just for the sake of it, I thought I’d share some of my top tips with you on how I make my Christmas as zero waste as possible.

1. Peruse the Local Antique Shops

My youngest daughter loves retro china and there are always hidden treasures to be found.

2. Organic Candles

Always a popular with friends and family and at the end of their life can be used as a drinking glass or a small vase.

3. Gift an Experience

These have always gone down so well with my family – from track and spa days, to adventure weekends in the mountains. There are many companies offering experiences in Hong Kong. Gift Something is one with its selection of high-end gifts, while the latest VR experiences offer packages from as low as $33 per hour.

Promise coupon

4. Girls’ Night In/Night on the Town

My eldest daughter lives locally, but we both lead such busy lives we rarely have time to catch up. So we regularly gift a night together; a homemade ‘take out’ with a bottle of sparkle or a night out in the city – cocktails and dinner always go down well. We’ve been using this card for several years now, but we never know when we’ll receive it back.

5. Adopt a Pet

Perfect for someone who loves animals but does not have the time or space at home for them. The SPCA saves 1,000s of animals every year and only 1% of their funding comes from the Government. The charity depends upon the generous Hong Kong people to enable them to continue their work of helping animals in need everyday. All donations over the amount of $HK100 are eligible for tax deduction in Hong Kong. Or support an international organisation such as WWF and gift a subscription.

Millionaire shortcake

6. Start Baking and Creating

My Millionaire Shortcake (pictured above) and homemade cookies go down a storm with my sons. I also reuse any glass screw top bottles and make liquid goodies – my Limoncello, and botanical gins have proved most welcome as gifts. And the bonus is if they return the bottle they get the same again next year!

7. Recycled Toys

eBay is great for discovering quality for secondhand toys, or do what I did and buy up complete Lego sets from a neighbour’s son who had no interest in them and so were in pristine condition. Lego is great as it recycles indefinitely, but it is so expensive. In the UK you can buy a membership to Lego, which is an excellent idea. Check out your area to see if there is something similar, or you could organise your child a special party by hiring the toys – the Hong Kong Toy Club’s mission is to ‘deliver joy’.

8. Enjoy A Good Read

My husband always appreciates an Amazon voucher for his Kindle ebooks. Two years ago he bought me a 12-month Audible membership, perfect for car journeys and a great listen for drifting off to sleep when your eyes are too tired to read.

Christmas trees from upcycled corks and bottles

9. Christmas Tree and Decorations

Importing trees into Hong Kong from the US has caused much controversy on Facebook recently, owing to the contribution this makes to the carbon footprint, and so avoiding buying one altogether is always recommended. I’m lucky enough to have a garden and last year bought a small, sustainably and ethically grown tree with roots for replanting in a pot each year. It’s enjoyed summer and is currently waiting patiently outside to shine again during the festive season with its outdoor solar lights.

But why not decorate your locally grown house plant, or create your own tree by upcycling? There are some fabulous ideas on Pinterest; above are a couple that feature in pubs.

The traditional alternative to a real tree is an artificial one, again not ideal as it’s usually made of non-recyclable PVC. It’s been estimated that you’d need to use a PVC tree for at least 20 years to make up for the amount of energy used in its production. Some artificial trees are made of more environmentally friendly materials today, so it’s worth shopping around. With this option it’s best to choose with care and keep your tree for as long as possible.

My artificial tree is now 17 years old and so still has some way to go. We store it carefully and each year it comes out as good as new. I bought traditional baubles and tinsel with my first ever tree many moons ago and they’re still going strong. We added one or two each year – each holds a special memory and everyone takes great delight in hunting out their favourites when they visit. Brian sits proudly at the top – he’s a hand knitted snowman I made as a gift for my daughter when she was three and at 29 she still squeals with delight when she sees him. We’ll share him with you on Instagram nearer to Christmas.

Be creative and use nature’s naturals to decorate your home. We make our own organic decorations – so easy and great fun to make. Please don’t use glitter; icing sugar to dust rather than artificial snow is also a perfect substitute.

E-card illustrating a tiger and WWF logo

10. Sending Cards and Gifts

Around 9,000 trees are cut down to produce approximately 180 million red packets (lai see) used in Hong Kong. By adopting some of the suggestions above, the need for packaging is removed.

I always used to support my favourite charities by buying and sending their cards; now the majority of friends receive an e-card and I donate to charity instead. Any cards I receive are made into gift tags the following year.

Finally, why not use old magazines or newspaper to gift wrap – I have a friend who loves to travel so she always gets the travel pages. I use string rather than Sellotape and if they unwrap at mine I pinch it back and reuse it in the garden! Also gift bags can be recycled again and again.

Happy zero waste compliments of the festive season everyone!

 

E-card image reproduced courtesy of Edwin Giesbers and WWF

Bea Johnson with husband Scott at their home in California

Bea Johnson – Zero Waste Pioneer

Interview with Bea Johnson

Anyone with an interest in zero waste needs no introduction to Bea Johnson.

Pioneer of the modern zero waste movement, this French mum based in California created an incredible impact on thousands of people and countries around the world. Her bestselling book Zero Waste Home, published in 2013, has been translated into 19 languages, with the term ‘zero waste’ becoming a new norm.

Bea’s journey to a zero waste lifestyle back in 2008, transformed her into an expert and advocate for sustainability, a speaker at high level events across the Globe, and an inspiration for many people. In a Skype interview with LoopUnite!, Bea shared her thoughts on the movement, the latest updates and gives advice for policy makers seeking efficient ways of waste management on a large scale.

Q. It’s only been a few years since the first release of your book. How do you evaluate your impact and massive following around the World?

A. Our first media appearance dates back to 2010. The New York Times published an article [in which Bea was dubbed the Priestess of Waste-Free Living], where our family was featured as an example of a modern, but simple lifestyle. We discovered our simple life when we, as a family, embarked on a zero waste journey. Our two children were the key motivation for our lifestyle change, but we didn’t look too far. Now I can publicly say that we inspired the Global movement. How far did it go? Thousands of people around the World switched to sustainable living, they published hundreds of blogs, and created zero waste related businesses. Eight bulk buying stores – meaning zero packaging – were opened in Montreal after I had spoken there. Five similar stores were opened in Dublin and Cape Town. We proved that going zero waste is doable anywhere in the World.

Q. How did your personal and professional life change?

A. I used to work as an artist specialising in auctions. Then I discovered that zero waste also allows me to express creativity, and it transforms how I approach my art. Making meals from leftovers encourages you to be inventive. Same with the household: DIY products require a lot of creativity. Later I discovered that every household is more or less the same with repetitive patterns. This is how the idea of my book was born. I put together the system for creating a zero waste home. It also inspired me to help those who wanted to launch their stores.

Q. Has the World become more sustainable in the recent years? What now needs to be done urgently?

A. It definitely varies from country to country. Some have managed to be able to separate waste, while others need to change their policies and make it easier for their citizens to live sustainably. If I had to advise on the main steps for a country to go zero waste, they’d be the following:

  • Abolish incinerators if you have them. Having them enables destruction of resources; these machines need to be fed for years, but they don’t completely filter toxics.
  • Reduce the waste – ban all single-use products.
  • Pay for throwing away the rubbish and enable reuse of the discarded waste.
  • Build convenient drop off locations for discarded materials.

 

Photo credit: Zona Foto/Coleman-Rayner

You can discover more about Bea and follow her blog on her website here.