To round out Earth Month (and by that, we mean Earth Life!), we had the absolute pleasure of chatting all things sustainability with our new friend Kathryn Kellogg. Kathryn is the founder of Going Zero Waste a lifestyle website dedicated to helping others live a healthier and more sustainable life. She’s a spokesperson for plastic-free living for National Geographic, Chief Sustainability Officer at the One Movement, and author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste which breaks eco-friendly, sustainable living down into an easy step by step process with lots of positivity and love.
We’d love to hear about your path to living a more sustainable lifestyle.
What compelled you to start your journey with Going Zero Waste?
It might be surprising but didn’t start going zero waste because I loved the planet. I didn’t grow up in an eco conscious household, and didn’t even start recycling until I was in college. I actually started practicing many of these habits out of financial necessity and for health reasons.
It all clicked for me when I moved to California that the changes I was making my personal health weren’t only better for me, they were also better for the planet.
As we were doing our research about making the switch from glass bottles to aluminum cans for our kombucha, we learned some unexpected facts about recycling and packaging.
What are some of the most eye-opening facts you’ve learned on your sustainability journey?
Probably that we eat a clothing hangers worth of plastic every month. (source) I mean, can you imagine eating a clothing hanger? And, that you’re eating 12 a YEAR!? That’s a lot of plastic.
Your motto is “It’s not about perfection; it’s about making better choices.” and we love that! It’s so true!
Do you have any advice for beginners who are looking to make better choices?
A lot of people want to do something, but don’t know where to start. Ditch the idea of perfection and just get started. Here’s two easy and impactful things you can do. Ditch disposables and raise your voice!
A lot of people think using disposable items saves water. Which makes sense on the surface, right?
Throwing away paper plates = no water being used to clean dishes.
Throwing away paper towels = no water being used to wash the rags.
But, there's A LOT more to the story.
It takes 8 gallons of water to create ONE paper plate. (epa)
It takes 37 gallons of water to create ONE roll of toilet paper (scientific american)
It takes 3 liters of water to create ONE liter of bottled water (academy of sciences)
Water is used in the creation of every. single. Product, and in the long run, it saves A LOT of water to reuse the same items over and over again.
So, ditch disposable items and opt for reusable ones!
Get in a monthly habit of writing your legislators and businesses. Individual action is great, but we need policy and businesses making serious change too. 71% of emissions come from 100 companies so raise your voice and be prepared to get active!
How can we be better consumers? What are some ways to be more intentional when shopping or supporting businesses?
Before buying anything make sure you really truly need it. I always like to wait 30 days before buying anything new. This ensures that what I bring into my life is something I love and will truly cherish.
- Do you really need it?
- Is it really necessary?
- Can something else make do?
- Do you need to own it?
When I do buy products, I like to look for sustainable manufacturing, that the company gives back, ethical sourcing, mindful packaging, and that workers are paid a fair wage for their labor. I like to verify with 3rd Party Certificates like Fair Trade, B Corp, etc.
If there was one thing you wanted people to know about sustainability what would it be?
A lot of people think zero waste living is expensive, but it’s important to remember the most eco-friendly thing you can do is use what you already have.
It’s not about running out and buying the latest and greatest eco-friendly product - it’s about mending, repairing and repurposing - as a bonus this saves A LOT of money!
How do you stay informed? Are there any resources, websites, or accounts you recommend following?
Gosh, there are so many accounts I love to follow!
Podcasts: How to Save a Planet and Green Dreamer
Books: A Terrible Thing to Waste, All We Can Save, Braiding Sweetgrass, Story of Stuff, Estrogeneration, and for more eco reads check out my book club!
A few IG Accounts:
Are you working on any exciting projects right now? If so, do you want to share a little bit about them?
I can’t announce it yet, but would love to share with you in a month or two when it’s live!
How can our community connect with you online?
And be sure to check out my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste.
They say three beverages is the ideal number to keep at your desk… what are your top three?
A cup of coffee at 7 am, 3 32 oz mason jars of water all day, and booch in a wine glass for happy hour, which I’m starting early today. Cheers!