TOP’s Most Inspiring Eco-Warrior Experts on Zero Waste
By: Annie Shea
In recent years, the phrases “low waste,” “zero waste,” or “waste free” have been trending among environmentalists and others who care deeply about the future of our planet. But what does “zero waste” actually mean? The answer is quite simple. It aims to send nothing to a landfill. That means reduce what you need, reuse what you have, recycle what you can and compost the rest. The ultimate goal of the zero waste movement is to redefine our society’s system where we can write trash out of existence. Here are our top picks for eco-warriors around the world who are the experts in this budding new industry..
1. Bea Johnson is the author of the bestselling book, Zero Waste Home, which inspired a movement to adopt a new way of life. Her guidelines are simple: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot (and in that order.) She travels the country in her little zero-waste-home-on-wheels making appearances, sharing her lifestyle and tips on living low waste. The New York Times referred to her as the “Priestess of Waste-Free Living.” Check out her blog and Instagram for easy tips on living tiny and sustainably.
2. Carly and Brenden are a dynamic duo fighting for sustainability in Florida. Brenden is a former US Marine who credits his time in the Corps, combined with the documentaries Cowspiracy and Vegucated, with his decision to alter his life and go vegan. Carly had a different route as she was raised in a home that valued sustainability and taught her to respect Mother Earth. Her first job was at a raw & vegan cafe which she credits with framing her views on the world and the reason behind her “high-vibrational, plant-based eating habits.” Together, Carly and Brenden created The Sustainable Duo where they promote sustainability and a vegan diet, sell zero-waste survival kits, and run a zero waste program where they turn plastic wrappers into school desks, flooring and benches.
3. Connie Cao is a Melbourne, Australia-based lifestyle blogger with a huge passion for the planet. Her bread & butter is her Instagram profile where she creates beautiful photographs of her travels around the world and shares stories of her eco-friendly journey. Right now, she’s working towards creating a fully sustainable and self-sufficient home complete with a food garden oasis, while simultaneously studying to receive her Diploma in Sustainable Living at the University of Tasmania. You can check out her Youtube channel where she shares travel guides and gardening vlogs.
4. Kathryn Kellogg calls herself a “climate optimist” and is the author of 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste. She also happens to be National Geographic’s spokesperson for plastic-free living! On her Instagram you’ll find tips on living low-waste and a behind the scenes look at her sustainable life in San Francisco, California. But Kathryn didn’t always live as eco-friendly as she does now. The lifestyle alteration was actually spurred by a breast cancer scare when she was in college. Thankfully, the tumors turned out to be benign but the pain they caused wouldn’t subside. She began reducing her contact with plastic, cooking from scratch, watching her sugar and caffeine intake, and opting for “green” products in any way she could as a means to avoid unnecessary endocrine disruptors. After moving to a more holistic lifestyle, she has now been pain free for over 3 years! Check out her blog to read more on her inspiring story and learn more tips on going zero waste.
5. Based in Denmark, Gittemary Johansen is a digital content creator who provides tips on reducing trash and adopting non-materialistic values. She actually has an online lecture titled the Zero Waste Crash Course that “breaks down the most polluting industries and how we can affect them.” She really shines, however, on Youtube where she has over 60,000 subscribers tuning in to her videos like a “Composting Guide,” or “7 Days Of Sustainable Outfits,” or “10 Hacks To Avoid Food Waste.” Be sure to check out her Instagram as well for a more day to day look at how she is living waste free.
6. Shia Su, author of Zero Waste, and the face behind ultra-popular Instagram account, @_wastelandrebel_, is a sustainability guru. Every single piece of unrecyclable garbage Shia has produced in one year fits into a mason jar. But if that seems overwhelming, she’s here to tell you it’s not as hard as it seems. She considers herself a “tiny living enthusiast” and resides in a 320 square foot apartment with her partner. Check out her website if you’re interested in zero-waste recommendations, plant-based recipes and what a typical day in her life looks like.
To meet other young eco-warriors inspiring climate change activism around the world, check out more of our stories.