I’ve always been one to recycle, pick up trash if I see it on the ground, not litter and to reuse or reduce as much waste as possible, but over the last year and a half to two years I’ve wanted to learn and gain more awareness and knowledge about plastic pollution, zero waste, composting, reducing and reusing product/items and just what I can do everyday to help make a difference. So, with all of that, I started following Ginny who runs the @ZeroWasteBuffalo account on Instagram, from there a few months ago I joined the Zero Waste Buffalo group on Facebook that is run by Kim Meurer. While I once thought these were run by the same person, they aren’t, but they have the same objective - to reduce waste by following the 5 R’s.
“1. Refuse what we do not need,
2. Reduce what we do need,
3. Reuse by swapping out anything disposable for a reusable alternative AND by buying secondhand,
4. Recycle what we cannot refuse, reduce or reuse, and
5. Rot, that is, we compost the rest.”
Ginny began Zero Waste Buffalo in 2016, having always been conscious of the earth and the zero waste lifestyle, she uses her platform to provide lifestyle tips to the community, provides knowledge on how to do things (in Buffalo), shares events that companies may be hosting and even puts together collaborations/events with other local business owners to host things such as Zero Waste Buffalo Meetups (like the one at Buffalo Shopcraft this past March), “Potluck Picnics” and “Buy Nothing Project” which is a nationwide initiative where people ask for things or give things away - i.e.; moving boxes, tissue paper, irons, kids toys - its really a project that’s goal is to reduce consumption by reusing what others may have and don’t want anymore. Ginny has a North Buffalo group on Facebook (check it out here).
Kim began the Zero Waste Buffalo group on Facebook in Dec. 2017. Having always recycled and been conscious of the environment she watched the documentary called A Plastic Ocean (here is the link to the trailer for those who want to see it) from watching this it opened her eyes to wanting to do more and to learn more. With that, she created the Facebook group for people in the Buffalo community to come together and share their knowledge, share articles, ask questions and ultimately be a support group for one another.
Both Kim and Ginny are doing the same thing essentially - giving the community a place to connect and share their knowledge on how to reduce waste in your lifestyle. Whether you’ve grown up being taught the 5 R’s or you’re just learning at a later stage in life, you have to make the best choices for you.
People may not think about the waste that gets thrown into the water and in the environment on a daily basis because the don’t see it, so they don’t think it hurts us, but, REALITY CHECK, it does. Nationwide you are seeing more and more pictures, news articles and documentaries on plastic pollution. It’s the activism from people who are using their voice to be heard to encourage everyone to put in more of an effort in our lives and our communities to be more sustainable.
Outside of you being responsible for the choices you make, businesses can also take a better approach to providing less choices to the consumer, such as, not giving out plastic straws, cups or utensils at restaurants, to offering incentives like a $1 off your drink for bringing in or bringing back a mason jar. We live in a world that our culture is all about convenience right now and being able to use creative marketing and coming together as a group to solve the problem is important.
Having asked what their favorite thing about Buffalo is, Kim, who moved here with her family from Los Angeles says the people are super nice and friendly. Coming from L.A. where everyone is super competitive all the time, its a nice change. Ginny also agrees the people are nice and very open. Seeing the community growth, support and in general having people be accepting of new things, it’s easier to try/start new things in WNY than compared to NY or other larger cities.
Finally I wanted to leave you with some everyday, EASY tips Ginny and Kim provided to me that you can do as well .
CHECK IT OUT:
Bring your reusable bags to the stores - use these in replace of plastic bags
Shampoo & Conditioner bars (you can find them at Whole Foods in Amherst) - use these just like your regular shampoo and conditioner without the plastic bottles
Carry your water bottle with you always
Purchase a bamboo toothbrush
For the females - replacing your tampons or pads with a reusable menstrual cup -save yourself from toxic crap but also save yourself money each month!
Carry a spork, mason jar, reusable straw, to-go container for food in your bag with you if you’re going to be out of the house for a while
Plan ahead depending on your day having items in your bag when you’re on the go or in your car are some easy ways to help eliminate everyday waste. People have a misconception that it’s more expensive to live a sustainable lifestyle, but its really not. These simple tips can actually save you some money if you just take the time to plan accordingly.
If you’d like to reach out to Ginny and/or Kim to talk to you or your company about sustainability and zero waste, they are happy to do speaking engagements.
Thank you Ginny and Kim for the tips, knowledge and info you shared with me when we met and thank you for what you share on your platforms to make a positive influence in our community.