iN VIDEO: How this woman is leading the way to zero waste in the Okanagan - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: How this woman is leading the way to zero waste in the Okanagan

Shayne Meechan with Green Okanagan poses for a photo with her car kit of reusable containers that help her say no to single-use plastics and get her closer to generating zero waste.
April 10, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Shayne Meechan is as close to a zero waster as anyone could reasonably expect to get, but she’s still falling short.

While the average Canadian tosses 700 kilograms of garbage into dumps each year, she estimates that she’s down to about six kilograms.

Meechan’s not at all bothered that she hasn't hit the zero mark.

“I like to call it a journey,” she told “It’s really about doing the best you can.”

Meechan moved to Kelowna from Calgary and co-created the Green Okanagan website last fall. Along with the website and Green Okanagan's social media presence, the organization also holds regular face-to-face gatherings.

“My journey started about a year-and-a-half ago,” she said. “I thought I was doing a lot of good things for being sustainable. I was vegetarian. I bought second-hand. I mostly tried to shop local. Then I did a bit of a waste audit on myself. Instead of having my recyclables or my garbage go directly out to the curb right away, I actually had it sit out on my counter and I looked at the areas where I could improve. Then I looked for the options to start making those improvements.”

That means, first of all, not buying things that are not necessary.

It also means carrying a car kit with drink and food containers, cloth napkins and bags – handy for eating on the road, being invited unexpectantly for coffee or doing some shopping. It means finding stores that allow the reuse of containers. Some bulk stores even trust customers to weigh their own jars. And it means composting, being conscious of packaging since even recycling has a large environment impact and knowing the best ways to recyle different products.

Meechan has approached the journey to zero waste by taking a positive approach by educating people on options available in the Okanagan rather than judging them on what they do toss out.

“It’s not about shaming people,” she said. “It’s about meeting people where they are right now in their journey. Just because I live this way doesn’t mean I’m better or worse than anyone else. We’re all trying to do the best with the knowledge and the abilities and the resources we have. As far as I know, I haven’t lost any friends over this. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way.”

That includes Kayla Bruce who she met through zero waste discussions and is a co-creator of the Green Okanagan website that is billed as a “Home for Environmental Sustainability.”

“There’s a large community starting to grow from social media,” she said. “The movement is growing in the Okanagan.”

While the website contains a soon-to-be-updated list of supportive businesses and tips on how to reduce waste, it also talks about things like shopping local and composting. The list of business includes large grocery chains, many of whom boast of providing local products and produce when in season.

While Meechan freely acknowledges more needs to be done, her focus is on encouraging, not criticizing.

“We’re more focused on showing people what is already available to us in the Okanagan,” she said.

If you have questions about the zero waste movement or want more information on how to go zero waste, check out the Green Okanagan website here, or follow Green Okanagan on Instagram. Green Okanagan also meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at BNA Brewing in Kelowna from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
InfoTel News Ltd

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