iN VIDEO: There's more than one way to a zero-waste lifestyle | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: There's more than one way to a zero-waste lifestyle

FILE PHOTO - Spices stored in reusable Mason jars.
May 21, 2021 - 6:00 AM

The co-creator of a zero-waste non-profit says she no longer limits herself to keeping track of waste by keeping it in a small jar.

Shayne Meechan used to keep her garbage in a jar in order to measure her waste, but shortly after speaking with iNFOnews in 2019, she abandoned the trend.

“The jar, to me, closed off more doors than it opened for people. I live a certain life that allows me to create a very minimal amount of waste… and what we really focus on at Green Okanagan is that every small step makes a difference and we would never want people to be discouraged from looking at ways to reduce their waste because they couldn’t fit all their garbage into a jar.”

READ MORE: New compost service begins in Kelowna, Lake Country

It’s not about people comparing her waste to their waste, she said.

“Zero waste living is not a zero sum game. It’s really about journeying and doing your best and being a mindful, conscious consumer.”

The trend made headlines back in 2016 when one New Yorker was featured in multiple international media outlets for keeping a year's worth of trash in a single jar.

Despite not keeping up with the trend, Meechan said more people in the Okanagan are adopting zero-waste lifestyles, reflected in the numerous zero-waste stores that have sprung up across the region. That could include organizations like her. She co-created the Green Okanagan website back in 2018.

While the average Canadian wastes 79 kilograms of food at home per year, according to the United Nations, Meechan estimates that she still only throws out about six kilograms. She continues to find the best ways to share the benefits of that lifestyle with others.

“We’ve really seen the movement towards reducing your waste, maximizing your impact and supporting local businesses grow,” Meechan said, adding that when Green Okanagan began, this was harder to do because of the resources available.

READ MORE: How this woman is leading the way to zero waste in the Okanagan

Three years ago, Vernon resident Christine Schwartz decided for a New Years resolution she would only throw out one plastic bag of trash every two months. By the end of the year, she was tossing out even less than that.

“I wanted to help the environment so much. I live in a strata and see everyone put out two big bags of garbage every week, so it’s just amazing the consumerism that we’re doing and all the things we have to buy. I also have a tendency to buy very little extra stuff so that makes it a lot easier,” she said.

She uses reusable bags and recycling depots accept items like candy wrappers and other single-use plastics. Take-out food containers was also another source of garbage for Schwartz so she began bringing her own containers for take out food, something she was able to do pre-COVID-19, she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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.

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