Inspiring Nelson family Q&A with Claudia and Steve

Claudia, Steve and Damien

Q: What did inspire you to go on the zero waste journey?
A: Bea Johnson – Zero Waste Home, Bob Greenfield – Adventurer, Environmental Activist, ecological footprint and future generations, eating better and healthier and saving money.

Q: What do you do to reduce your waste?
A: We try as much as possible to consume only what we really need. Buying bulk. Making our own food like bread, granola, goodies, and salad dressing. We buy second hand and we try to reuse to limits the packaging. We buy local. We do fewer trips to the transfer station which reduce the carbon footprint. We make home-brewed beer and wine (Art of brewing) to reduce glass usage. We compost and garden. We do canning and fruit picking. We
plan a weekly menu.

Q: What are your challenges?
A: Spending more time in the kitchen for making your own food.
Finding the right products and where you can find the product.
Thinking out of the box, changing our habits, being creative.
Being aware of the prices, bulk products are not always cheaper.
Choosing your battles, use your energy efficiently, e.g.using less paper will increase your usage of electronics. If you want to cook more, you need more small appliances.

Q: How is the bulk offer in Nelson?
A: Organic Matters, Kootenay Coop, Elison market and SaveOnFood offer large quantities of grains, flours, nuts, nut butter, oils, oats and rice, veganaise, tahini, and more. For household cleaning products, we buy large containers. We buy concentrated soap and just add water to dilute it.

Q: How long does it take to change your lifestyle to go towards zero waste?
A: It depends on how you commit to this life change. In the beginning, we were very motivated but then we realized we were investing ourselves way too much towards the zero waste. This is a matter of finding the right balance. We try to make smart choices regarding our consumption, starting mainly from the kitchen, but whenever we want to buy something, we ask ourselves Do we really need it?

Q: Any tips?
A: Renting toys, carrying reusable bags in the car at all times, no gift wrapping, limiting holiday decorations, reconsidering your need for certain products (e.g cottage cheese, yogurt, skincare products, etc.). Sometimes, you realize it’s better off without.

Q: Favorite products?
A: Instead of paper towels, we use reusable one, same for cleaning up mirrors and windows, we use cloth. We love Veganaise, growing sprouts, wine from Art of Brewing, muffin silicone and silicone bowls cover.

Q: Favorite DIY recipes?
A: Recipes from Labriski for goodies and snacks and all Whitewater cookbooks.

Q: What would you say to someone starting the journey of less garbage?
A: When you start from the kitchen, you end up gaining a lot of kitchen skills, your food tastes way better and is better for you and you minimize your environmental footprint. So this is a huge win. Making less waste makes you feel better and more positive that we can make a change.

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