Granted, last week was not a “typical week” for the NU team. When you organize a conference with Bea Johnson, the guru of the zero waste lifestyle who inspired NU, it is a special week. Even more so when over 300 people attend – men, women, anglophones, francophones, young and old – and the event unfolds without a glitch. Judging by the feedback we received after the talk, it was a success: “inspirational”, “thought-provoking”, “funny”, “awesome” were some of the adjectives used.
Bea laid out her 5R methodology to reduce waste (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – in this order) and talked about the many benefits of a zero waste lifestyle. Zero Waste is a win for the planet, but it is also a win for us as individuals. When you get rid of all the unnecessary “stuff”, you start living a life based on Being rather than Having – a happier life. Check out our short photo essay about Bea’s visit on our Facebook page.
But this week wasn’t just about the conference. Work on the store is in full swing. Lease negotiations for our location run their course while architects and engineers are already busy designing the space and getting drawings ready. We continue to expand our supplier base, test out new products and develop solutions to sell products packaging-free. We’re also in the midst of creating our online store that will launch in May and will offer our favourite accessories for the zero waste lifestyle.
We continue to educate and raise awareness about waste and responsible consumerism: after a gig at Algonquin College’s Sustainability Conference two weeks ago, we will participate in the OCDSB’s Environmental Stewardship and Collaboration Day in May and talk at a Government of Canada agency in June, among other things!
Thank you for following us on our journey and please, keep the comments going! Ever since we launched we’ve received hundreds of emails with suggestions that have helped us make better decisions. If you have an idea, a concern, a solution, or simply want to encourage us, let us know!
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When our founder Valerie Leloup started reading Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home during the 2015 Christmas Break, she certainly didn’t imagine that it would lead to her opening Ottawa’s first zero waste grocery store! Funny what a simple book can trigger.
Knowing that Bea wasn’t just a writer and blogger, but also a talented speaker, it was only natural that we sought to invite her to Ottawa to talk about zero waste. She said YES, and we are excited to host her inspiring Talk and Q&A in partnership with our downtown City Councillors, envirocentre and écolead.
On April 18, join us at the First Baptist Church in Centretown (corner of Elgin and Laurier) and hear her fascinating journey towards waste-free and minimalistic living, and the many benefits that come with it. Tickets are only $7!
Valérie Leloup | November 2016
Adopting zero waste shopping habits is one aspect of the zero waste lifestyle, but there’s so much more to it!
When you become highly waste-aware, you start questioning the very activities that produce waste. You ask yourself: do I really need yet another pair of shoes? Does it fulfill a fundamental need of mine? Will it make me happier? Shoes are beautiful, and there is no doubt that buying a new pair gives me a feeling of intense short-term satisfaction. But that’s about it. Owning this pair doesn’t make me happier, nor does it make me less happy for that matter. It is just completely irrelevant to my happiness. So why did I buy it?
That’s the problem with mass consumerism. It makes us believe that stuff is the key to happiness, when in fact, what makes us thrive are life experiences.
On my journey towards a zero waste lifestyle, I have realized that there are few material goods that I truly need. I don’t need a big house and garden that will take me hours to maintain. I don’t need a walk-in closet of clothes. I don’t need complicated kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets. But I do need human interactions and discoveries.
This year, I’m spending Christmas with my sister and her family in London, England. I have two nieces and one nephew and there will be no presents for them. Well… not the usual stuff.
My eldest niece loves theatre, so I’m going to watch a play with her. My nephew is interested in politics, so I’m going to do something political with him – I’m sure we can find some anti-Brexit march to join somewhere! My youngest niece is rambunctious, so we’ll get outside and do something physical. Spending time outside the house doing something they enjoy will be my Christmas present to them. I’m curious to see if they will like it, or if they will miss the usual plastic toy.
Living a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean consuming less. It means consuming differently, and “collecting moments, not things”.
Wishing you a happy (maybe zero waste?) holiday season,