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Sep—02

Team Method: Meet Zero Waste Josephine

With it being Zero Waste Week, and following the success of our feature welcoming our Sydney Business Development Manager, Sebastian, we thought we'd like to introduce you to another member of Team Method.


Josephine has been with us since November 2016, in that time helping Method on our journey to being the sustainable solution for businesses worldwide, but also furthering her own interest in reducing her personal waste.


Here she shares with us why she enjoys working for Method, advice for anyone wanting to adopt a Zero Waste lifestyle, but also tips she's used to simply help lessen her footprint on the world.

Josephine with one month's worth of landfill waste.

How did you come to your role at Method?

I came across the Method role on Do Good Jobs. When I saw the advertisement it triggered in me a memory of walking around a theme park in The Netherlands and suddenly hearing a bin talk to me telling me to put my paper in there. Spotting the role at Method reminded me how a well designed smart bin can help reduce waste to landfill and encourage source separation.

What's your favourite thing about working for Method?

Working with Method has given me an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand's waste industry and has made me even more passionate about encouraging workplaces to recycle and compost more effectively.

When I first embarked on my Zero Waste challenge, I set up a Method Recycling Station at home. My Method bins enabled me to keep a track of my cans, bottles, paper and commercially compostable waste. It was easy to take them to the commercial compostable and recycling plant once I had finished my challenge, to really find out what happens behind the scenes.

My workplace had a Method station, and their service provider is Reclaim, so this was a great help as I could compost and recycle at work and recycle without having to take anything home with me.

What first made you interested in moving towards a Zero Waste lifestyle, and since then how has it evolved?

I was inspired a year ago by Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers and Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. Bea Johnson and her family have been living waste free since 2008, while Lauren Singer is in her twenties living in an apartment in New York and still managed to reduce four years of landfill trash to a medium size mason jar!

Inspired by these two women, and to tie in with Plastic Free July, I embarked on the 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge in order to help me to take responsibility for my actions. This meant for one month I only had a small jam jar for my landfill trash and could only recycle cans and glass. I had to compost my food scraps in my worm farm and take my commercially compostable waste (this includes compostable packaging) to the actual plant so it would break down in the correct process.

My Instagram following is still very small but it has evolved into an educational platform and I have been asked to do a few talks about the why and how of my Zero Waste lifestyle choice.

I embarked on the 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge in order to help me to take responsibility for my actions​. This meant for one month I only had a small jam jar for my landfill trash and could only recycle cans and glass.
@TrashIsForTossers

What's one thing people often get wrong about Zero Waste?

People often think it’s too hard. Until June 2017 I was an over-consumer - it just took some organisation, and personal motivation to leave no trace, for me to embark on this new lifestyle. I wouldn't go back to my old habits now, my new lifestyle is actually quite fun!

Zero Waste is defined as a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. In theory, no trash is sent to landfill or incinerators. I interpreted this as the following:

- Reducing overall consumption

- Bulk buying - Refilling

- Home composting

- Recycling cans, glass and paper only

- Only accepting commercially compostable packaging and taking this to the commercial composting plant

- Using mindfulness

If I can do it, then so can you.

What else would you say to people that would like to follow in your footsteps?

First of all, start a compost!

Diverting your food scraps from landfill will help the planet reduce the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. If you don’t have a garden that's okay, there are plenty of online resources that can help you.

Secondly, reduce your overall packaging and single-use plastic consumption.

Invest in an essential Zero Waste kit. This includes the BIG FOUR: reusable bag, reusable cup, reusable bottle and non-plastic straw. I don’t think the straw is essential but it helps create awareness around the fact that these are not recycled and either end up in landfill or making their way into our oceans. You could also add a reusable container to this, meaning when you fancy sushi, for example, you can take this as your takeaway container rather than having to use unnecessary packaging.

Check out where your nearest bulk food store is.

I actually have such fun taking my glass jars or reusable bags to get refilled for my weekly shop and overall it’s cheaper!

Ask questions.

If you work in a corporate environment and want to recycle or compost food scraps then talk to your facilities or office manager about implementing an office recycling solutions in your office. I’d say Method bins are the best but I’m biased!

If you work in a corporate environment and want to recycle or compost food scraps then talk to your facilities or office manager about implementing an office recycling solutions in your office.

How does working for Method help you with your passion for sustainability?

Working for Method aligns with my values to leave no trace and reduce my waste to landfill through reducing, reusing and better recycling and composting.

What's one recycling tip or trick you have for us to help with a Zero Waste lifestyle?

Place smaller pieces of plastic into bigger pieces of plastic. For example, plastic rings around milk bottles need to go into the larger plastic item to actually get recycled. Check numbers on plastic containers and try and buy PET #1 plastic, as this gets recycled in New Zealand. If a container doesn’t have a number on it and it's the size of a coffee cup lid or smaller as far as I know these won’t get recycled in New Zealand.

Where do you see yourself on this mission in the future? What does success look like for you?

I would like to inspire others to do the same and educate those who are unsure about how to even start. Success would look like reducing my landfill waste to a mason jar over 2018! Watch this space or follow my journey on Instagram @zerowastejosephine.

And finally, is there anything else you'd like to add, or any other questions we should ask?

I believe legislation, and access to funding to build infrastructure that will contribute to the reduction of climate change, is key for the well-being of our people and planet.

In New Zealand? Contact Josephine here to talk about our products, or have your questions answered.

Josephine with our co-founder India Korner at the Facilities Integrate trade show last year.