Today’s interview with a zero waster for Society Zero, is Mo who has talked to us about reducing waste with children, running her own business all while supporting independent and ethical companies.
Mo, 46, is an environmentally minded mother and business-woman.
Following studying conservation as part of her degree 25 years ago she has since increased her awareness as she takes zero waste on in her stride.
Despite working in the digital media sector with her own business Mobo Media, she works zero waste living into her lifestyle by making ethical decisions, and makes it work for her and her family.
Mo, Thanks very much for agreeing to our interview and giving your time today, let’s start off by asking you – what does being zero waste mean to you?
Recycling as much as possible – not just packaging but everything around you… furniture, building materials, clothes, landscaping materials.
Not buying stuff – Materials have become much more disposable than before. With the onset of the internet encouraging quick and cheap purchases. Nothing gets fixed or repaired anymore. Think about what you really need. Isn’t it better to buy less of a better quality?
Using organisations who have a strong ethical policy – When buying products and services think about the company you’re using and their policy on the environment, staff welfare, paying taxes etc. I haven’t used a number of well know companies based on my principles *ahem* A (Bookseller), S (Coffee Shop)…* for over ten years.
Switch your bank / building society to an ethical one, and switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier. Also, choose IT and broadband providers who have a green policy.
Wow, so you’re really in at the deep end with zero waste, given that the topic of zero waste really was only highlighted in the media recently. It’s also really relative what you mentioned about the not buying what you don’t need as well as the not repairing what you own. So, when did you start making changes to your waste or attitude to waste habits?
I studied conservation as part of my degree 25 years ago. I was writing about renewable energy and land use options for the future all that time ago!
I’ve always recycled as much as possible, even on foot, when out and about. I cycle everywhere I can and reuse as much around the home as I can. I was [also] one of the first customers in Scotland to switch to a 100% renewable energy company 15 years ago.
That’s amazing! Was there anything or anyone n particular that inspired you to change your habits and live a more ecologically minded life?
No, I have always been pretty ‘green’ minded and I guess my studies in Land Management and Conservation backed this up.
Some inspiring lectures and stories have stuck in my mind.
Given that you’ve been living this lifestyle for quite some time, I feel this question is a bit ‘moot’ but for the sake of our readers, would you say living a zero waste lifestyle is difficult?
It just takes a bit of planning.
Recently we’ve switched to glass milk bottle delivery, and a fresh vegetable box delivery where you can choose what you want.
Switching banks and energy suppliers is so simple now, there’s no reason to stick with the ‘bad boys’.
I work in the digital world and enjoy internet shopping [like most of us nowadays] and it’s very easy not to buy anything from Amazon and seek out smaller, independent companies.
The one difficulty we have encountered is switching to an electric vehicle (EV) – the structure isn’t there yet, despite hefty grants available. For example, I’ve been fighting for 2 years to try to get a charger for those in our village without off street parking.
Would love to get an electric vehicle! And of course, we’re so glad you support small independent companies, I had to smile at that part (of course!) What are your best tips for shopping independently to avoid the well known names when shopping online?
I guess I would say in the age of the web it’s relatively easy to find local initiatives and independent retailers online. It can be time-consuming looking at each companies ethical record but through sites like ethical consumer you can find out easily.
Also, I buy all household cleaning, loo paper etc in bulk twice a year and then sign up to weekly deliveries of veg box and milk etc.
My last tip would be, if you find a designer, product you like, don’t be afraid to contact the artist/manufacturer and ask for what you’re after, otherwise you buy less of what you want!
Great tips! I always end up messaging shop owners to ask for no plastic packaging too. So, when it comes to living zero waste, do you think it’s had an effect financially?
Not at all! We are on a pretty tight income with one person in the house working 3 days a week
Great to hear. What changes do you think were the easiest to make? And on that note the most difficult?
Shopping habits – such as the milk in glass bottles and veg box delivery and shopping from independents, switching suppliers and commuting by bike were definitely the easiest. The difficulties – back to our electric vehicle – still not easy and now thinking we’ll look at it again in 5 years time.
I really hope that the infrastructure is being built for more electric vehicles for sure. What keeps you inspired to keep going the most when it comes to living zero waste when there is so much convenience and plastic options out there to ‘make life easier’?
Strong environmental beliefs and the underlying feeling that we should all be looking after our planet. Thinking about the future for our children by taking action now.
After all, it’s slightly depressing that we knew about plastic, fossil fuels and melting glaciers years ago and it’s taken too long for change…
You’re definitely right, and even still there are people denying these problems too [sigh]… Time for a positive question to get us back on track for the last few minutes of our interview – Have you started anything on the back of becoming zero waste?
Ongoing discussions and planning with East Lothian Council to try to get an electric vehicle charger in our village. Participating in Climate Friendly Aberlady, working with the local school and their eco-committee.
And apart from fitting zero waste living into your household and bringing about awareness to your community and local school, what benefits have you found from living a more zero waste lifestyle?
Feeling better for myself and family that we are making a wee difference. This is one of the most important messages I think – everyone can make small changes and the big picture will change!
Also, bringing up a child to be eco-minded and aware of green issues – she loves buying clothes by the kg at zero waste and passing on her old toys and clothing
There’s definitely a proud moment when you’re passing on the message to others I think and you’re definitely right that everyone can make small changes, I hope our readers take this on board. For our new readers and those new to zero waste living – what would be your advice or words of wisdom?
It doesn’t have to be difficult or costly! Have a think about what you really need and who you want to spend your money with – and encourage others with stories and examples of how easy it is when you find out
We’d like to thank Mo again for such an in-depth interview, talking with others about zero waste living really does open your mind to other possibilities on how you can change how you’re currently living.
We’d also like to reiterate her message that all small changes definitely do add up to big changes.
If you’d like to check out and follow Mo’s digital work you can follow her on Twitter here, check out her Facebook page here and have a browse through her fantastic digital media website Mobo Media here.
We hope this interview was helpful and insightful for you, check back soon for more interviews with zero wasters with hints and tips on how you can become more zero waste.
If you’ve switched to a green energy company or have your own electric vehicle, let us know how it has had an impact on your life via the contact page or via our social media links – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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