I can't recall the last time I bought clothes for myself.

hong mei olive founder sharing her reducing waste journey

As an apparel merchandiser in my previous career, I tended to buy a lot of clothes for work as well as buying for my own retail therapy as a result of working and travelling extensively. Today, I can't recall the last time I bought clothes for myself.

I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to embark on my own zero waste journey quite naturally after discovering the lasting impact plastic and waste has on our planet.

Initially I would upset the people around me whenever I broach the subject of excessive plastic use. However, the more I understood the reason and perspective of reducing plastic, I ended up doing even better in terms of reducing my plastic consumption and reducing waste.

I was inspired by Aurora in one of the Zero Waste Talk where she mentioned you will do well in the zero waste journey when you are mindful about reducing a small item like a straw.

Whilst researching for ways to reduce single use plastic, I also learnt about composting, how not to waste food and water and how the choice of light bulbs can have an environmental impact among other things. I discovered there are so many other ways in our lives where tiny changes we make can help make a difference and need not feel discouraged.

That is exactly what happened to me. I have stopped using plastic straws (not even a stainless steel straw now), bringing own containers for takeaway coffee and food to recently starting composting at home. When you start to look into your trash, you will know what to do next automatically. By composting, our waste has reduced tremendously.

When we started reducing single use plastic in our business and work with our partners to remove plastic from the source, the amount of plastic and waste that we have cut down is unbelievable. 

What is more encouraging is the zero waste community supporting each other by giving our used bottles another lease of life. We practically found homes for all the returned bottles that our customers returned to us without sending them to landfills. Although it took a lot of effort to do all these initiatives, but when you see the results, it is very satisfying.

The biggest accomplishment for me personally is seeing my colleagues starting to appreciate the reducing waste initiatives and practising them. Baby steps but definitely heartwarming.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” - Anne Marie Bunneau.

I hope my zero waste story may help you start your own journey. 💚


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