Claire’s Story

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Growing up near the ocean, Claire was always concerned about trash at the beach. It made her sad that helpless sea creatures were being forced to swim with our toxic plastic. Why did we have to leave our trash everywhere? And where did it all come from in the first place?

As she got older, she started to recognize the problem of mindless consumption everywhere. People were buying things and not thinking about where they came from or where they went. They were using water and imagining it was an unlimited resource. They were driving gas-guzzling cars and not thinking about the toxins spewing into the air. They were viewing the whole world as if it’s sole purpose was to provide for them, instead of with respect and humble gratitude for everything our beautiful planet provides for us.

While studying at UC Berkeley, Claire because directly involved in multiple environmental organizations. She became acutely aware of the term “zero waste” while working for the Campus Recycling and Refuse Services, a department of campus that was tasked with leading the campus on a path toward “Zero Waste by 2020”.

As an Environmental Economics student, Claire was aware of the need for this type of initiative, but quickly realized that UC Berkeley was far behind where it should be on waste diversion, and that this goal would be a long lost dream unless some major steps were taken.

The campus had just begun implementing compost bins in campus buildings, which felt like a big step in the right direction except that, save a few hardcore sustainability souls, nobody knew how to use them.

So, Claire worked on creating educational campaigns to teach the average student about composting and reducing their waste. She led workshops and advocated for more recycling . She formed a student-led coalition that took a leadership role in addressing the university’s carbon footprint.

She made it her New Years Resolution in 2017 to live a zero waste life. She wanted to see if it was possible to live a mindful waste-less life in our mindless consumerist world. And despite all odds, she found it not only possible, but a vast improvement in her quality of life.

Since then, Claire has spent the last two years figuring out her own path towards zero waste and helping others on theirs. She’s realized that zero waste doesn’t necessarily mean perfectly zero — it means something different for each individual, and that’s OK. Because living a zero waste lifestyle is good for the planet, good for your body, and good for the soul no matter where you are in your zero waste journey.