Zero waste and recycling, Caillou’s advice
Today we are talking about recycling and zero waste with Camille who has taken on a major challenge: raising people's awareness of environmental issues!
Thanks to this interview, get advice on sorting actions and how to reduce your ecological footprint.
So Camille, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
I'm Camille, but everyone calls me Caillou. I am 24 years old and I live in Paris. I took on the challenge of reducing my consumption of plastic packaging, thinking better about my daily life and sharing the tips and actions to adopt with those around me.
What pushed you to advocate for recycling?
It all started when, during my studies, I did an internship in the eco-organization which ensures the national system for sorting and recycling household packaging in France. I realized that beyond the surreal figures concerning non-recycled, buried or incinerated waste, I was far from being an example in terms of sorting! I then decided to change my habits, better understand the sorting instructions in my region, but also to raise awareness among my friends and family. Rather than making them feel guilty, I made the topics more fun. Saying to someone “I would like to see a small sorting bin there in this corner of your kitchen, here I have printed out personalized sorting instructions for you” was much more effective than saying “Uuuuuh, you don’t sort your waste ?? »
Many people ask: why recycle?
Today, we are in a linear economy where we buy, we consume and we throw away. We are a long way from the days when we collected granny's handkerchiefs and glass bottles of milk were deposited. In this new economy, plastic and single-use packaging are omnipresent and recycling makes it possible to bend (a little) this line into circularity and ensure that these materials are reused, in order to avoid the extraction of virgin raw materials. . It's not ideal but it's already a step. The goal is to get a little closer to a circular economy. Glass is infinitely recyclable . When you put a bottle in a glass container, it will become a bottle again! For plastics it is a little more complex but well sorted, a plastic bottle can be used in part for the manufacture of another product (or another bottle) and will thus reduce the use of virgin material (from oil in fact). The best is to reduce your consumption of packaging and rethink your way of consuming, but recycling is the step between the two.
What deviations do you see today? Do you think brands are really sensitive to this cause?As I said, recycling is not the perfect solution either . Sorting and recycling consume energy and for plastic, it is not yet a completely closed loop: a bottle does not yet completely become a bottle again . Major brands are increasingly aware of the issues and some are trying to offer solutions (using 100% recycled plastic in their packaging, eco-designing them by reducing their weight, facilitating their recyclability). But while waiting for these commitments to be put in place, and in parallel with those already in place, I think that everyone's actions can lead brands to accelerate their actions by showing them that we are ready to change the way we consume.
What would you recommend for the situation to change?Sorting your waste is good, but trying to reduce your packaging consumption is even better ! When we start to think a little about what we consume in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in clothes, there are some habits that we can very quickly change. For example, I have almost zero waste/packaging in my bathroom and for me it has been the easiest change.
- Disposable cotton pads replaced by reusable fabric cotton pads
- my plastic toothbrush with a compostable bamboo one
- liquid shampoo with a solid shampoo, homemade or purchased in bulk
- the makeup remover in a bottle replaced by a large glass jar of coconut oil.
For food it is sometimes a little more complicated because in certain cities bulk stores are rarer. What I especially notice is that it also makes me think about what I eat. To avoid packaging , I buy a lot more vegetables than before, which I put in tote bags or bulk bags . I eat a lot less processed products and prepared meals. Wanting to reduce my plastic consumption naturally leads me to eat better and take care of my health by thinking about what I buy . I am also gradually reducing my consumption of meat, the production of which requires a lot of water and energy!
Mamie Colette bulk bag
This global approach leads me to think about my entire way of consuming and has brought me much closer to a minimalist lifestyle . After only 24 years of existence, I have accumulated an impressive number of objects and clothes that I no longer wear and I had a tendency to let fresh produce rot in my fridge. From now on, I try to empty/donate/sell objects or clothes that I no longer use, limit the compulsive purchase of products that I do not need and find out about the origin of the products and their composition. As for household products, with white vinegar and baking soda, you can clean absolutely everything, it's quite impressive. I had heard about it but never dared to get started! My sister got started first and showed me that it was actually very simple and inexpensive . In my opinion, the best way to convince someone to change a habit is by showing them the action.
Why did you create an Instagram account? What is the purpose?
Basically, with my co-trainees, we created the Happy Sorters account (@Happytrieurs) to talk about sorting in a slightly funny way. We wanted to show that the daily sorting process is accessible to everyone.
Clean beach operation
But since I returned to Lyon for my studies, which I really discovered: bulk sales, the refusal of straws in bars, the making of homemade cosmetics , I told myself that I could do another account Instagram (@un_caillou_dans_la_mare) to share these everyday gestures and above all to make those around me want to do the same or find new tips themselves. I really have a lot of feedback from people whose environmental sensitivity I hadn't really suspected and that really encourages me to continue! The aim of these two accounts is above all to encourage rather than demonize people who, like me a few years ago, had never really been directly aware of the subject. Ultimately, I would also like to post videos/reports on which I have already started to work, following people who have their own zero waste tips or act at their level to protect the environment in different areas (fashion ethics, zero waste, upcycling, zero food waste, etc…). My goal is to give as many examples as possible of personalized gestures and show that everyone can act at their own level.
Do you have any advice to give for recycling better on a daily basis?I advise first of all to consult the sorting instructions for your region (on your bins or on the site and the instructionsdetri.fr application). It is also important to be informed. Reduce or sort your waste, yes, but you still need to understand why. While giving tips for reducing waste, the Zero Waste France sites or Béa Johnson's book on zero waste are very good ways to understand what motivates people to go zero waste and how they achieve it on a daily basis. Other sites raise awareness about the use of straws in catering and their impact on the environment and many other actions that help protect the environment (and you can also come follow me on Instagram @un_caillou_dans_la_mare?). But above all, my advice is not to feel guilty . Everyone adopts actions at their own pace and it’s not because one day we’ll forget to order our cocktail without a straw; buying a triangle sandwich at a motorway rest area or forgetting your reusable cup at work that we are the worst polluters and that all efforts are in vain. Changing your habits takes time and we learn new tips every day that make everyday life simpler, less polluting for the planet and better for our health !
7 Zero Waste Tips to Remember:
- Use reusable cotton pads
- Opt for the bamboo toothbrush
- Wash your hair with a solid shampoo, homemade or purchased in bulk.
- Try coconut oil as a makeup remover
- White vinegar and baking soda to wash everything down
- Favor bulk sales
- Refuse straws in bars
Follow Camille on her Instagram and join the movement!
The Argalys team