For quite some time now, a new trend has emerged: the “zero-waste” and “minimalist” movements.
I was introduced to it about a year ago when Bea Johnson’s book was released in France (Bea is the Queen of Zero Waste ;) ).
Béa is a French immigrant in the United States who lives with her family in San Francisco.
Per year, the four of them only produce a small jar of waste (when the average American produce one ton per year).
In her book she gives her tricks and the difficulties she had to undergo to achieve this result.
Bea's family wastes jar for 2016 (impressive! ;) )
Of course, maybe that not producing waste is not going to give you the same recognition at fancy diners than planning the new “carbon market” or than implementing a new and complicated legal mechanism to protect the environement… You may even be adorned as an utopist or a hippie, words frequently used to discourage attempts of change…;)
Bea in her zero-waste kitchen
And yet ... what if change came from the base, from everyday people, rather than from the state?
Can you be coerced to respect your environment which your depending on? No.
And what if our way of consuming was a way of voting?
In her book, Bea did not care about all this (at least in appearance).
She devoted to these questions only in the first chapter, in which she made a simple statement: one day she realized the urge to protect her environment and that she did not even use half the goods that were in her house.
Bea is concrete: one chapter per room of the house and let’s go!
Her wardrobe is what is now called a "capsule wardrobe ", which is a wardrobe designed to create sets. The idea is to have quality rather than quantity, clothes that really suits you and go with each other. We limit the number of clothes to no longer waste time in the morning wondering what is matching ;) In fact, this is the good old methods of our grandmothers! So she made a drastic sort which gave this result:
To achieve this result, she gave these advices (*):
1. Stick to minimal wardrobes, shoes and purses.
2. Only shop a couple times a year to avoid compulsive buys.
3. Buy second-hand clothing
4. If you must buy new, buy quality with minimal tags (leave the shoe box at the store).
5. Be ruthless on fit, if it fits well, you’re most likely to wear it.
6. Bring a reusable bag for your purchases.
7. Donate unworn pieces.
8. Keep some of your worn-out clothes for rags and label the rest as “rags” for Goodwill to recycle.
9. Learn of few sewing tricks (like shortening a hem or darning).
10. YOU CAN ALSO… take it to the tailor for a better fit so you’ll actually wear it, and keep a handkerchief in your purse/bag…
In a nutshell, as you can see, I really enjoyed this book ;).
I am not yet totally “zero-waste” as finding bulk stores in Paris is quite difficult in my neighborhood, however, for food, I have now a compost specially designed for apartments, and I subscribed to an association supporting small farming who provide us with fresh, organic, and zero-waste vegetables. Considering clothes, this is not perfect yet, but I am working on it (anyway, I think that going zero-waste is a long path...). This book really helped me to realize that wastes were really an issue too, and that “prevention is better than cure”: avoiding waste is better than sorting them…
About fast-fashion, I already knew that we live in a globalized world and that my purchases impact people on the other side of the planet, that the production of clothing for fast-fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and that it does not respect certain labor standards ... but this book really “wake me up” on the subject.
It is in this perspective that I wanted to launch Elfie Demaeght. The woven fabric is a very colorful and high-quality fabric, the colors last indefinitely and keep their vivacity: my dream would be that each person has in his wardrobe such a piece, very well cut, made hand and in compliance with labor law and the respect of the environment: it would be this little touch that enhances our outfits (often) black and bring the sun in our lives!
To conclude, I found that this book was a good and concrete application of the "happy simplicity": living better in consuming less.
You will find in the post scriptum of this article some useful links to know more about this movement ! I hope you enjoyed this article ;)
See you soon ! :*
*Bea's website: http://www.zerowastehome.com/