Letter from the Founder

 
 

Hindsight can be a funny thing.

I had a very early interest in waste, but never would have imagined that it would be what I would do for a career. I can recall, starting in fourth or fifth grade, my Monday chore of collecting garbage throughout the house to go out the next morning. I was always frustrated with my dad for having cans and paper in his office trash can and would spend half of the time picking through it and putting things in the recycling. I also recall using minuscule amounts of tape in high school to hang signs for various student government activities, and trying to teach my first year roommate (hey, Nikki!) what to recycle and what to throw out in our dorm room. I cannot tell you how many times I pulled Kleenex and paper towels out of the recycling bin.

I also have a deep love for the environment. I grew up camping, hunting, and hiking with my family. I always felt at peace in natural places, and knew that there was something special about going “up north” (here in Minnesota, “up north” means going anywhere there is a lake, woods, and some open sky–whether or not it is actually north). So it’s fairly easy to understand how I ended up caring so much about trash, although everything is of course, clearer in hindsight.

It wasn’t until I followed an Amazon.com book suggestion that I really put two and two together and fell in love with Zero Waste. I have never purchased anything that Amazon has recommended to me before or since–but for some reason the universe wanted me to buy Zero Waste Home, and so I did. It’s become the book that I live, breathe and tell everyone about.

I spent about a year in transition to my current Zero Waste lifestyle. Now, I can keep a year’s worth of trash in a pint-sized mason jar.

After I graduated college without a plan, I did exactly what every good college graduate with a liberal arts degree does: took on five different jobs in five months, made travel plans I didn’t follow through on–yet, and struggled to pay the bills.

In the back of my mind, when I envisioned my future, I saw helping other people become Zero Waste. After some sweet-talking and convincing from the same first year roommate that didn’t know how to dispose of paper towels and tissues (she has since learned), Zero-In Consulting was born.

My goal is to empower people to make positive changes. I have had many conversations surrounding individual action and whether or not it makes a difference, and while I believe that it does, I also believe that you can make an even bigger impact when individual action supports systemic change.

So here at Zero-In Consulting, I live my values. It’s important to me that I am authentic and teach from what I know, so first-hand experience is the best way for me to be a successful mentor and consultant. Because I have lived a very individualized Zero Waste lifestyle for some time now, I know that our societal systems make it difficult for many businesses and organizations to support a Zero Waste lifestyle. If I can do whatever is in my power to help organizations that already share my values actualize them in their operations, then I can make it easier for more individuals to transition to a Zero Waste lifestyle. It’s the ultimate positive-feedback loop–the easier it is for people to be Zero Waste, the more people will become Zero Waste, and the more Zero Waste people there are, the more organizations will be pressed to change to support the lifestyle.

I have no idea where this venture will take me. I don’t know whether I will be successful or if I will be laughed out of every business I approach. But I am simply doing my best to do what I can to change the world for the better.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” (Edward Everett Hale).

I am simply doing the things that I can.

 

With peace,

Alyssa