FRIDAY FOLLOW: Less Waste Laura
CAN YOU TELL ME a little bit about yourself?
I am Laura, a 22 year old masters student living in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently studying for my masters in Environmental Protection and Management which is crucial in my journey of living sustainability as I am continually researching about the best choices we can make in life. I made a new years resolution to change the way I lived to produce less waste and be less impactful. Since then I have been using my academic studies and passion for this issue to create blogs and content for people to feel empowered and educated in what they can do as an individual to save our planet! I have a heart for social justice and how living our lives links us to people and systems all over the world. I specialise in many topics within sustainability including planetary diets, food waste, plastic pollution and living with low impact.
Is Edinburgh a well-equipped city for sustainable living?
Edinburgh is extremely well equipped, we are very lucky! We have 4 refill/bulk/zero waste style stores located throughout the city. I wrote a popular blog all about the opportunities of living zero waste in Edinburgh, you can find it on my website www.lesswastelaura.com.
Have you always been interested in sustainability? If not, when and how did this become a passion for you?
My conscious decision to live with ‘less waste’ began from my new years resolution in 2018. From there it grew and grew and became a lifestyle. I was always interested in the environment and keeping it clean, however I hadn’t ever fully understood the damaging effects from over consumption, plastic pollution etc
Would you describe yourself as an activist?
I see you ran in your university elections and conducted a zero-waste campaign, which I thought was massively commendable. Why was this important to you?
This was important firstly because the role involved sustainability in the university, and it would have seemed hypocritical to have posters and flyers with my campaign message of sustainability littering and stuck all over the campus. Also because I aim to produce less waste in my life, I couldn’t comprehend printing out 300 single use flyers for such an event.
Tell me about one or a few low-waste of eco-friendly products that you love. What do you not leave the house without?
My menstrual cup is something which has honestly changed my life, and reusable period products are something I wish I was told about in school! Second to that, I have my daily waste-saving kit: water bottle, coffee cup, cutlery and homemade snacks/lunch. This helps me avoid SO much waste which can accumulate in daily life!
What/ who inspires you?
David Attenborough and all the work he has done in showing us the beauty of the world we want to keep, and the harsh reality of our actions. His work has and will continue to go down in history as the turning point for so many.
Where do you shop second-hand?
Really any charity shops that I find out and about. Edinburgh city centre has loads! I also borrow a lot from friends and family, and this is two-way. Most balls, weddings, nights out, holidays etc I go on are mostly clothes from other people.
What challenges have you faced while trying to live a more eco-friendly life?
Really being more prepared. I live life going day by day without much thought. So sometimes planning meals and making sure I have what I need to avoid waste is the problem. But I have pretty much got into a good groove with that now!
Do you have any advice for people just starting out on their journey? What is something you wish someone had said to you?
Take it slow. You don’t need to change everything at once. Just phase things out, and actually you probably already have everything you need! You don’t need fancy tubs or zero waste items, old tupperware is fabulous, and reusing old plastic bags is too! But make changes when you need to. Use up all your old plastic items and only swap them out when they’re finished! It is more sustainable to use what you have, than invest in all the new kit when you don’t need to.
What more should governments/ institutions/ brands be doing to help?
Making the big changes we can’t. Putting a ban on single use plastic. Divesting from fossil fuels. Investing in renewables. Making public transport the cheapest option. Educating about sustainable living. Ensuring recycling facilities are up-to-date. So much!
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully in a job relating to environmental justice issues/sustainability. I am about to graduate and don’t know my future yet…but looking forward to the adventure!
All images have been supplied by the interviewee for sole use in this article.