What is Towards Zero Waste Geelong?

“Perhaps if we could popularise through the techniques of branding and consumerism, a different idea, a different narrative, perhaps the world can change. After all it changes constantly and incessantly, it’s just the perceptions that we have are governed by people with self-interest and are not in alignment with the health and safety of us as individuals or as a planet” – Russell Brand


If you’ve been with me since the beginning of this personal blog, over two years ago now, you are probably familiar with a mystical green thumb called Katie. Well, over the last few years Katie and I have grown to be very fond of each other, she has taught me a lot about gardening and many-a zero waste alternatives, as well as inspired me to be more active in the zero waste movement. If you follow me on Instagram (@thethoughtfulvegan) or Katie (@seedblog) you’ll have seen that after the War on Waste aired that we did a Responsible Cafes flyer drop down the main street in Geelong West, asking cafes to offer an incentive for people who bring their own cup rather than using a disposable coffee cup. The support we received from this was mind-blowing, almost all the cafes that we spoke to put the flyer up in their window straight away, offing discounts of as much as 50c off – even the local bakery got on board!

This was such an empowering experience, we were so motivated to generate change of a bigger scale. The War on Waste had gotten the ball rolling and we were keenly pushing it so that it kept momentum. We wondered whether anyone in Geelong would be interested in learning about how to transition towards zero waste so we approached Katherine at Valerie’s Pantry, who graciously offered us the space in which to hold the workshops. All forty seats for each of the two-part free workshops booked out within three days. Any doubt that we had about whether there was a demand for workshops quickly evaporated and we jumped head first into the workshops, which ended up being so much fun and so inspiring to be a part of. We decided that these workshops are important for us to continue and so together we became Towards Zero Waste Geelong. We are not sponsored, we don’t have any affiliations, we are just two health professionals who happen to be friends and get excited about people making positive lifestyle changes, especially ones that reduce waste footprints. As proud vegans, we wish to acknowledge that food choice is the single biggest way to reduce your waste footprint, any other lifestyle choice is secondary. Although no effort is ever wasted, we encourage intention over perfection. If you’re only doing Meat Free Monday at this stage, we salute that effort!

Since our first workshops series in January we have kept the conversation going in our Towards Zero Waste Geelong Facebook group, which is an open groups were everyone is welcomed – even if you’re not in Geelong! This is a supportive space where there is always someone available to answer a personal question you have about transitioning towards zero waste.

Due to the demand we received, we will be doing more comprehensive two-part Towards Zero Waste Living workshops in June and November this year. These workshops are suitable for anyone who has made some changes and just wants to gain more tips and tricks in an interactive, informal environment. We aren’t sharing anything that you couldn’t already find yourself on the Internet (that’s what we did back in the day) but the beauty of these workshops is to see, hear and experience the simplicity and beauty that is living a zero waste lifestyle, as well as connect with others who are doing the same. We split the workshops up over two 90 minute sessions on consecutive evenings. The first is focused on the kitchen, where most waste is generated and the second on other household waste. We do demonstrations of how to make your own household products and you will be electronically sent a hand out that covers all the practical steps covered during the workshops, as well as where you can get more information.

If you’re still contemplating whether this is too hard for you or feel overwhelmed with where to start, never fear, we will be doing a Towards Zero Waste for Beginners workshop where we start at the very beginning including how to break our conditioning about disposables and simple things to try to start reducing your waste.

We also hope there will be interest for a Zero Waste Advocacy Workshop, for those seasoned zero wasters in our community who are keen to spread the zero waste movement to their workplaces, schools and broader community.

In the Towards Zero Waste Living workshops we cover the importance of composting to reduce waste but in our Composting and Worm Farming workshop we will cover the intricacies, including getting your hands dirty with hands-on demonstrations and how to troubleshoot common composting problems.

Finally, during what is sure to be the month of peak waste generation around the world, we will be doing an exciting Zero Waste Christmas workshop with all our tried and tested strategies to reduce your waste footprint over the silly season.

Below are the details of all our proposed workshop dates for the year:

Towards Zero Waste Geelong Workshop Calendar 2018

Zero Waste Beginners – Monday April 9th // 7-8:30PM // Valeries Pantry // $15

Towards Zero Waste Living – Mon 25th & Wed June 27th // 7-8:30 // Valeries Pantry // $20

Zero Waste Advocacy – Wednesday August 15th // 7-8:30PM // Little Creatures // Gold Coin

Composting & Worm Farming – Saturday October 6th // 10AM-12PM // Venue TBA // $20

Towards Zero Waste Living – Saturday November 17th // 10AM-1PM // Venue TBA // $20

Zero Waste Christmas – Saturday December 1st // 2-4PM // Venue TBA // $15

*Updated July 20th. All dates, time and prices are subject to change. All workshops are likely to be held out the back of Valerie’s Pantry located at 138 High St, Belmont or Yoga Dojo located at 21 Melbourne Road, Drumcondra. Tea and vegan nibbles provided.

We hope you’re as excited about our workshop calendar as we are and that there is something on there for everyone! If you enjoyed our first Towards Zero Waste Living workshop and know of a friend who would be interested, word of mouth is always the best referral.

After you’ve competed the workshops we hope to have you input in our Facebook group. This is the space that our monthly-ish meetings will be organised. These are very informal and will often include craft beer, but after our first meeting we are pleased to say they are definitely at least three times more productive than any other meeting you’ve been too. After mine and Katie’s success with promoting the Responsible Cafes in Pakington Street last year, we were keen to become ambassadors for The Last Straw. This is a campaign, similar to Responsible Cafes, which asks consumers to refuse straws and venues not to hand them out unless requested. The people that attended our meeting a few weeks ago came up with some fabulous ideas about how to further this wonderful campaign in our community, some of which is already been put into action. There are of course several other zero waste campaigns we will passionately endorse in due time within the group. We hope you will join us or just come along for the sweet, sweet vibes generated by being around people who dare to care.

Join us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram (@towardszerowastegeelong) for more details about workshops and campaign meetings.

Thanks for reading,

Meg and Katie x

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