Tell us about yourself
I am a sustainability consultant, environmentalist, activist for better tomorrow for my kids and generations to come, and founder of GreenFootprint.ae (www.greenfootprint.ae)
What motivated you to shift to being eco-friendly?
In recent years, being or becoming eco-friendly seems to be a trend that we are seeing more and more, as a consequence of the global warming issues and urgency for all of us to act upon it. Being eco-friendly is a lifestyle and a long journey. We cannot start with all shifts at once. It’s a learning curve that takes time and requires adjustments and mind-set shift. It’s not about being perfect and hard on yourself or others.
In my case, I do consider myself to be eco-friendly oriented, and believe that this has always been a part of my values. It was shaped by different experiences I had by living in different countries. I come from Serbia and still remember my childhood at my grandfather’s farm, consuming organic fruits and vegetables, wearing handmade clothes that my grandma made, upcycling and practicing circular design which all formed my imagination as a child. Dubai cured me from consumerism and material values, it reminded me about the most important values in life as well as the importance of having a balance. Finally, France has it all, infrastructure and old fashion processes, frugal and disruptive innovations.
The main things you do to go plastic free
We have incorporated numerous things in our household: installed water filters, kitchen necessities, clean beauty cosmetics, toxic free cleaning products, healthy, organic, and local eating, etc. We have done all of this in order to reduce waste and optimise resources on a daily basis and it feels great. We are a bit minimalistic too. My husband is very passionate about nature and good values. One of my son’s first words was the French word “poubelle”, meaning garbage bin. Since he was 2 he started segregating waste and recyclables.
Your easiest plastic -free swaps
Bringing my own reusable bag. This is why, we at GreenFootprint.ae have launched a Zero Waste shopping campaign in the UAE. We chose a fun way to spread awareness and bring your own bags by using hashtags:
#IamBager – I always bring my reusable bag while shopping
#IamJugglar – I forgot my bag but I say NO to single use plastic
#IamBoxer – I refill in my box and consume from local farms
Through this campaign we raise awareness and invite different stakeholders to join us in creating positive impacts.
Your hardest changes to go plastic free
My 2 biggest challenges to reduce waste that I thought I would never be able to do were: using vinegar for cleaning and composting. Now, I am super proud of it and it saves so much plastic and waste!
5 things you recommend people do to go plastic free
1. Reading a blog like this is a great way to find inspiration and ideas where to start.
2. Find ethical swaps that suit you- We, at GreenFootprint.ae, provide various tools to help people improve their lifestyle and improve their impacts on the local economy, environment, and society. We have developed a pinned map with closest locations (refill stations, recycling stations, eco stores, eco cafes and restaurants, eco-tourism), products and services to facilitate this.
3. Feed your curiosity- It’s important that we understand what is happening around us and do not let greenwashing win. Our focus, at GreenFootprint, is to help consumers to understand the bigger picture. In order to reduce waste, we need to look at production and consumption issues. GreenFootprint works with recognised waste management companies to drive transparency and product development. On the other hand, we help businesses improve and become more sustainable. Through all this, we build circularity and systemic changes.
4. Connect with the community- I do believe that community sharing is a key for change. This is why GreenFootprint recognises great practices around us in order to show role models and demonstrate practical examples how shifts can be done. We identify and showcase Community Leaders- people around us that make differences.
5. Get engaged- Once you start living eco-friendly, it feels great and you start learning more and more. It’s important to get engaged and help positive impacts spread.