Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Follow Chloé’s journey to a simpler, greener and happier life.

3 Ways to Kickstart your Journey to Less Waste

DIY business cards by Conscious by Chloé

First, I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to fill out the Reader Survey. I'm taking good note of your comments and will hopefully move in the direction that you expect me to.

Unsurprisingly, zero waste is one of the main reasons why you come over here every week. I have to admit that I assumed the blogging world was already filled with talented bloggers who primarily focus on this subject (I'll share my favorites here soon) but I guess that we each have our own voice and that you want to hear mine too, so I'll try to post a little more about the nitty gritty of the zero waste lifestyle.

It seems like you just can't get enough zero waste tips and I'm really happy about it!

As the people who've met me for coffee after connecting with me on Instagram or had dinner with me and my friends know, I'm always eager to share my perspective on the implications of waste production and curious to know what other people have to say on the subject.

I'm usually not the one who introduces the subject. It usually comes up in the conversation when someone will mention that they read my blog, or when I make a specific demand with my order at the restaurant (no paper napkin, no straw). It's fascinating to me how universal the theme of protecting our environment is. Even the people you least expect to be interested in zero waste end up having very insightful opinions about it. Conversations have ranged from compostable plates, to meat consumption, to advocating for the destruction of dams, to living off the grid or starting a small ethical business.

To me, aiming for zero waste means more than not owning a trash can. It's about knowing what you put in your body and on your body, and measuring the impact that our actions have on our environment, and the environment. It can be both selfish (avoiding carcinogenic chemicals to live a better and longer life) and unselfish (taking care of the planet for future generations).

I actually don't love the term "zero waste" as it's pretty much an unrealistic goal but it's such a convenient way to summarize a certain lifestyle. Some might call it green living, others conscious living. I try to always specify that I tend to zero waste or that I am on a journey to zero waste. I mean, aiming for an ultimate goal makes one fell pretty good, right?

All in all, I'm very excited to dive into the process of starting a journey to zero waste again and share my insights, after having been working towards that goal for the past 3 years.

I'd love it if we took it from the beginning all together and share with each other the reasons why we're embarking on that adventure, the progress we make, and the obstacles we face along the way.

1. Take a moment to reflect on your motivations

To me, every single reason to start a journey to zero waste is as important as the next one. Whether you want to make a change for economic, health, environmental or aesthetic reasons (aren't this bulk pantries insanely beautiful?!), the only fact that you're taking a step back and reflecting on your lifestyle is already an accomplishment. Any reason to be more thoughtful about our consumption patterns is a valid one.

I personally started my journey for health reasons, wanting to make sure that I knew what I was putting in my body after moving to a country where I knew regulations might be different to Europe's.

2. Know where to start

The second important step to take is to identity where to start. My advice? Go dumpster diving. I'm only half kidding. Our trashcans are an unforgiving reflection of our consumption habits.

Seeing how much stuff I was putting in the trash within seconds after being back from the supermarket was bothering me the most. So I started by looking for bulk options in my neighborhood and slowly started my own containers to refill at the store. It instantly reduced the amount of trash we were producing weekly.

For those of you who did not take the Zero Waste Switch Challenge last year, here are 5 ways to kickstart your journey to zero waste:
1. Bring a reusable mug to your favorite coffee shop
2. Stop junk mail from invading your mailbox
3. Always have a tote bag with you
4. Try buying in bulk one item you usually buy package
5. Refuse the swag bag at the next event you attend

3. Take it slow

Lauren Singer, of Trash is for Tossers was recently interviewed on Garance Doré's podcast, and I totally agree with her approach. Start with one change, see if you can stick to it for 2 to 3 weeks and then add another one if you will, and so on.

Having recently moved and having minimal material possessions (shipping stuff across and ocean and a continent is pricey) made the lifestyle change easier as we had to set up new routines and form new buying habits in our new hometown/country).

But you can do it too, it might be a little harder in the beginning to forge a new habit, but the secret is to take small steps.

To me, the secret is to always be prepared. I have a zero waste kit in my car at all times. It contains a mug for coffee stops, a mason jar (to buy something in bulk, to pour wine in at a party where only plastic glasses are provided, to stuff leftover food in and avoid the only-commercially compostable to go box), a cloth napkin (to wipe my face, blow my nose, wrap a croissant - not all at the same time! I wash it fairly regularly).


Feel free to share your accomplishments, pitfalls or interrogations in the comments section. We all know that the journey to zero waste is paved with obstacles (and plastic wrapped temptations) but that it's also a very rewarding and learning experience.

Podcasts I've been listening to lately

Current favorite podcasts 2016 by Conscious by Chloé

Last month, I traveled to Europe. Besides the usual plane tickets buying, housing booking and packing, I decided this time to take some extra time preparing for the long hours I would be spending on the plane and in airports.

Long flights used to be an exception, and thus an adventure. But they keep getting more frequent, and less fun. So I'm starting to get more serious in anticipating them, especially on the flight entertainment side.

First, I already have a full reading list sent directly to my tablet as soon as items get available at my local library (both e- and audio-books).

Then, I downloaded a couple TV shows & movies (I have stopped trusting airlines and relying on their watchlist/screens).

Also, my favorite and most recently downloaded music is always automatically synced on my phone.

Lastly, as you now know I'm a podcasts fan, so I've added them to the equation.

I continue listening to my old favorites, added a couple new ones I discovered recently and subscribed to a few that have been recommended to me.

Here are the podcasts that I have been listening to on the plane, between Portland, New-York and Geneva.

1. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
This was the podcast I was waiting for impatiently when I published my first article about podcasts. Besides being my star twin (we were born on the same day of the same year), Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss (and soon Nastygalaxy) launched #girlboss radio where she interviews world-class Girlbosses who have made their mark in creative, cultural, and business ventures to extract solid advice from the lessons they've learned along the way.
I love discovering awesome entrepreneurs, what their first job was and how they started their professional career. The candid introductive discussion between Sophia and her friend Liz Carey is priceless & the #girlbossmoment of the listeners are a great source of inspiration!
Favorite episode: Sallie Krawcheck, Co-founder & CEO Ellevest, Former CEO Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Category: Society & Culture

2. Modern Love
In the podcast based on The New York Times’ popular series of weekly reader-submitted essay, host Meghna Chakrabarti and Modern Love editor Daniel Jones go deep, sharing some of the best stories about love today, with readings by notable personalities and updates from the essayists themselves.
I shed tears on various occasions, be prepared!
Favorite episode: One Last Swirl
Category: Society & Culture

3. Women of the hour by Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham hosts this podcast miniseries about friendship, love, work, bodies and more.
This is a pretty short series, and it left me wanting more. After reading Not That Kind of Girl, subscribing to the Lenny newsletter and waiting patiently for the final season of Girls, I can't wait to see what Dunham's got for us next.
Favorite episode: Lena & Lola Pellegrino
Category: Personal Journals

4. Serial
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her.
I've already talked about the first season earlier. Season 2 focuses on the story of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who was held captive by the Taliban for five years (Homeland, anyone?). The interviews with the protagonist, phone calls to the Talibans and latest episodes where Koenig reports from court for updates on the first season kept me on the edge of my (car) seat.
Category: News & Politics

5. Pardon my French by Garance Doré
Pardon My French is a podcast hosted by Garance Doré, founder of the eponymous website, illustrator and photographer. Grounded in her love for fashion, creativity and self-expression, she shares stories and her point-of-view on everyday subjects with her friends and guests, in a relaxed and open conversation.
I was pretty disappointed by the sound quality and structure of the first episodes, but Doré and her team now seem to have gotten into their stride. As a long term reader of the blog and a fellow Frenchy, I am fascinated to discover another facet of Doré's personality and eager to find in another media the sense of humor and authenticity that has made her known around the world.
Favorite episode: La Parisienne - Isabel Marant & Caroline de Maigret
Category: Society & Culture

6. The Portland Sustainability Podcast & The Portland Cool Podcast by Sean Barron & Tony Hair
I just discovered these two local podcasts and cannot wait to listen to more episodes about what makes Portland cool & green. It already inspired be to do some more volunteering and sign up for a Master Recycler program, so there's that!
Favorite episode: Leave no Trace While Camping with Ruby
Category: Natural Sciences

7. Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert
My friend Rachel recommended me this podcast and Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is also of my 2016 reading list. I need to dive more into the podcast but can so far say that Elizabeth's laugh is contagious and that I am utterly jealous of all the talented & famous friends she can rely on for advice.
Favorite episode: Sexy, Dirty, Nasty, Wicked
Category: Literature

8. Dear Sugar Radio by Cheryl Strayed
Another friend told me that this podcast will be live from PDX on Friday 8th July. I guess that's enough of a good reason to start listening to it, besides the fact that I am still obsessed by Strayed's Wild and keep crossing paths with the Pacific Coast Trail (see what I did here?). Get your tickets!
Favorite episode: TBD
Category: News & Politics

Finally, there is one thing I still need to do to make this whole music and podcast-listening experience the most enjoyable possible for my next trip. It is to find a sustainable replacement for my distressed mobile phone cover and the best possible earphones now that I've decided that noise-canceling properties are more important than sound quality. Your recommendations are welcome. I'll probably share my selection in the shop as soon as I've finished my research.


What about you? How do you make long plane rides more bearable? I'd love to hear your tips!