A Moment of Honor
BY: Dustin Vaughn
from Abby’s Food Court
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with Abby Cannon about living a conscious life through sustainability. The good, the bad, and the surprisingly easy parts of a reusable lifestyle. Right off the bat I could tell she was excited to share her experience and I found myself following her on instagram halfway through our conversation. Truly a delight to talk to with some unique insights into this burgeoning lifestyle.
As I was reading back the interview, I decided to put in the parts where we were laughing, it was an easy and enjoyable conversation and not as serious as it might come off as, I feel it’s important to make these topics approachable and even doing a small part in transitioning to a more reusable lifestyle is a big accomplishment. We’re all in this together, and making healthier choices should be a fun and engaging experience.
Could you describe the transition to a Zero-Waste lifestyle? What challenges you found and the easy parts that surprised you?
Let’s start with the easy part [laughing], a lot of times it’s just making a one-time swap and you’re good to go. So I always encourage people to start with the four basics:
Your own set of silverware (reusable before recycle!) instead of plasticware
Personal Metal Straws/Glass straws over plastic single-use straws
Reusable Coffee cups rather than disposable
Use tea-towels as napkins rather than paper napkins
When you make these small transitions, you don’t even have to keep thinking about it. These are the simpler parts that fit into our everyday schedule. There’s also things like finding natural Shampoo or body soaps, or natural cleaning supplies. Once you find the company that you like, after you’ve done your research, it’s usually an easy swap. So it can be easy, and again I don’t like to use the word “easy” because it’s all relative, but things become easy once you’re in the habit of doing it.
At first it might seem really overwhelming but if you break things up into smaller pieces it becomes more manageable. So I think the hardest thing about transitioning [to a reusable/sustainable lifestyle] is thinking “I have to do this all overnight.”
You worry that you have to buy all these different things and get all the different products and the real heart of Zero-Waste living is using what you have. Be resourceful, it’s not about consumption or about getting all new things. So if you come at it from a slow transition, it can be much less overwhelming. I can’t stress that enough, it’s a slow transition, I’m still transitioning. There are still things that I use that are in plastic, that I’m trying to figure out what the best alternative is. Sometimes there isn’t one, especially now with a baby. I find products I love but are wrapped in plastic. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s trying your best to make healthier decisions and not being too hard on yourself if the environment we’re living in doesn’t always suit the lifestyle.
Is recycling enough?
No. Unfortunately it’s just not enough. In terms of plastic, it’s the worst offender. It can only be recycled a finite amount of times. So eventually it’s going to end up in a landfill or left to break down in our oceans. Of course it is better to recycle those things but in reality they are not actually all being recycled. Recycling usually just makes us feel better, and while it does have somewhat of an impact, a lot of it is still ending up in landfills unfortunately. Another problem is that recycling takes a lot of energy and resources to break them down. Even if it was a perfect system, how much energy was being used to make something from that recycled resource?
How has having children affected a Zero-Waste lifestyle?
Simply, it’s given me more motivation for what I do right, because it’s not even for us. Look at the next generation and what they’re going to have to deal with because of our addiction to convenience. Having a child did put a lot of things in perspective for me, especially right after giving birth. Given you’re totally exhausted and in so much pain that you can’t even think straight. I relied on so many more convenient things that I wouldn’t have done before. Things like Takeout food or groceries delivered, and I realize that there is a time and a place for that ultra-convenience, but if you are able to make the smarter choice, if you could physically get to the store then do it. Laziness shouldn't be an excuse for convenience. [Both laughing]
You know some people will say they don’t have time (And I’m guilty of this) but are scrolling on instagram for 3 hours a day. Which is totally fine, but you do have time. It’s just you’d rather spend it doing something else. There are, however, times when we really do need the easy convenience. Like when we’re really struggling mentally or you just had a baby and you’re really exhausted. So it put that lifestyle in perspective for me, and as soon as I started to feel better, I knew I couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore. I look at my child and I think to him “I want you to have food, and I want you to have a thriving planet.” We all have to do our part to get there.
We noticed your instagram and we love the messages you’ve been putting out into the universe. My question is, is what inspires you to make this content so regularly?
Thank you, I really appreciate it. That means a lot to me. I think we need to hear from a lot of different voices on the same message and that can sometimes be difficult for me. I ask myself “why am I sharing something that someone else has said before?” Right? But we’re inundated with so much content nowadays, that we need reinforcement. I think we also need it to come from a really good place, not a judgemental place, not a mean spirited place, not a I-do-it-better-than-you-do-it place. It needs to be fun! This space can sometimes feel alienating and really judgemental, like you have to give up everything and live this extreme lifestyle to fit in. We shouldn't get so hung up on the extreme labels, it can pin people down and make them feel bad for doing what they can. So when I get into a social media rut, and start to lose steam I remind myself that I’m trying to come from a good place, I want people to feel that this lifestyle is approachable and whatever step you take is a big win that we should all celebrate. That gives me motivation. Also my community, anytime I post something and the positive feedback comes in it feels great after you’ve spent literal hours and days researching the best and most eco-friendly blender and someone notices, it feels really good [both laughing]. It’s really nice to share the fruits of the labor, all that positive reinforcement keeps me motivated.
So I want to bring it back to our company for a moment, how do you feel Supernatural fitting into the zero-waste lifestyle?
First of all, I love it. Again it goes back to easy, and I don’t really like the word easy, but there are things that can be really easy. For example, switching out what you use to clean your home. It’s clicking a different button, it’s as easy as making a different order from a better option company. It’s not difficult once you find that product from a company you know and trust, that’s it you’re done. And I love using the supernatural products, I know that they work, it comes in glass, I get my refill when I’m out. From the research I’ve done, I trust the products and for me they work. So when it comes to choosing a cleaning product, I’m done. [Both laughing]
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I do work with clients one-on-one. I love to help my clients achieve their health goals while weaving in sustainability where it makes sense for their programs.
I’m also coming out with a 3-month program geared towards women who are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or newly postpartum and help them navigate this crazy wonderful time of our lives. Both from a low-waste and sustainability perspective and also from a better health perspective. So I’m super excited for that to officially launch to start helping women because [laughing] we need a lot of support and a lot of help during that process!
Be sure to follow Abby on her instagram at: @abbysfoodcourt
And her website abbysfoodcourt.com
Thank you for reading!
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