My name is Alexis, and welcome to my blog!
I set up this website hoping to catalogue a challenge I set for myself: to live without creating any plastic waste. I began by setting myself a two-month challenge in the fall of 2013, and the new lifestyle suddenly became one of the most important things in my life. The challenge I set for myself seemed impossible at first, but now I can’t really see myself going back to the lifestyle I had before this project.
In 2015, I got the opportunity to start working on plastic pollution issues for a large environmental organisation, International Union for Conservation of Nature. After three and a half years there, I have learned so much from the amazing range of scientists, policymakers and activists in this field. I want to share this with others in order to distil technical concepts into easy-to-understand blog posts to make this information more accessible. Most importantly, my perspective has massively shifted on this over the last five years, most fundamentally to view plastic pollution as much bigger than just an oceans issue but to recognise how it reflects deeper social inequalities and especially how it intersects with environmental racism and other social injustices.
As I’ve learned more and evolved in this journey, I’ve started moving more and more towards living a low or zero waste life and I work to share relevant, science-based information. That means trying to create a minimal amount of trash – not just plastic, but all kinds. Join me on this journey! Take up some of the information, test it, try out your own ideas, and please comment and ask questions along the way – I love hearing from you!
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or comments, please visit the comment section or email me at email@example.com
BelindaPosted at 04:56h, 07 December
Excited to have come across your blog after watching one of your YouTube videos! Can’t wait to see your future posts 🙂
Alexis McGivernPosted at 08:22h, 07 December
Thanks Belinda! I hope you enjoy and learn a lot 🙂 xx
MarianaPosted at 07:22h, 30 April
Hey! How are you? Hope you’re doing great. I just started being interested about this zero waste topic, then i saw your video “Grocery shopping: zero waste living!” from YouTube and I realized that there isn’t any type of zero waste grocery store in my city… so i was wondering if you could give me some tips or ideas to start this type of zero waste grocery store because I’m so exited with the idea of changing my city environment. I live in a small city which is so “old school”, close minded, etc. so most of the people who live in here isn’t interested about many important topics. I believe that this topic can shock them and many of them can start analysing and change their mind, their lifestyle (I hope that everyone could change their lifestyle and start a new fresh environment city, but life’s difficult).
Anyways, I’ll appreciate your help. Thank you for reading.
Sincerely, Mariana Mendoza.
Alexis McGivernPosted at 11:46h, 01 May
Hi Mariana! That’s so exciting that you’re thinking of opening your own store. Unfortunately I don’t have experience in this area but Lauren Singer (from Trash is for Tossers) just opened her own store in New York City and she might have some advice for you: http://www.trashisfortossers.com/p/contact.html
I think it’s so important to do what you can within the confines of your own stores/capacity etc and encourage others to follow suit. You may not have a zero waste grocery store, but hopefully you have farmers markets? Or maybe the ability to make some things from scratch to reduce your packaging? Maybe try hosting a “zero waste” party – I used to do these with friends and really enjoyed spreading the message in a fun (and yummy) way. Good luck!
Mariana MendozaPosted at 04:43h, 04 May
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help.
My best wishes.
AlicePosted at 21:37h, 07 December
Hello Alexis! I was thinking about getting into a zero waste lifestyle and just found out your blog. Hoping to be doing the same challenges you did and learning from your experiences.
Alexis McGivernPosted at 17:17h, 08 December
Hi Alice! I’m so glad you came across my blog – we need more people like you to take up this challenge! I hope you find it valuable and interesting 🙂
Amanda RavottiPosted at 17:10h, 08 December
Really love this mission you have created for yourself! This feeling of caring more towards nature resonates with me also 😀 I would love to create biodegradable art that over time it recycles itself out.
Alexis McGivernPosted at 17:17h, 08 December
Hello Amanda! Thank you so much for your comment! I love your idea for a biodegradable art project – follow that idea through! I would love to see pictures of when you do it 🙂 best of luck with your plastic-free journey!
hkPosted at 00:31h, 08 January
if you could, would you be able to provide the link to the produce bags you use? I couldn’t find Food Wear in the US. I’m just starting out my zero waste lifestyle inspired by your youtube :]
Alexis McGivernPosted at 10:57h, 10 January
Hey there! I am so so happy you are starting out zero waste. Feel free to ask any questions you need! I bought those at my local bulk store, but I found a couple options online for you: https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Ecology-Organic-Cotton-Produce/dp/B004UJ0U0C
I hope that helps! Good luck!
HKPosted at 17:56h, 10 January
These are perfect thank you!
Jasmine WalkerPosted at 00:51h, 16 January
I love your blog and youtube channel, It’s really helping me transition to zero waste. I was wondering what your opinion is on the waste that is created in transportation and cultivation of foods – even bought at bulk food stores. Obviously there is less waste – but do you have an opinions on how we can reduce this waste and create greater accountability in the whole system. I was also wondering if you have ever considered dumpster diving or discussed it. Sorry if you have discussed these ideas and I missed it!
Keep creating great content!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 08:27h, 15 March
Hey Jasmine, thanks so much for your comment and I’m sorry for my late reply! Absolutely, the most sustainable thing of all would be to grow your own seasonal produce. I also know some bulk stores buy in massive plastic bags – maybe better than individual packaging but still not perfect!
I’ve actually not dumpster dived – where I live you can’t access the dumps from grocery stores as easily as in other places. I think it’s a great way to feed yourself though – and for free! Have you seen the documentary Dive? It’s an excellent look at how much food waste is thrown away every single day, even by green-thinking grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. Really recommend it!
Thanks for the food for thought 🙂
Santiago PalaciosPosted at 02:43h, 14 March
Hi Alexis, I live an almost waste lifestyle and more since February 2015. And now what I been trying is to spread the word about taking care of the planet. I was interviewed in a music station and a news paper wrote an article about my lifestyle and I gave two speeches in two different high schools. I am building a website with all the information and I am planning to do a documentary about human waste, pollution and the waste of resources which will be in my site http://www.intraterrestre.org
Alexis McGivernPosted at 08:24h, 15 March
Hi Santiago! Thanks so much for getting in touch and for all you do trying to lower your waste! Really glad to hear as well about your documentary project. Unfortunately the link you sent is not working – is it correctly typed?
temansekelasPosted at 22:57h, 15 March
hai alexis, i just begin zerowaste lifestyle this early march!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 11:43h, 01 May
Yay! So glad to hear it!
SofiaPosted at 22:05h, 29 April
Hi! I wanted to ask how you deal with your period products, like do you use tampons and pads or do you use sea sponges and the diva cup? I wanted to cut that plastic waste from that time of the month and maybe you have some other solutions for me! I also want to try a no waste lifestyle and I find your blog and your youtube channel very helpful!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 11:43h, 01 May
Hi Sofia, thanks so much for your comment and for your commitment to reducing plastic waste! I briefly address this in my A-Z guide but I have used a menstrual cup and reusable cotton panty liners for about 5 years now. I use the mooncup but I’ve heard great things about diva cup as well. My main advice is don’t be put off by the change! It takes a little while to get used to (just as it did when you first started using tampons, if you’re like me!). I would say it really took about two cycles for me to really get the hang of it but I wish I had bought it earlier. They advise you to replace every 5-10 years so I’ll soon be due for a new one, but I’m so happy with the amount of waste I’ve avoided through this method. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Check out this funny rap battle and informative video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zj4NhC8ahM for more info on mooncup vs. tampon! Cheers 🙂
sophie durlotPosted at 12:37h, 24 June
I have heard about you and your talk and great energy and ideas on plastic not use by Helen Cass from Haut Lac international school in st légier. I am organising a cultural and scientific exhibition on Sharks and Plastics, two predators of the ocean in the school i am working in, Le Rosey, next november 2017. We are going to run at the beginning of november also a TEDx talk. It would be incredible if you could come and give a talk at this time. Would you be interested ? would you please contact me so i can explain to you in more thorough details all about this super exciting projects ? sincerely yours, Sophie Durlot
sophie durlotPosted at 12:40h, 24 June
here are my contacts : firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexis McGivernPosted at 10:24h, 25 June
Dear Sophie, thank you so much for your message and your event sounds absolutely fantastic. I will e-mail to get in touch with you. All the best!
El pensadero de YaiPosted at 15:35h, 08 July
Hi Alexis! I have just discovered your blog and I am amazed!! It’s exactly what I was looking for, because I have also started a journey to a low waste lifestyle (hopefully zero waste), and I have found many resources in your blog. So thanks for sharing your experience and your knowledge! Your blog is gonna be very helpful and inspirational for me along the journey!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 10:39h, 10 July
Dear Yai, Thank you so so much for your lovely comment and I am so so happy you’ve started your journey to zero waste! I’m happy to help and happy to have lovely readers like you 🙂 Wishing you the best of luck!
P.s. I see your blog is in Spanish – check out some great resources at http://vivirsinplastico.com/ 🙂
El pensadero de YaiPosted at 23:33h, 10 July
I will! 😉 Thanks Alexis! 🙂
ClaraPosted at 12:52h, 25 July
Dear Alexis! I am trying to reduce my plastic use and general waste. I sorted out my clothes with polyester in it but now I don’t know what to do with them! Throwing them away seems like a waste but if I give it to someone else the microplasic is still going to get into the water.. Do you have some tips or maybe experience yourself?
Love your passion and thanks for all the inspiration!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 13:15h, 25 July
Dear Clara, thanks for your note! I’m so glad to hear you’re reducing your plastic. This is SUCH a tough one. I still have my polyester clothes and the only solution I’ve found for them is to order this new product, Guppy Friend http://guppyfriend.com/en/, which I’m still waiting to arrive (it was just very recently released). It catches microfibres so you can dispose of them properly. That’s my only recommendation I’m afraid – it’s such a difficult one to manage! GOOD LUCK!
ClaraPosted at 11:02h, 26 July
Thanks for your reply. I will definitely check that out, thanks a lot!
Loani CastilloPosted at 22:23h, 01 August
the reusable coffee cup has a problem…. when it breaks the damage created will be greater than the damage created by the cardboard coffee cups
Alexis McGivernPosted at 09:48h, 02 August
Hey Loani, thanks for your comment! I have to say, I’ve never heard this before. Do you have a source you could share with me?
AmyPosted at 12:03h, 13 October
I am very motivated and encouraged to challenge myself with zero waste after coming across your blog from YouTube. I’ve seen quite a few if your videos already and am keen on the idea.
Unfortunately, I am a freshman in high school, so it’s hard for me not to use lots of paper from worksheets etcetera.
Any tips on how I can be environmentally friendly as a student?
Alexis McGivernPosted at 10:19h, 08 November
Thank you so much for your comment and I’m so happy to hear you’re interested in zero waste!
I know that it is so difficult to be zero waste when you have a lot of things out of your control – when you’re living at home, when you’re at school etc. My recommendation would be just to create change & influence others where you can.
For example, you could try to phase out your plastic products in the bathroom and go for some of the zero waste options. When your friends come over to your house, they will see that you’ve been managing to do this just fine and it will inspire them to do it as well! Pack your lunch in sustainable on-the-go ware and everyone in the lunchroom will see it when you take it out of your backpack. You can refuse plastic bags when out shopping, bring your own coffee cup etc etc… these actions will be visible to the people around you and you can create change simply by showing to others that you can integrate zero waste into your lifestyle with ease!
As for stuff specifically at school, I recommend getting books and school supplies second hand, to take public transport there instead of driving or getting driven and to encourage your teachers and fellow students to integrate some of these tips too!
I hope that helps.
SofiaPosted at 07:37h, 26 October
I love your content. I’m trying to be more zero-waste and conscious about the environment. I’m also in a transitional period of my life…I recently realized that I don’t want to do what I’ve been studying in college anymore. Since I’ve always been passionate about conservation and sustainability, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing what you do. Are you in school for environmental studies or something related? Are you hoping to work for an organization some day? I’m just trying to get a sense as to what the world of conservation is like and if I would enjoy working in that field. Thank you!
Alexis McGivernPosted at 10:07h, 08 November
Hi Sofia! Thank you so much for your comment and for reaching out!
I’m really lucky to be working in this field full time – I work for an environmental organisation and the projects I run are focused on marine plastics, mostly on education tools for developing countries.
However, I didn’t study this at all at university – I actually studied International Relations and my program/classes were very much focused on terrorism and political violence (!) so very different from what I ended up doing. I truly got this opportunity to work where I do through this interest as a hobby, and teaching myself a lot about environmental sustainability and marine conservation.
My biggest recommendation to you would be to review where you’re spending your time and how that can lead to future career opportunities – a lot of my time at uni was spent working on grassroots environmental projects that really gave me a better understanding of this field. If you can, I would recommend spending a summer working on a project “in the field”, that is, not behind a desk – this doesn’t have to mean far afield, but can be a community project in your neighbourhood. Just as long as you get boots on the ground and you’re learning about how conservation plays out in the intersection of economy, education etc – those are super valuable lessons to learn.
I hope that helps!! Let me know if you have any further Qs!!