Town Haul Podcast | Episode 35

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Kathryn Kellogg
  • Listen here

On this episode of the Town Haul, host Amy Koonin chats with Kathryn Kellogg. Kellogg runs the influential blog Going Zero Waste and is the author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste. Koonin and Kellogg discuss how anyone can create habits to reduce waste.

On how she became interested in living zero waste:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “I didn’t even know what recycling was until I was in college. I always joke that it’s never too late to be a hippie because I certainly wasn’t raised in this way. I feel like a lot of people feel like they have to be brought up in an environmental household in order to care about the earth but the earth provides clean water and clean air which is what we need to survive as humans so I think the pursuit of a clean and healthier earth is one for everyone.

For me personally. this started with a breast cancer scare. I had it when I was 20 and it completely just flipped my entire world upside down…I started switching to a more natural lifestyle.”

On what living zero waste means to her:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “The simple definition is to send nothing to a landfill. but the more complex definition that I personally really like is to completely write waste out of existence and that’s because we can waste so much more than what we just put in our trash can.

We really have to look at a more holistic solution and we also have to look a bit bigger and a bit broader because there’s so much more than we can waste. We can have a waste of resources.

We can also have a waste of time and time is our own, personal, non-renewable resource that we have. Of course, we can have a waste of money and then we can also be wasting resources and emissions and things like that.”

On simple actions anyone can do to reduce waste:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “These are easy items that create a lot of waste simply because we’re unprepared or we don’t know other solutions exist. Or, we know other solutions exist and we just haven’t fully committed to doing them.

The first one, of course, is bringing our own bags to the grocery store. The second one is to ask for no straw with your drink order. The next one is water bottles. It’s crazy how much we pay for bottled water when it basically comes for free out of your faucet and most of the United States has very clean drinking water. Drinking water, tap water, is actually more regulated than bottled water so it’s actually safer than bottled water.”

On how zero waste can be accessible to everyone:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “I’m not all about that DIY life, 24/7 and I don’t think most people are. It’s about how can we make small changes like we were talking about earlier. How can we make small changes that are going to have a big impact because, once again, when we talk about zero waste we don’t want to waste our own time either.

There are easy, easy solutions and when we look at the kitchen food waste is huge. The average American, I believe, throws out around $2,000.00 worth of food every single year. We also have to look at what we throw away as money because that’s what it is. Everything we throw away costs us something.

Paper towels, we had to pay for that. We literally paying for trash, so zero waste living actually saves a lot in that way because we’re no longer paying for these items.”

On a quote that’s really stuck with her:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “Never doubt a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade.

On what her ideal Sunday looks like:

KATHRYN KELLOGG: “Doing nothing.”

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