An interview with Kate Arnell, TV Presenter & Eco Boost Pioneer
TV Presenter and Eco blogger Kate Arnell has her own YouTube channel Eco Boost that provides tips and insights on how to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle. She has worked with brands including Ikea, People Tree and 100% Pure Make Up and is a Soil Association ambassador.
Here, Tracy interviews Kate to get to learn more about her passion towards a zero waste life.
Can you tell me a little about your background and what drives you personally to aspire towards a Zero Waste life?
I worked as a TV presenter for many years but most recently have found myself sharing my passions for organic and zero waste on my YouTube channel.
I started working towards to a zero waste lifestyle about 4 years ago after I read an article about Bea Johnson (author of Zero Waste Home) and her family who produced a small jar of trash each year. I was so inspired! Then, 2 weeks later, I found her book in a charity shop, bought it and decided to start reducing the amount of waste in my life.
I had always been frustrated with the amount of plastic packaging sitting in our bin after each grocery shop but didn’t know I had a choice and that I could do something about it. Learning more about a zero waste lifestyle gave me the confidence to question the norm and find alternatives to our disposable lifestyle.
What are your top 5 Zero Waste-friendly grocery stores in the UK?
I would say, even if you don’t have a zero waste / bulk shop near you (although lots are now cropping up throughout the UK!), simply taking some reusable containers to your local butcher, shopping at a farm shop or farmers market near to you where they have loose produce and remembering to take and use reusable cloth bags makes a huge difference. Focus on what you can do, not on what you don’t have available to you.
My favourite places to find bulk are:
Earth Food Love – Zero waste bulk store in Totnes, Devon. Discovered these guys last summer and love their store!
Bulk Market – in London – one-stop-shop for all things zero waste. Extensive range of refills and bulk including the unusual dry goods, pasta, grains, cereals etc as well as harder to find things such as dog food, essential oils, cleaning products and maple syrup.
Hetu – Another London bulk shop selling dry goods, oils, cleaning products, kombucha and fresh produce. Also vegan
Earth Natural Foods – A health food shop in Camden that has a large bulk section at the front of the store. Lots of herbs and spices, coffee, tea, pasta, beans and cleaning products.
Borough Wines – various locations and they all have a refill station for wine which has been really useful.
What subscription type services are you signed up to that really make Zero Waste easier to achieve?
One of the first and easiest things I did was to sign up to a milk delivery. It arrives on our doorstep in returnable glass bottles that get reused. So simple!
What are your main packaging pains? (Are there any certain types of packaging or products that have particularly bad packaging?)
My real bug bear that I see a lot is “not currently recycled” on supermarket packaging. It annoys me that they could easily afford to choose a recyclable option but haven’t. Take away coffee cups are also another, as people aren’t sure whether to recycle them or throw them (they cannot be recycled and can contaminate recycling bins). Because they’re lined with plastic they’re almost impossible to recycle.
What is the best thing about living a Zero Waste life?
Living in alignment with my values and knowing that I’m doing my best to not contribute towards our growing plastic pollution problem. I’m happier, healthier and spending less too!
What is the hardest thing about living a Zero Waste life?
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of plastic there is out there and how it’s sneakily worked its way into our lives. Once you “see” it, you can’t “unsee” it. All I can do is focus on my own actions.
To find out more about Eco Boost visit www.eco-boost.co