A female-led company addressing "thoughtless consumption", based in Ireland, Reuzi, wants to remind the Irish and the world that 'every little thing we do is better than doing nothing'.
Christmas and the build-up to the big day is arguably the most wasteful time of year. Between wrapping paper, excessive food and booze, and unwanted presents, there is an abundance of waste generated.
Rio de Janeiro native Patricia (Pat) Kane, now based in Dublin with her husband, has been on a four-year-long journey to become as zero-waste as possible in her home.
Read more: 11 Irish artists to support this Christmas
"I’ve always been a huge fan of not screwing over the planet," she laughed. "I had been doing a great job, if you ask me, however, motherhood changed everything."
After welcoming her son in 2014, she realized that the amount of rubbish her small family was going through was "rising at an alarming rate" between nappies, bottles, and the plastic packaging that seemed to surround all baby products.
"I ended up ordering a lot of things online which meant a bunch of bubble wrapping, plastic tape, styrofoam and then a lot of paper. Every night after the last feed, I would frustratingly stare at our bin and think, 'If just 2 adults and a tiny little baby can generate so much waste, imagine an office or a school?', proper disaster, right?"
After a few months of aiming to recycle and compost everything, Pat and her husband addressed the "thoughtless consumption" and knew they would have to figure out a way to not bring the plastic and non-recyclables into their home in the first place.
"By re-evaluating our routines, we were able to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill, as well as, cut out nearly all single-use plastic use. It required rethinking a lot of stuff - at the end of this exercise, we had a list of over 100 areas we wanted to work on!"
After welcoming her second baby, she had a brainwave - wouldn't it be great if there was a one-stop, zero-waste shop where she could purchase all her necessities?
Voilá, Reuzi was born...literally two weeks after her own second baby boy!
Reuzi's mission is to offer a convenient online platform to promote alternative solutions and foster new habits in communities. On their website, you will find everything from blog posts offering new ideas for cutting back on waste, or living fully zero-waste, corporate services, event news, and the genius M.A.D. (Make A Difference) Box, Ireland's first subscription package focused on sustainable products and lifestyle.
View this post on Instagram
when beginning their journey of reducing waste, a lot of people ask me “but where do I start?” 🤔 . at times, you want to make a difference, to take that first step, however you just don’t know where to start... 😕 . well, fear not, we are here to help 😎 . today I’d like to introduce you to our first 6 zero waste kits ✨ . each one of our kits was created with different needs and areas of waste in mind (swipe to meet them ➡️🤗) . I must also mention that the kits were created with the idea of gifting in mind - what a better way to get a loved one interested in reducing their waste than by giving them the tools to start? 💚 . our kits are customizable to a degree so if you want to add or remove an item or two, let us know and we will work on it for you 🤩 . our packing philosophy is ASAP (as sustainable as possible!) so we are not fans of baskets or big boxes - instead, with every kit you will receive an exclusive reusable tote bag by reuzi 🏷 . for more, check our “zero waste kits” section at www.reuzi.ie today 🌱 . •• follow us @reuzi.ie •• . #reuzi #reuzirevolution #reuzirecommends #sustainability #sustainableliving #choosewisely #reusereducerecycle #reuse #saynotoplastic #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #zerowastekit #usefulgifting #christmas #hampers #saynotosingleuseplastic #nomoresingleuseplastic #noplastic #plasticfree #plasticsucks #ecofriendly #irishbusiness #fallinlovewithsustainability
We asked Pat for some ideas on how to avoid waste during this time of the year, and she certainly had some novel tips and tricks up her sleeve.
This Christmas, I would like to encourage people to focus on experiences and consumables.
*Experiences are a lovely way to say ‘I care about you’ and ‘I want to spend time with you’. They can be a date night, hobby classes or a trip to a nearby park or beach. Personally, as a mom of two little ones, I’d kill for a night of dinner and movies.
*If you would rather give someone an actual gift, I’d suggest you to go for consumables. Consumables are those delightful little gifts that will please even the fussiest ones: a tin of home-baked goods, a crocheted scarf, candles, a fruit basket, a homemade body scrub, soap bars, a box of chocolates (you can even attempt to make your own) etc.
*Remember to avoid wrapping paper: why not use old mags and newspaper instead? Oh, and as for the card, a handwritten letter is a lovely final touch and again, who wouldn’t love that?
Christmas decoration waste
How would you feel about making your own Christmas decorations this year instead of buying new?
*Up-cycled decorations can be made from materials found all around your home – all you need is to use your creativity. Cut stars from old cardboard boxes and get the little ones to decorate them, make garlands using popcorn and dried cranberry, bake gingerbread cookies to hang on your tree or, if you are into crochet, why not create a bunch of lovely little ornaments also to hang on your tree? The internet is full of great ideas (oh hi, Pinterest!) and the sky is the limit when it comes to using what you already have at home to decorate your rooms for Christmas.
*If you don’t fancy making decorations, check out charity shops and exchange schemes (Facebook has loads of cool groups too) as they’re a hidden treasure chest of undiscovered Christmas decorations calling out to be reused.
Christmas food waste
When it comes to food, it’s very easy to overbuy and consequently, overspend at Christmas.
*Firstly, I’d highly recommend you to plan your meals properly – planning can be boring and time-consuming however it’s essential to avoid waste.
*Another very helpful thing is to ask people to bring their favorite dish and at the end, share any leftovers you may have. This way everybody will eat at least one thing they really love and they will get to take home a few bits and bobs that will certainly come in handy the next day.
For more about Reuzi, see their website here.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Irish Tatler.
Read more: Irish whiskey cookies, perfect for Christmas