SACC-SD had the pleasure to sit down with Fredrika Syrén from The ZeroWasteFamily for a Q&A to learn about her sustainable lifestyle. The main takeout from our conversation is that we all can start building a conscious shift towards sustainability. One can contribute in at least one way or another, whether it is by eating more plant-based or consuming less. Because just like Fredika believes: "Take it one step at a time, the change cannot happen overnight".
Q: When and why did you start your lifestyle?
A: We were living in Sweden back in 2015 when we committed to go zero-waste. The reason is to fight for our children’s future. Me and my husband James believe that we’re raising the next generation and we want to not only save the planet for them but also be good role models for our children to inspire them to continue the fight and to live a sustainable life.
Q: What does it mean for you to live a zero-waste lifestyle?
A: Essentially, we refuse what we do not need and reduce what we do need and make choices and try to live with as little impact on the planet as possible. If we can compost or recycle it—we don’t buy it. So we prefer things that are package-free, and anything reusable.
Q: What has been most rewarding about your lifestyle?
A: Our zero waste lifestyle saves us $18,000 a year which is a lot of money. As a result, we can both work part-time, mostly from home, and be home with our children when they are on break. When they are on summer break, we’re spending all our time with them. This has given us more family time and made us a stronger family. Also, during this pandemic, it helped us to be self-reliant and budget-friendly so we’re not as impacted by the lockdown as many others. Most of our food grows in our 400 square foot backyard garden, which plenishes many of our meals. I have to say, feeding my kids homegrown food is a huge reward
Q: How can an everyday person live more sustainably?
A: Take one step at the time and set up your personal goals. Look at what is in your trash bag and see how you can reduce it by either replacing it with a reusable alternative or maybe even skip it altogether. Find low-waste and zero-waste social media accounts and get inspired by them. Join a zero-waste social media group and meet other people also wanting to live more sustainable.
Q: What is something that easily grows in San Diego that one can grow on their balcony or backyard?
A: We’re so lucky to live in a warm climate like San Diego where we can grow all year round. Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and kale are easy to grow here and can grow even in a small yard or balcony.
Q: Out of these four ways of living (zero-waste, plant-based, gardening, and minimalism), which one do you believe is easiest to adapt when shifting to a sustainable lifestyle?
A: It all depends on your personality but for us, plant-based was the first thing we began with. Reducing waste might seem like an impossible task but truth to be told, it is a lot easier than it seems.
Thank you so much, Fredrika, for taking your time and inspiring others to live more sustainably.
If you want some more inspiration on how you can start living a zero-waste life, check out the e-book “Zero Waste for Families”- a practical guide with lots of tips and recipes for steps to begin reducing waste and save money with little effort.
Click here to join the journey!