Here’s the opposite of a fun fact: people are throwing away 1.3 billion tonnes of trash every year. We all know how long it takes for plastic to break down (up to 1000 years), but it’s never too late to change the tide and start making better choices. Claire Sancelot is a social entrepreneur who is tackling the garbage problem head on in Malaysia, and hoping to lead the country to a cleaner, greener future.
Claire’s passion for going zero waste and making better choices was sparked while living in Hong Kong, a place known for being overcrowded with both people and trash. Almost everywhere in the city is polluted, inspiring Claire to start an advice blog documenting her zero waste journey. Zero waste doesn’t mean growing your own veggies and wearing the same clothes until they rot off your body, but rather making sure nothing you use goes to landfill. You buy your groceries from farmers markets, bring your own bags, recycle, compost and shop second hand where you can. It’s a movement that’s gaining momentum as we humans start to realise the impact of consuming single-use plastics
It was a move to Malaysia that prompted Claire to take her blog from personal musings to a full-blown social enterprise co-op she named The Hive. The Hive has become an oasis in Malaysia’s plastic strewn capital Kuala Lumpur for zero-waste folk who want to live greener lives. Part recycling plant, part city garden and part co-working space, The Hive sources ethically produced foods, tools and products and then educates people in how to be less wasteful. From cooking classes to info nights, they hire employees and suppliers based on how they are contributing and empowering vulnerable people in society (such as women, migrants and disabled people). Not only do they get their zero-waste message across, they also give gainful employment to those who need it the most.