13 Mar Meet Khaya, our Faithful to Nature Ambassador
“I live an eco-warrior lifestyle by refusing single-use plastics like straws, shopping bags and water bottles that are destroying our oceans. I aim to educate easy ways to reduce your waste through my page. #IAmFaithfulToNature by shopping package free and choosing recyclable products over non-recyclable when items aren’t available zero waste. I pick up rubbish off beaches and streets because even though I didn’t litter, it’s my Earth too. I support local businesses over big corporations. I buy second hand so I don’t support unethical labour and to reuse resources already in the system. And I eco-brick my family’s non-recyclable plastic waste that I cannot avoid.
Every day we have the opportunity to better our environment and by making the right lifestyle choices we are able to do so. This year I’m studying environmental studies to further my knowledge on our world so that I can continue to educate and hopefully encourage more people to reduce their plastic use.”
This was Khaya Alexander’s winning entry into our #FaithfulToNature ambassador search competition, and if this wasn’t enough to prove how deserving she is of this title, spending some time with her, and seeing how she goes about her daily life certainly will.
We met for coffee, (“cappuccino- can you make it in this cup, please?”) and got to know her a little better…
What inspired you to move towards a zero-waste/ waste-conscious lifestyle?
I came across a YouTube video about two and a half years ago about Lauren Singer’s jar of trash and I realised I can do so much more for the Earth than just simply recycling.
Where does one start when wanting to move towards a more “waste less” lifestyle? (i.e. what are the easy swaps?)
What are the biggest challenges with following this lifestyle?
A lot of people are aware that plastic pollution is an issue but they don’t want/care to change. I hope to create awareness that we need to and can change our wasteful ways.
What are the best things about living a waste conscious lifestyle?
I’m no longer materialistic, I’m living a life that aligns with my values, I’ve found a love for cooking and I don’t have to take the bin out on a Thursday morning!
You don’t look like a ‘hippie’. What are the stereotypes about zero-wasters that you’d like to eradicate?
Exactly that! I want to show people that in order to live sustainably you don’t have to live like a stereotypical ‘hippie’ living off-grid in the mountains.
What do you do with/ how do you go about disposing the plastics that can’t be recycled in South-Africa at the moment?
Eco-bricking is the perfect way to dispose of your unrecyclables, because you can give your bricks to Waste-Ed (Faithful to Nature is a drop off point) and they will use it for building something awesome.
How has your lifestyle choice impacted your relationship with friends or family? Both at home and in social settings?
It’s been very positive. My family and friends are always showing me how they reduce their waste and get very excited about it.
How has your shopping habits changed since you started being more waste-conscious?
I steer clear of most supermarkets and shop online where I’m able to source products which are plastic free (like here on Faithful To Nature) or at our amazing zero waste stores and markets in Cape town instead. I opt for package free or local options and I check if an items packaging is recyclable before I purchase it.
For some, being completely zero waste can be a bit extreme, yet they are still inspired to make a change- what would you recommend these people do?
Make the change! Zero waste is overwhelming for many. But if everyone makes small changes, like using your own bags, it becomes massive. As long as you are trying to reduce your waste, you’re doing great!
What does your ideal world look like? Do you truly believe everyone can go zero waste?
I don’t think we will ever live in a zero waste world. My perfect world is a circular economy. One where plastic-free stores are available to everyone and people are mindful of their impact on the Earth.
How does a waste-conscious lifestyle compete with a conventional lifestyle, financially?
I definitely spend less money than before because when I shop I only buy the quantities I need, I don’t support fast fashion so I no longer buy a new wardrobe every pay day and I buy high quality items which avoids me replacing a low quality product every few months.
We look forward to working closely with Khaya and spreading the word about how we can be mindful of our actions and kinder to the Earth that we live in. Keep an eye on Khaya’s Facebook and Instagram for all her updates!