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Beijing couple promotes 'Zero Waste' to make a difference

2019-02-26 09:35:47 CGTN

The "Zero Waste" challenge is on. It starts by greatly reducing the amount of paper and plastic many of us use in cups, napkins and utensils, and replacing them with more permanent, reusable products.

A couple in Beijing has taken the "Zero Waste" movement to a whole new level. They say all it takes is some simple lifestyle changes. But can anyone be completely, 100-percent zero-waste?

It's a choice Joe Harvey and his girlfriend Carrie made years ago to say "no" to disposable daily items, taking "environmentally-friendly" to the extreme.

Reusable bags, refillable containers, homemade cleansers and detergents.

The couple's daily routines have helped them conserve so much that three months of their daily household waste can fit into just two jars.

Carrie said that they have quite a few products that they are using every day, such as mesh bags, muslin bags, straws and utensil rolls.

"We can bring [those products] with us when we go out and eat, and then water bottles. So those items we are using every day in life," she said.

In this way, Joe and Carrie have only limited and recycled items, staying far away from the compulsion to buy.

Carrie said that she only spent four yuan (0.6 U.S. dollars) to buy a pair of boots in Joe's hometown in England, and she has worn her only jacket for over eight years now. She also only spent 10 euros (11.36 U.S. dollars) buying her most luxurious bag in Barcelona.

Now the couple runs a small shop operating under the principles of refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rot what remains.

They hope to raise awareness and get others to follow the five Rs.

During the past year, Joe and Carrie have made many public speeches and delivered sharing sessions, reaching more people around them.

More and more people in Beijing and across the country have changed their own waste disposal habits after listening to the couple.

Joe said that when they first started reaching people, only a few schools would contact them.

"Now, we are getting more people contacting us than we can deal with. So we do need to build the team, so we could say yes to more things," he said.

Their voices are still weak when confronting the massive waste brought on by the conveniences of modern life.

Critics argue that no one can be 100 percent zero-waste, with items like tissues and toilet paper being basic human necessities.

But efforts like Joe and Carrie's are increasing.

China announced in January that the nation is going to pilot "Zero Waste" programs in 10 cities this year.

Although the path towards the common goal is long, as Joe and Carrie say, "Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

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